(1971) Various Artists – The World of the Very Young

Argo issue number: SPA/A 165

‘sampler’ album taken from children’s albums issued earlier by Argo: Songs for Children (1964), Rhyme and Rhythm (1965) and Children’s Songs from Devon and Cornwall (1969)

Cover photo
Suzette Stephens

issued on tape (Argo CSP/A 165), but never issued on CD

Choir of Hampstead Garden Suburb Junior School (CHGSJS)
Joan Rimmer (JR) – instruments incl piano
Mary Rowland (MR) – mezzo-soprano
Pat Shaw (PS) – vocal
James Blades (JB) – drums, percussion, xylophone
Cyril Tawney (CT) – vocals
Tom Paley (TP) – guitar
Trevor Crozier (TCr) – mandolin
Esme Lewis (EL) – vocal
Alf Edwards (AE) – ocarina, accordion

Poetry Readers
Tony Church (TC)
Michael Hordern (MH)
Gary Watson (GW)
Patrick Wymark (PW)
Margaretta Scott (MS)
Janette Richer (JaRi)
Prunella Scales (PSc)


Songs in italics

Songs and poems taken from Rhyme and Rhythm marked (1)
Songs taken from Songs for Children marked (2)
Songs taken from Children’s Songs from Devon and Cornwall marked (3)

Musical arrangements for (1) and (2) Anne Mendoza and Joan Rimmer

Band One
Soldier Soldier (trad arr Sharp) – CHGSJS, JR piano, JB drums (1)
The King’s High Drummer (Carol Barnes) – read by TC (1)
John and his Mare – read by TC (1)
Aiken Drum (trad arr Mendoza/Rimmer) – MR and PS vocals, JB, JR (2)

Band Two
Fire Down Below (trad arr Terry) PS vocals, with CHGSJS (1)
The Waves of the Sea (Eleanor Farjeon) – read by MS and JaRi (1)
Numbers (Eleanor Farjeon) – read by MH (1)
This Old Man (trad arr Sharp/Baring Gould) – CHGSJS (1)

Band Three
The Three Huntsmen (trad) – CT vocals, TP guitar, TCr mandolin (3)
Dobbin (Alfred Noyes) – read by GW (1)
Nicholas Nye (Walter de la Mare) – read by PW (1)
Jinny Crack Corn (trad arr Mendoza Rimmer) – PS vocals, JB, JR (2)

Band Four
Oats and Beans and Barley (trad arr Sharp) – CHGSJS , AE accordion (1)
Two Little Kittens (unknown) – read by MS (1)
Cats (Eleanor Farjeon) – read by MH (1)
The Tale of Custard the Dragon (Ogden Nash) – read by TC (1)
Yankee Doodle (trad arr Rimmer) – PS vocals with CHGSJS, JB xylophone (1)


Band One
The Snail (Reeves) – CT vocal, TP guitar (3)
A Dog and a Bee (unknown) – read by TC (1)
The Plaint of the Camel (Charles Carryl) – read by PW (1)
The Owl and the Pussy Cat (Lear) – EL vocal, JR piano (1)

Band Two
Mister Banjo (trad arr Mendoza/Rimmer) – PS vocal (2)
The Windmill (Longfellow) – read by TC (1)
Bell-ringing (Clive Sansom) – read by GW (1)
Song of the Pop-bottlers (Morris Bishop) – read by TC (1)
Peanuts (trad arr Mendoza/Rimmer) – PS vocal (2)

Band Three
The Brave Old Duke of York (trad) – CHGSJS, with AE occarina, JB drums & piano (1)
Mr Tom Narrow (James Reeves) – read by PW (1)
My Sister Jane (Ted Hughes) – read by PSc (1)
Old Daddy Fox (trad) – CT vocals, TP guitar (3)

Band Four
I Had a Little Cock (trad) – CT vocals, TP guitar (3)
This is the Key (unknown) – read by TC (1)
The Chimney Sweeper (William Blake) – read by PSc (1)
The Robin’s Song (unknown) – read by TC (1)
One More River (trad) – CHGSJS with PS (1)


The readers
Quite a star-studded cast of readers for the poems, all heavily involved in the Argo recordings of Shakespeare plays, directed by George Rylands. Was that how Argo’s Harley Usill planned the label’s poetry recordings – around the Shakespeare? All eight of the readers appearing on this compilation were in the Argo studios in 1964 (the year these recordings were made) for the Shakespeare, so it made sense to use them for other projects while they were there.

The cassette
This must have been among the first of Argo’s cassettes to be issued. Until Dolby B came out, Argo’s parent company Decca had been a bit snooty about the whole idea of cassettes (compromised quality, they believed) and only got into the market in late 1970.

Remember the pain of cassettes? You get to the end of side A, take it out, turn it over, put it in, press play…and you’re already half way through track one of side B. To ease the pain, record/cassette producers rejigged the track order to get something approaching equal lengths on the two sides.

So, here, the running order will have been conceived (one guesses) with some sort of coherence in mind, but got re-sequenced to suit the medium: so band 1, side 2 of the vinyl swaps with band 2, side 1 for the cassette. Did anyone care? Probably not.

(Thanks to Martin Davis for info about the cassette)

The World of…
You could be forgiven for thinking that the whole idea of Argo parent company Decca’s “World of…” series was just a cynical attempt by the company to make a bit of cash out of cannibalising product of artists that had stopped recording, gone on to other labels or died. You see them cluttering up the record bins in charity shops and think ‘who could have bought this shite?’…

(Having said that, I’ve never listened to Charlie Kunz. He may well be fantastic)

They did make some cash. For a little while at least. The series started in late 1968. In June 1969 there were no less than six of the series in the UK album charts: Val Doonican (at No 2), Mantovani (No 6), The Bachelors (No 8), Charlie Kunz (No 9), Kenneth McKellar (No 27) and Joseph Locke (No 29). Were they on some cheap-as-chips offer? Whatever, the buyers have all seen the light since and given them away in vanloads to The British Heart Foundation and Mind.

OK, so ‘The World of Val Doonican Vol 5’ may not have been to your taste (it existed, I swear!) but in its defence the series was a way of getting some interesting stuff out there cheap – and what better way to get a flavour of Early Music (SPA 547), Johann Strauss (SPA 73), Brit-prog (SPA 34) or Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger (SPA 102) than by buying a sampler ‘World of…” album for less than a quid (19s/11d) when most records cost over two.

Don’t know if there was any pressure from Decca on its subsidiaries, but Argo took to the ‘World of …” enterprise more wholeheartedly than sister labels L’Oiseau Lyre or Deram, and was rewarded at least on one occasion. After the June 1969 flurry of consumer interest, the only other ‘World of’ album to dent the UK LP charts was an Argo sampler of Christmas songs by the choir of St John’s College Cambridge, dug out of the vaults in time for the seasonal spending spree in December 1971.

~ by folkcatalogue on September 14, 2010.

11 Responses to “(1971) Various Artists – The World of the Very Young”

  1. Hello there.

    Many thanks for putting up this information about both The World Of The Very Young LP and the World Of Series in general

    I have the cassette versions of the World Of Val Donican(Volume 1) and The World Of Johan Strauss. Do you have any idea if these would have also been reissued with the vinyl version coming out first? The Val Donican cassette(which is actually playing on my stereo right now) has a yellow label whilst the Strauss one has a white label with blue and red writing. Makes me wonder if that was a later issue.

    I often see the first Val Donican LP lurking around in charity shops. Some stereo and some mono copies. But since I purchased the cassette back in May 2007, I’ve not come across another copy since.

  2. Thanks for posting this information. My parents bought this before I was born, perhaps second hand, and gave it to my sister and me to play on our plastic record player. We were kids at the time and it’s never had its sleeve, so as you can imagine it has become very noisy.

    I only rediscovered it when my nephew was born (sis doesn’t appear interested) but it is nice to find out more about Argo and who read these particular poems as PW’s accent is much like mine, GW’s more so; “Dobbin” and “Nicholas Nye” are also my favourites among the readings. The arrangement of “The Owl and the Pussycat” is delightful.

    Nowadays however I can’t listen to Band Two without hearing “Don’t you GOTO near the C”; I may write alternative verses someday…

  3. Hi Greg.

    Glad to hear that you have also enjoyed this album. I only got my tape copy back in April 2009 from a car boot sale. I hadn’t heard of this album before and wasn’t sure what to expect but it really grew on me.

    Personally I’ve got used to the cassette running order with The Snail following Aiken Drum on Side One and Fire Down Below opening Side 2. To be honest I prefer it that way.

  4. Hello, I am trying to find out more information about esme lewis? Can anyone help?

  5. Hi All

    We had this tape when I was very young. I have just had a baby and find myself singing the songs. I would love a copy to hear again and play to her. Ours was lost in the mists of time. Does anyone have ideas about how to get one.

  6. I have searched and serached for this album. We also had this when I was growing up in the 70s and I would listen to it with my brother and sisters who also remember the album. We lost our original vinyl copy years ago, but would love to hear it again. Where would we be able to get a copy from? Would you be happy for me to get a copy from your version?
    Thank you,

  7. I would also love a copy of The World Of The Very Young. How can I get one?
    Thank you very much for your help.


  8. This is my third attempt to leave a comment, hopefully I will have some luck this time. i have a copy of this album and will happily provide a quality scan of the cover for use on your site. I can also provide covers scans for some of the Arthur Wragg illustrated albums and others in the Argo ‘World of… ‘ issues.
    I appreciate all your work on this fascinating site so would be glad of the opportunity of assisting.

    • cheers for persisting, Martin, and I’m sorry to have been absent from the site (and the associated email address) for so long. A scan would be cool. What have you got of the Arthur Wragg albums? And the World of … ? The blog is sadly abandoned at the mo, though i hope i can find time to pick it up again in the future. Thanks for your kind words. Best

      • Wragg covers in my collection are Stainer’s Crucifixion, Williams’ A Boy Growing Up and the Shakespeare’s Richard III, Henry V, Hamlet and Macbeth. Most of my ‘World of…’ records are the Decca titles you dismiss elsewhere in your blog (but for me they are valuable documents of social/cultural historical importance – and they only cost 50p in charity shops), the Argo titles I have are …Very Young, …Children, …Folk, …The Yetties, …Stanley Holloway, …Christmas, and a few other classical releases. Other Argo records are 4 by The Yetties, Talisman Primrose Dreams, MacColl & Seeger The Paper Stage 2, and assorted classical. Let me know if you would like cover scans and how I can get them to you.
        all the best,

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