Monday, 26 October 2009

Joan McElfresh : The Dewey Rap

Earlier this year I was scouring eBay for decimal currency-related vinyl, particularly seeking Wilfred Brambell's The Decimal Song, and Sebastian's D.E.C.I.M.A.L., to join Max Bygraves' Decimalisation in my collection of records about events and trends. Up popped this 1987 single-sided cassette, which I won with zero competition. Written and performed by practising school librarian Joan McElfresh of Covington, Kentucky, The Dewey Rap, which comes with a seven-sheet lyric book, puts across the intricacies of the Dewey Decimal System in simple and catchy fashion, with a young audience in mind.
Appropriately, my copy of this eight-and-a-half-minute gem is ex-library (Springdale, AR). Over a synthesized instrumental backing, and with assistance from a couple of singers, Ms. McElfresh introduces us to each section of the system, hundred by hundred, starting with, "Oh, oh, oh to oh ninety-nine", taking us from encyclopedia sets through philosophy, religion, social sciences, language, natural sciences, applied sciences, recreation and the arts, and literature, right up to history, geography and biography in the "nine, oh, oh"s.
I don't have an enormous number of rap releases; this cassette joins oddities like Cypress City's The Cajun Rap Song and Evolution Control Committee's ingenious splicing together of Public Enemy and Herb Alpert, as well as a rap take on The Archies' Sugar, Sugar (complete with samples of the original) and a Top Cat cartoon cash-in.
No label name for this self-release, though Ms. McElfresh's address and other contact details are provided.

Lyric :

News story :,3546012.

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