Kids creating their own pop and rock music is fairly common today, with a few of them (Smoosh, Tiny Masters of Today, etc.) going on to relative success with their music. But in the 1970s the musical landscape was quite different. Though the early ’70s were a great decade for musical experimentation, independent music hadn’t quite come into its own yet, and studios were hard on the trail of the next Beatles or Rolling Stones. In that environment it’s a wonder that Kitsy Christner and Therese “Tres” Williams, then both ten years old, were able to record an album. Even so, the album Dandelions by Christner and Williams (a.k.a. Children of Sunshine) was an indie production with only 300 copies released, a novelty item that came and went quickly with little fanfare. In all likelihood the album would’ve passed into the void of history unheard of by most if not for two key elements: the discovery of a copy at a garage sale by a local record collector and the internet. You can read about how the album came into existence and how it attained fame over forty years later in this article at the Riverfront Times website. It’s a fascinating story in and of itself.
As for the music, the entire album has been released on YouTube by ’60s/’70s acid rock aficionado The Psychedelic Garden. It’s a short album and every bit as entertaining as it’s billed to be. The music is stripped down and basic, and the girls are clearly musical fledglings, but that in no way detracts from the album’s charm and humor. I’d say a reissue of Dandelions is well overdue, wouldn’t you?
By the way, be sure to read the newspaper article attached as a photo to the RFT article!
Edit: I urge you to read the replies section of this post as well, for the discussion brought forth another salient point about the nature of the relationship the girls had with their guitar teacher.
This is such a charming album!
The second track “the college school”, which outlines how they came to be recording the album, is just wonderful in its generosity and simplicity (“It was just two years ago when we picked up our guitars. We said “hey, man, will you teach us a song and the guy’s name was Tim Curran. So he taught us some songs and we got pretty good…”).
What’s especially nice is to hear little girls singing with their own voices – the voices they talk with.
On youtube there are plenty of little girls singing, who can maybe sing ‘better’ than Kitsy and Tres, but too often they ape popular singers and I feel that their identity gets lost, as does any sincerity of emotion – often you’ll hear these children singing in a different accent to their native one.
Kitsy and Tres don’t come across as kidults. You feel you’re listening to THEM, listening to real little girls, and not some pop star being channeled through a child’s body.
This is precisely my thought on the matter as well. What a difference there is between these girls who made music for the sheer joy of it versus kids today who clearly aim to be rich and famous. I think this is why this album became such a sensation in recent times–it is something truly honest and playful amidst a mountain of pretentious nonsense.
There’s also the fact that, in today’s paranoid environment, I’m not sure such a project could ever come about now. It was a sort of spontaneous thing that grew out of Curran’s close bond with his students, and I found the comment in the attached newspaper clipping about Curran “grooming” the girls to be quite ironic, given the context and the meaning of that word today. Maybe people are also responding to that, and how unlikely such a creative and fruitful relationship would be in the carefully regimented, overly suspicious world we currently live in. You know, I didn’t think of that when I wrote the article, but now I wish I had. I think it’s an important point.