Kenyon Collegian Spring Dance Humor Issue – Needle Tracks (Reprisal Records K-7009) (1971)

Once again stretching the bounds of Thrifty Vinyl credulity, I present this Lp, as thrifted by my father some 35 years ago in Mount Vernon, Ohio. In fact, there were something like 10 or 15 copies of the record in that haul; I’m pretty sure he’s got several of this micropressing left.

But what is it?

First of all it is a product of Kenyon College, in particular, members of its weekly, student-run newspaper, The Kenyon Collegian. It consists of gentle satire at the expense of the College, my alma mater, and its environs. Kenyon, along with a few other colleges in central Ohio, represents a sometimes uneasy clash of civilisations: interloping/East Coast/monied/snobby v. local/Midwest/working class/narrow-minded. So, for example, my grandfather refused to display the transparent Kenyon College bumper sticker I gave him on the back window of his Fuego on the grounds he’d likely be targeted by local law enforcement (it was tacked up on my grandparents’ cork bulletin board in their kitchen). Whether or not this is true is beside the point; my grandfather believed it and, no doubt, others did too. As both “townie” and “college boy” I pretty much found myself welcome (if viewed with some suspicion) in both camps.

My favourite track was “Mt. Vernon – Gateway To Nowhere”, a humourously scathing dismissal of my hometown, the “All-American town” where you can get “literally every size and colour of white socks,” where garbage trucks “make deliveries once a week” and whose citizenry opposed adding fluoride to the city’s water supply because of reputed links to both “Mongoloid births and that most dreaded disease, Chinese Communism.” As a 10-year-old, I could quote large chunks of the routine for the amusement of friends and relatives.

I don’t know too much about the cast, though I see lead Murray Horwitz has gone to rather good things.

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Published in: on October 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm  Comments (10)  

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  1. But beneath the humor lay a frustration among Kenyon students over the Colleges relative obscurity one first experienced no doubt when they returned home for Thanksgiving break shortly after matriculation..Imagine the following all too common exchange between yourself and a neighbor you might encounter back home. Where are you going to school? Kenyon College you say with a note of pride in your voice..Here an awkward pause ensues until Mister Smith sheepishly replies Oh wheres that? As several alumni have pointed out to me answering that question doesnt help matters much since Gambier sounds an awful lot like Gambia. Multiply this exchange 1 000 times and you wind up with the motivation for our tee shirt..Im happy to report that Kenyons national reputation has grown significantly since the shirts debut and so youre far less likely to encounter the aforementioned embarrassing situation.

  2. I assume you mean the classic “Kenyon Is Not Near Uganda” tee?

    Of course, since I was from Mount Vernon I never had that problem. 🙂

  3. Just found a copy of this record, without a sleeve, in a Chicago thrift store. How it got there, who knows? Thanks for this post, which gave me an idea of what the hell is going on!

    • You’re very welcome. The record “sleeve” consisted of two thin paper sheets stapled in one corner on to the paper inner bag–not exactly laminated clarifoil foldback or old school tip on!

      Why did you buy the record in the first place? Are you an alum? Any relation to Chris Shea?

      • Not an alum…just a record freak…and not a relation to Chris Shea…I bought it on the North Side of Chicago at a store called The Brown Elephant.

  4. I remember listening to that album many years ago at a Prof’s house in Gambier. I wish I could find a copy myself, or even a download. Oh well. Your post brings back nice memories anyway. Thanks.

    • My father still has something like 3 copies which I believe he’s going to put up on eBay at some point. Keep your eyes peeled Spode!

      • Will they be on eBay soon? I’m interested in buying one!

      • I don’t know, but if he tells me, I’ll reply and let you know.

      • Thank you!


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