Last week, stressed one night and unable to focus on work, I decided to decompress by shopping. Specifically, I decided to go look online for CDs I've been thinking of buying. And the first thing on my list was the Rise Up Singing teaching discs.
Rise Up Singing, in case there's anyone who cares but isn't familiar with it, is a group-singing songbook published by Sing Out. It contains lyrics to over 1200 songs, (including 750 copyrighted songs that they got rights to use for a tiny fee): showtunes, traditional folksongs, some rock, lullabies, a few rounds, lots of political (leftist) songs by topical singer/songwriters, etc. There are guitar chords for most of the songs (in, apparently, a somewhat odd/unusual notation, but I don't know anything about that), and discographies listing recordings of the songs, and notes, and translations, and so on. And a fabulous index. It's a great resource, but it's missing one thing: actual music. If you don't know the melody to a song, you're out of luck.
Enter the teaching tapes. The people who put the book together did a set of cassette tapes on which they recorded the first verse and chorus (and sometimes a bit more) of each song. Yes, every one of the 1200 songs in the book. It was a lot of tapes.
And now they've transferred those tapes to CD. A 20-CD set that teaches the tune to every song in the book. I first saw the CDs at WorldCon last year in Philadelphia, but didn't have enough cash on me to buy the whole set; I bought one of the discs, but I seem to have lost that one (probably it was one of the ones I lost on the Utah trip, sigh). But now you can order the whole set via credit card online, so I did.
The discs arrived Friday; I happily transferred about half of them to MP3 at work in the background while working. And then I forgot them at work, sigh. Typical of this past week.
I stopped at work and picked them up on Saturday on the way up to the East Bay for a birthday dinner. Ripped the rest of them to MP3 this afternoon while reading submissions. A friend suggested that Sing Out ought to release them as MP3 CDs (which can fit something like ten times as many songs); that's a cool idea. I'll have to remember to suggest it.
It's a little odd to have these mixed in with the rest of my music in iTunes; startling to be listening to and enjoying a song and then have it fade out. I may well end up moving them to another folder or something so they won't play as part of my random mix. But it'll be nice to have them all handy.
Unfortunately, at least two of the discs in my set appear to be damaged; lots of skipping in most of the songs on each of those. I need to try them in another CD player to be sure it's not just my computer, and then maybe get them replaced. Sigh.