Edith Hillman Boxill
Music Therapy for Developmentally Disabled

Released 1965 on Folkways Records
Reviewed by rotwang, 29/03/2004ce

Lost in the shrouds of time, the seminal 1965 LP (with accompanying booklet) Music Therapy for the Developmentally Disabled has long been a favorite of connoisseurs of ultimate purity and the enlightened amateur approach in music. I'm talking about those folks for whom the likes of James "Blood" Ulmer is too "trite" and "technique-ridden."

Issued by the venerable Folkways Records, the record and booklet were to aid therapists in treatment of "Developmentally Disabled" children and young adults, using the then in vogue format of the folksy sing along.

The tracks include heartfelt covers of Day By Day (from the musical "Godspell") and the Sesame Street anthem These Are The People in Your Neighborhood, as well as a delightfully visceral treasure hoard of originals created right in the studio.

Overall, the album seems to stick to the “verite” and “naturalist” schools so prevalent in recording then, with the best between song banter of the Rolling Stones, Neil Young or even The Troggs easily matched by snappy studio exchanges such as this one:

Boxill: "Now, children, when we have thanksgiving Dinner, what do we have for Thanksgiving dinner?"
"Turkey! Turkey!" come the excited cries.
Then, a lone flat voice, with his 2 cents worth: "Hambuh-guh!"

It's moments like that that make rock n roll the spontaneous, ever-effervescent art form it was and/or is.

Apart from the rigid piano playing of ringmeistress Edith Hillman Boxill, the instruments are all completely played by the kids themselves.

Admittedly, the instruments on the Boxill album are entirely percussion based, and played entirely in keeping with each players' range, but it makes for a “pure” type of sound which hardcore authentic bluesmen like Dr. John or Robert Johnson might have sold their soul to the devil to tap into. They used to rave about the Shaggs, how they had no influences cause they never heard rock n roll before strapping on their Sears Silvertone matching guitars and twinkly Sears drum set, but the truth is, these cats really have no influences…

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