MYSTERY RECORD

In 1970, 1971, and 1972, comedy group The Firesign Theatre were on the air on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles doing live radio improv.

While the group did their improv, their engineer The Live Earl Jive threw a variety of records on the air on top of them, anything from random sound effects records to The Lone Ranger theme to ragas.

They never back-announced anything, and the boys in Firesign barely remember the series at all, so when fans listen to those 35-year-old airchecks today they’re confronted with some amazingly anonymous pop nuggets. These are five of those nuggets, and they all came from the same record, which I can't identify.

The record is a collection of instrumental versions of traditional Japanese children’s tunes, given a lush orchestral treatment by some unknown arranger. An American would classify it as Lounge or Exotica, but all evidence suggests this is a Japanese LP made for a domestic audience - something that only ended up in an American's hands because these Americans were deliberately looking for music they weren't supposed to be interested in.

Here are the facts, which are few:

* No one in Firesign has this LP today or remembers what it was
* All records used in Firesign's shows came from the participants' collections, NOT from KPFK
* Audible instruments include: saxophone section, trumpet section, trombone section, glockenspiel, cymbal, low toms, shamisen or koto, solo flute, piano
* The source LP is stereo

Here's the background on mystery cue #1:

* This audio clip is from a broadcast on November 22, 1970
* The name of the tune is 中国地方の子守唄 or "Chugoku-Chiho no Komoriuta" (Chugoku-Chiho Lullaby), a traditional lullaby from the Honshu region of western Japan

Here's the background on mystery cue #2:

* This audio clip is from a broadcast on November 22, 1970
* The name of the tune is unknown

Here's the background on mystery cue #3:

* This audio clip is from a broadcast on December 9, 1971
* The name of the tune is あんたがたどこさ or "Anta-gata-dokosa", a traditional Japanese call-and-response nursery rhyme

Here's the background on mystery cue #4:

* This audio clip is from a broadcast on November 22, 1970
* The name of the tune is 俵はごろごろ or "Tawara Wa Gorogoro" (Straw Rice Bags in the Storehouse), a Japanese children's song by Noguchi Ujou and Motouri Nagayo

Here's the background on mystery cue #5:

* This audio clip is from a broadcast on November 18, 1971
* The name of the tune is 通りゃんせ or "Toryanse" (Let Me Pass), a traditional Japanese nursery rhyme now playing at thousands of Japanese pedestrian crossings

If you can put this LP in my hands, I'll pay you $250. I live in Burbank, California. If you have any leads or suggestions, if you have this LP, or if you know someone or are someone who's willing to dig the crates in Japan and try to find it, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Taylor Jessen
818-567-6563
ironybread at earthlink dot net