Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Little Songs on Big Subjects–Sung by Bibb & Gilbert

Earlier this year I mentioned there were at least two cover records of the Jesters’ version of Little Songs on Big Subjects. In addition to a version by the Bachelors:

There was also a Leon Bibb/Ronnie Gilbert album called It Could Be a Wonderful World that included many (or all…I have more research to do) of these Zaret/Singer tunes. Subtitled Little Songs on Big Subjects (look at the album cover’s upper left corner), it was released in the ’50s, but it is barely mentioned on the Internet.

I now have the album. Sent to me recently by Dan Horowitz, it has all the Jesters’ tunes, plus three more by Zaret and Singer which I had never before heard:

‘Round the World Polka
I Want to Live in a Friendly World
We’re Building a Happier World

Bibb and Gilbert (she, one of the original Weavers) have beautiful voices, but I still prefer the Jesters’ versions. These are songs for kids…and the Jesters’ arrangements are more kid-friendly.

6 Comments

  1. Deborah says:

    Do you have this Bibb version? Really? I have been trying so hard to get my hands on a copy! My favorite children’s album of all time. Any suggestions?

  2. leah says:

    Man I have been looking for this forever… do you know where I could find this

  3. Gay L. says:

    An MP3 version of this album is now available. I just got it from Amazon. I’m glad to learn some of the backstory to the songs. It’s interesting that there would be three essentially identical albums recorded by different artists. I wonder how and why that happened.

    • Steve Cotler says:

      Please post the link here. I could not find it on Amazon.

      • Bob Z says:

        Here’s a link to more info about the album and links to Amazon and iTunes:
        http://www.argosymusiccorp.com/WonderfulWorld/Wonderful.html#BuyWonderful

        In 1947, WNEW commissioned songs that became Little Songs on Big Subjects for use as 1 minute radio “jingles”. The recordings by the Bachelors were release on a VOX album. About a year later, WNEW commissioned new songs that became “Little Songs on UN”. In 1949, Argosy released a new version of Little Songs on Big Subjects recorded by the Jesters and including all but one song from the Bachelors’ album. In 1967, Argosy produced an anniversary album called It Could Be a Wonderful World, featuring Ronnie Gilbert and Leon Bibb. It included all the songs from the Jesters’ album and 3 from Little Songs About UN.

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