Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Pennywhistlers: A Cool Day and Crooked Corn (1965)

Nonesuch H-72024

This album was released as part of the Nonesuch Explorer Series. Unlike most LPs in the series, it was not an ethnographic field recording. The Pennywhistlers were an American singing group, and though they have names like Alice, Deborah, and Shelly, their performances of mostly Eastern European songs sound nearly as authentic as those on the Topic album "Folk Music of Bulgaria" which presumably inspired them.

The first CD by the Pennywhistlers is being released today by Smithsonian. It is their 1963 eponymous record on Folkways Records. This LP, however, is not on CD.

I owned a used copy for many years. I sold it when I liquidated my LPs in 2005; my current LP collection is composed almost entirely of records from thrift shops and junk stores. This copy was a thrift store find (99¢). It is in good condition.

From the LP: "Francine Brown, Shelly Cook, Joyce Gluck, Alice Kogan, Deborah Lesser, Ethel Raim, Dina Silberman. Ruth Ben Zvi, tupan & tambourine; Arthur Rose, dobro & mandolin; Billy Vanaver, tambura - & guitar"

Vido Vido Byala Vido

Bre Petrunko

More Pennywhistlers here.


  1. So Cool I,ve Just Put A Link To It On My Facebook page!

  2. Awesome, thanks! Can we get the other songs, as well? And do you happen to have Folksongs of Eastern Europe? I've been looking for it forever!

  3. I just picked up a copy of Folksongs of Eastern Europe and I'll be posting some tracks from it soon. Check back later this month. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I just found your blog today and love it. However, I wanted to alert you that The Pennywhistlers have a Facebook page and are making their recordings available digitally there. So far I think they have all of A Cool Day & Crooked Corn up and maybe a few other random tracks. I don't think they have them set for download yet, but are planning to. Hope that info helps. Meanwhile, I think it is great what you're doing here and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next. Thanks! Ilene

  5. Glad you enjoyed these. The Pennywhistlers F@cebook page looks to be a fan page, as song titles are misspelled, and the tracks are from LP, not the original recordings. Should this recording become available on CD or mp3, these sample tracks will be immediately removed.

    BTW, this is not a hard LP to find, and it can usually be had for a few dollars. If you have a turntable, you don't need to wait for the CD.

  6. hi, after more than 10 years of searching i found the song "bright morning stars", which is said to be sung by the pennywhistlers. find it on YT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mtQGWVqLXk.
    seems nothing on vinyl will survive except in private archives. but these things disappear from public attention because they do not exist in a digital world.

  7. Oh - do you have the rest? Nit zuch mich Vu? I can't remember the spelling. I want it so badly. And Bright Morning Stars. I have actually performed some of these with my friends. They were my 70s

  8. Sorry, K, but I only post sample tracks from each LP – not entire albums – to raise interest in these out-of-print records.

  9. I have this LP . It is a gem, but I wish to convert it to MP3, as the vinyl will not last forever and my turntable equipment is getting old.

  10. LPs don't last forever, but if you take good care of them, they last much longer than most people think. I expect to die before any of my records wear out.

    My turntable is 33 years old and going strong. If it should fail, there a quite a few good quality, affordable new turntables available right now.