Well, break out the Bubble Machine and wave that baton (a baton is a stick that is used by conductors primarily to enlarge and enhance the manual and bodily movements associated with directing an ensemble of musicians) for it’s time to revisit the music of Disney’s Mary Poppins Soundtrack like you’ve never heard it before!
We’ve all found ourselves asking “Now, what could make the Mary Poppins soundtrack better?” The answer? Accordion music, of course! And no one championed this much-maligned instrument more than Lawrence Welk.
Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903 – May 17, 1992) was an American accordionist, bandleader, and host of the television program The Lawrence Welk Show from 1951 to 1982. His style came to be known as “champagne music”. No alcohol will be served during today’s performances.
This long-play record features twelve songs from the original soundtrack of the film. Most are very competently done by The Lawrence Welk Singers, with some standout performances spotlighted by individual members of the troop.
Some are just too fun! For example, the short audio clip below features Larry Hooper standing in for Julie Andrews on one of the most famous and beloved Poppins songs. It’s weird to hear a deep baritone standing in for Andrew’s soprano rendering:
One of the most controversial things about Mary Poppins the movie is Dick Van Dykes’ vocal performance as Bert, the Chimney Sweep. His broad Cockney accent has been panned for decades. It doesn’t bother me (and I have an English heritage) but many find it distracting while watching the scenes he is in. To be fair though, I think these ones are in the minority!
The next audio clip (below) is sung by The Lennon Sisters and they apparently thought it would be a good idea to try to out-Cockney Van Dyke! Have a listen:
So who do you feel got the accent right? Who was better? Van Dyke versus the Lennon Sisters will be the next greatest musical smackdown. Mark my words!
I bought this record at a charity shop for a few dollars because of its novelty value. The vinyl itself is in decent shape with the typical pops and crackles one expects from this format. The sleeve however has seen better days!
This pressing was released in 1965. It was Made in Canada and released as A Spectacular Record by the Dot Record Special Products Division through Quality Records Limited. Dot Records seems to be the company it is most linked with.
Welk died of pneumonia on May 17, 1992 at the age of 89 in his Santa Monica apartment. But he will be remembered for the bubbles, his wunnerful wunnerful television show, and of course… his bouncy accordion music!
FUN FACTS: Did you know that The Lawrence Welk Show featured a former Mouseketeer? You can read about Bobby Burgess and his time on the show, and see some images of his time there, by clicking the link.