- Album name: Yankee Doodle Mickey
- Artist name: Various, including Molly Ringwald, Larry Groce and Paul Worley
- Year: 1980
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Disneyland Records / Walt Disney Productions
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Who owned it: I did not own this, but in the early 1980s, my parents and grandparents played it for me.
- Buy it on Amazon: $25.46
Level of familiarity before listening
As I mentioned when reviewing Stars and Stripes Forever!, my grandparents were extremely enthusiastic about patriotic music. I remember them playing many of these songs on car rides, and singing along to them (and also just singing the songs without any need for musical accompaniment). I don’t have any memory of listening to this record specifically, but I must have heard it many times, perhaps hundreds or even thousands. Besides that, I do know many of the songs.
What I expected
Patriotic songs performed by Disney characters – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy – along with an outfit calling itself “The Disneyland Children’s Sing-Along Chorus,” another group called the “Disneyland Glee Club,” two singers named Larry Groce and Paul Worley, and (who else?) Molly Ringwald (?).
What it was actually like
Molly Ringwald stole the show on this record (though if I’m being completely honest, there was not all that much of a show to steal). I would not normally think of her as a singer, but her Wikipedia page even credits her for participating in this project, which she would have done around age 12:
In 1980, Ringwald performed as a lead vocalist on two Disney albums. On the patriotic album Yankee Doodle Mickey, Ringwald sang “This Is My Country”, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, and “God Bless America”.
As I listened to God Bless America, it occurred to me that it must have been my grandmother’s favorite song in the world, but then when I got to This Land Is Your Land, I immediately knew that it was her other favorite.
I was also shocked at how many verses there actually were in America (ie, My Country ‘Tis of Thee).
America, The Beautiful was the only one of these songs that I strongly disliked, as it was in more of a choral style, but overall, I did feel weird and a tiny bit creepy listening to this as a 42 year old man.
And despite recognizing all of the songs as songs, there was no moment at all while listening that I could conjure up any memory of ever having heard them performed by these Disney characters. It was kind of like when I was 16 and started getting into ska music and I loved the Rico and Freetown version of Take Five (but not so much the Specials’ version), and my father heard me listening to it and said, “Well yeah, this is a Dave Brubeck song. I used to play it all the time.” There was nothing at all in my conscious memory of ever having heard Brubeck’s otherworldly original Take Five, but I’m sure that it must have been ingrained in my subconscious memory.
Similarly, I’ve been a big Lonnie Donegan fan for around 15 years, as I may have mentioned once or twice, and I’ve listened to his cover of The Battle of New Orleans hundreds of times, but if someone had asked me in 2008 if I had ever heard it before then, I would have said that I certainly had not. But here it was on Yankee Doodle Mickey, performed by Paul Worley with “Donald” and “Children’s Chorus.” So now I believe that I must have recognized it back then at some deep subconscious level, from having heard it many times, 40 years ago.
When I reviewed Leftover Wine by Melanie last month, I remarked:
The song Psychotherapy was … sung to the melody of Battle Hymn of the Republic (which itself is sung to the melody of John Brown’s Body), some of the creepiest and most disturbing music ever to become popular, and it immediately brought me back to that morning in March 2019 when I visited the largest electronics store in the world, Yodobashi in Akihabara, Tokyo, and realized that its theme song was sung to the very same melody (in that context, I described it as “both disorienting and highly charming”).
It really is a disturbing song.
Another weird thing: Minnie Mouse is pictured on the back of this album, but she’s not credited on any its songs, whereas Donald Duck is credited, but he doesn’t appear in the picture. Hmmm.
2/5: bad, but I was able to listen to the whole thing