Monday, August 08, 2005

California Raisins

Sweet, Delicious and Marvelous (1987)
(from Sing the Hit Songs)

First, there were commercials--then came some TV specials. Shortly after, the group that was behind an insanely successful ad campaign for raisins, became pop culture icons. California Raisins stuff could be found as fast food kids' meal incentives, a Nintendo game (no idea what you were supposed to do in the game), action figures, t-shirts, a Saturday morning cartoon and three albums. Back in the 80s, I remember having two California Raisins cassettes. Unfortunately, I was about 7 and they have long been lost and forgotten. Thankfully for eBay, when I began to have interest in the Raisins again, I was able to get their debut album on vinyl.

Why would a guy in his early twenties all of a sudden become interested in an old ad campaign? Because said guy found out that a legendary funk, rock and soul figure was the person singing on the bulk of the tracks. That man's name is Buddy Miles. The charismatic Miles is a musical giant who has played with an unbelievable amount of great artists (for more info on his soul and funk stuff, head over to Soul Shower).

What started off as an ad campaign became a phenomenon of sorts. Claymation was cutting edge at the time, and people were amazed at the technology. Not to mention, these little shriveled up cats were singing some of the greatest songs ever written. Primarily doing Motown and classic soul songs, the Raisins introduced an entire generation of kids to that genre of music. For parents, they were happy to let their kids listen to these "oldies" and watch some innocent claymation raisins.

There are heaps of information about the Raisins--they even have an entry at All Music. The song included with this post is the only original track off of their debut album Sing the Hit Songs (Priority, 1987). "Sweet, Delicious and Marvelous" is a fun tune. It could have easily fit on the charts with a lot of the slick and commercial R&B of the 1980s. However, with Raisins singing...I don't suppose too many people took them seriously. It was and is a novelty. Still, enjoy.


Anonymous Nicole said...

I have two questions.

My first question is: I saw the claymation animation of the California Raisins when they first came out when I was a little kid girl and was wondering why they don't show it every holiday season?

My second question is where can I find a store that deals with the importing of CD's.

10:52 PM  

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