Denny’s Adventures in Allee Willis’ “Willis Wonderland” (Part 3 – August 2010)

Submitted by denny August 30th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

I wanted to do a proper post featuring “Childstar” instead of showing it in a mix of other things.

These shots were taken in my favorite room where these formats of the lp and 8 track are on display. I’ve recently been listening to the album and I’ve been having a ball doing so! My new favorite track changes all the time so in a way, it is difficult to pick a favorite track. The track listing to the album is: Childstar (kicking ass on this one), I Have, Ain’t No Man Worth It (works my nerves in a good way!), I Don’t Know How, If You Were Only Robert Young (love love love this one!!), Into Feeling Lonely, What Kind of Shoes Does September Wear? (everyone should hear this one….), Children’s Day Parade (did it really rain in Milwaukee?, ok, this is my favorite….), Who You Gonna Be, Missing Something Special.

Front cover of Lp distributed by Columbia Records/Epic Records. Do we need to start a re-issue campaign here!!?

“Demonstration – not for sale”. I’m wondering if these pins still exist in some corner or draw of “Willis Wonderland”?

The 8 track, who knew.

This is some audio found on You Tube, posted by someone in Japan.

“Who You Gonna Be”

15 Responses to “Denny’s Adventures in Allee Willis’ “Willis Wonderland” (Part 3 – August 2010)”

  1. Allee Willis

    Writing about Childstar, my first and only LP actually released, would take me about a year and a half so I will just say that it contains the first 10 songs I ever wrote and came out on Epic in 1974. It didn’t sell that well then but it sold enough to get me my first major fan, Bonnie Raitt, who became the first artist to cut one of my songs later that year. It’s become quite a collectible album. I think a few of the songs are among the best I ever wrote. Also, most of the musicians and singers on it went on to have major careers if they didn’t have them already by the time we cut this album, recorded between 1972 and 1974.

    ‚ÄúAin’t No Man Worth It‚Äù was actually the very first song I ever wrote and still remains a favorite of mine. The background vocals in the fade slay me. ‚ÄúChildstar” became a favorite of Bette Midler’s, who rehearsed it but never actually released it. ‚ÄúWhat Kind of Shoes Does September Wear?” was the first and only single off the album. It got some airplay, especially in New York where I was living at the time, and became even more significant when I actually had my first hit record five years later with Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September”. Although I was born in November I consider September a very lucky month for me, if for no other reason than so many of my friends, especially my original show biz clique from New York in the mid ’70s, still call me on 21st of September, the opening line of the EWF song, and sing pieces of it as well as ‚ÄúWhat Kind of Shoes This September Wear?‚Äù Into my answering machine. Of course, I’m notoriously bad at fetching my messages but that’s the one day of the year I’m religious about checking them.

    Thank you for posting, Denny!

  2. windupkitty

    It’s so cool to hear the stories behind this record….it has been and will remain one of my very favorite records of all time….i have 2 copies, but nothing digital…..i could transfer it myself, but kinda don’t want to compromise the integrity….hint, hint, wouldya,couldya ever go digital with this ???? i’ll do anything in the pleading department, so name it! :)

    • Allee Willis

      I only WISH I could go digital with Childstar. Sony owns the master. Maybe one day when the record companies take their final humiliating tumble I’ll be able to afford to buy it back. My nephew converted his copy to CD a few years ago, skips and all, and that’s the only way I’ve heard it for the past few years.

  3. k2dtw

    Have you had a chance to talk about all the artwork on the cover???… I’m taken by the bracelet??… Was that something you owned????… Is that bakelite or celluloid w/the bowling charms??
    The picture on the back is great to… brilliant hairdresser…smile

    • Allee Willis

      So funny you would ask. I literally just opened a package and someone sent me a copy of Childstar so I’m holding it right now. The cover was drawn by Doug Taylor, an artist who regularly did the illustrations in Esquire magazine that I liked a lot. I had a list of a bunch of my favorite pop icons and he took it from there. My idea was that someone trapped in a very normal life, i.e. me doing dishes, had a rich and vibrant life in their imagination. It’s very much what the song “Childstar” is about. The little girl sucking a lollipop all the way in the left bottom corner is Fanny Bryce, Alfalfa from The Little Rascals is popping up next to the cup of hot chocolate and the three singers in front obviously an represent my love of soul music. I was also crazy about animals in clothes.

      I absolutely hated the back cover photo when I saw it but have grown to love it over the years. I was, indeed, saying the F word as it was snapped. That part of that I liked but I hated the hand tinting and that my eyes were so closed. As for the pins on my clothes, that was the primary part of my collection in those years as I lived in a tiny apartment on 69th and Columbus in NY and could only collect tiny things. Between 1972 and 1975 I wore at least 20 fan club buttons with other pins scattered in on every outfit I wore and I always wore saddle shoes. I still have all the pins and saddle shoes and one day need to start schlepping them out and photographing them.