Why do once what you can do, or I don’t know… dozens of times? Disney is at it again with 10 songs from the Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins Soundtrack, but with a twist. This time, it’s filled with what could only be considered Demo Tracks! Or maybe just re-recordings?
Richard and Robert Sherman wrote the memorable music from this 1964 classic. Hosts of others have redone, re-sung, re-released, and just plain rehashed each and every track! I own several versions of the soundtrack myself, and you can find them on this blog by typing ‘Mary Poppins’ into the ‘Search’ box.
But before you do, let’s have a look at the cover art for this release:
I collect these vinyl creations almost entirely for the cover art on the sleeves. I have the original soundtrack digitally remastered on CD so don’t need these scratchy versions to listen to! It’s also fun to see how many versions I can find.
Just to nit pick a bit: The children aren’t wearing the right colours of clothing compared to the film. And Mary Poppins doesn’t appear inside the Carousel, controlling it, during this scene. She is actually riding a horse as well. And where’s Bert? But I do believe the penguins are wearing the proper screen-used attire.
And now a request for all of you vinyl buyers out there: Please don’t write your name in permanent pen on the cover sleeve and the album labels! This reduces the value and mares the artwork. Shame on you, Ms. Sterling!
Sometimes you can find some wonderful artwork on these old vinyl record covers. Like the collage above. Filled with scenes depicting the original actors in their iconic roles, it just doesn’t get any better than that!
Now it’s time to play a few tracks from the album so that you can compare them to the versions you know so well. These are either demo tracks or just re-recordings. Why re-recordings would be released by Disney the same year as the original soundtrack is a bit of a mystery though. While I might buy a new take on the familiar some time after the original release, I don’t think many would do so the same day!
Either way, this first track is a fun take by Richard Sherman himself on I Love to Laugh, originally sung by Ed Wynn:
Next, we have Marni Nixon standing in for Julie Andrews on Feed the Birds. She does a competent job but isn’t quite on par with the practically perfect Nanny we know and love. Listen for the spoken introduction, meant to represent the words of Jane Darwell, the old Bird Lady on the steps of Saint Paul’s:
Lastly, we have Bill Lee stepping in to fill the shoes of Dick Van Dyke in a slightly less British-sounding version of Step in Time:
Did you miss Van Dyke’s thicker Cockney accent?
Of note are these two images of Mary Poppins. The black and white version on the left looks quite like Andrews. The colour version on the right is a stylized drawing that captures the iconic pose of the enigmatic Nanny in flight. It’s awesome that Mary forms and dots the ‘i’ in her own name!
The back cover of the sleeve gives us lyrics to four of the more popular tunes from the soundtrack. I think the red brolly is a nice touch between the Side One and Side Two listings!
FUN FACTS: In North America, we call that red thingy an umbrella. In Europe, it is more commonly called a brolly. But did you know that some call it a bumbershoot? Bumbershoot is formed by combining an alteration of the word umbrella with an alteration of the word parachute.