Pop Life

Five Murderers' Unreleased Children's Albums

Reading this article from our San Francisco sister blog All Shook Down got Rocks Off thinking: If Leadbelly could murder a man in cold blood, yet also excel in the gentle whimsy of children's music, could there have perhaps been other killers who tried to record children's albums that, for one reason or another, never got released?

We'll never reveal our sources, but as it turns out...

Jumpin' Al Capone & The Bowery Boys, Songs For Little Palookas

Before he was the leader of the Prohibition Era's most notorious Chicago crime syndicate, Al Capone was a young Italian-American thug on the streets of Brooklyn. Running with several different street gangs, he managed to find enough fellow street toughs who could play musical instruments to briefly form a crude ragtime band.

Dubbing himself "Jumpin'" Al Capone (a nickname which spectacularly failed to catch on), Capone led his six-member ensemble through ten children's songs, all highly derivative of popular Scott Joplin tunes. "Chin Music" warns children against gossip, and "Head Down" is an admonishment for kids to mind their own business. Indeed, most of the songs serve as pointed warnings towards children, or anyone listening, to leave Capone and his gang the hell alone, under poorly concealed threat of violence.

Needless to say, potential audiences weren't thrilled about having their kids threatened by a jowly singer with fresh scars on his face, and so Capone's band was scrapped shortly before he moved to Chicago to go into the import/export business.

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John Seaborn Gray