Come and See the Peppermint Tree

Got an extremely rare download for you. This is an album that my sister, brother and I had when we were kids in the sixties. We had a kids’ turntable; must have been a Fisher-Price one, I think. We played this record to death!

The songs on this record go a way toward explaining me and my siblings’ sense of humor. Interspersing magical things—such as sliding down rainbows, talking critters, and elves—with everyday experiences, like finding a penny or playing on a swing, the story is partly sung in a wacky falsetto, partly narrated, partly evoked with quirky piano accompaniments that used more modernistic dissonant touches than I’ve ever heard in kids’ music, then or since. The whole thing had an edge…so sincerely, enthusiastically silly it verged on weird and nutty.

Listen to “My Shoes Went Walking”

We’ve spent years searching for a reissue, or someone else’s rip, or a less damaged copy—anything—for years, to no avail. Recently, I discovered that my brother-in-law owns a vinyl-to-digital converter. So on my last family visit, I borrowed the LP from my mom and converted it.

I’ve cleaned it up as best I could with Audacity; that is to say, it’s pretty gnarly. Track #21 had pretty hopeless skips, which I could not really repair properly. Well, take it or leave it!

Download it here: Peppermint Tree (95 MB zip file)

Come and See the Peppermint Tree

Artists: Donny McKayle, Evelyn D. Lohoefer, Stan Raiff, Charlie Byrd
Composer: Evelyn D. Lohoefer
Riverside Wonderland RLP 1453
1960

Cover photo, courtesy of Gabrielle McKayle:
album jacket of Come and See the Peppermint Tree

SIDE A

Follow Me
Kitchen Stuff
My Shoes Went Walking
The Yellow Bee
Jabberty-Jib
The Elf
A Shiny Penny
Putt-Putt
My Pretty Red Swing
Riddle
Dance Awhile

SIDE B

Jump and Spin
Riding on a Star
Me, Too
Wheels
All Mixed Up
Miriam
The Dress
The Ribbon
Carrots and Things
The Crow, The Worm and The Fish
The Moon in the Yard
Thingamabob
The Peppermint Tree
Mr. Sandman

67 Responses to “Come and See the Peppermint Tree”

  1. Diane

    Thanks for posting this, and for your great description of this album, which my 3 brothers, sister & I also listened to ad nauseum in the ’60’s, until it became embedded in our psyches and an underlying part of our personalities …

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Hey Diane, I am so glad you found this post. If you and your siblings could get together with me and mine, what a crazy fun sing-along we would have!

      Reply
    • Lynn Runkle

      Come and visit ” come and see the peppermint tree” Facebook page :)

      Reply
      • Claudia Garcia

        This was the childhood record that was played the most in our home from about 1961-when we misplaced it decades later. I still know the words to the silly songs and sang them to my children spontaneously and often. Especially “‘My shoes went walkin'” The lush blue of the record was to die for. So special and magical. It is moving to read comments of other people who loved this original and charming music. Don’t have a record player right now but I want to find a copy of Peppermint tree (blue!) to put aside for when I do.

      • Jessi

        Welcome to the fan club, Claudia! So pleased to meet you. I will think of you next time I sing My Shoes Went Walking!

  2. Wicca

    My sister and I have a copy of the album because Evelyn Lohoefer is our aunt. We also played it over and over.

    Reply
  3. Caitlin

    OMGoddess!!!! I have been looking for this album for years! I have a badly scratched up copy that survived myself and two siblings.

    Thank you so much for putting this out there!

    Reply
    • Jessi

      You’re welcome, Caitlin! I’m glad you found it. I’m sorry my audio cleaning skills aren’t better, but hopefully, the scratches just bring back the memories. These tracks are well-loved!

      Reply
  4. Janiece

    OMG! My siblings and I have been looking for this forever too! They will be so thrilled! You have just made us happy and jumpy to be sure. We should ALL have a reunion/sing along to this amazing album!

    Reply
  5. Janiece

    BTW, I live in Indiana, but my daughter lives in Santa Cruz!
    Maybe we can meet the next time I get out there? My fav. song was The Elf….I sang it to my kids and still remember it……and most other songs. I wonder if the composer and singer know how much joy they brought to us kids?

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Absolutely, Janiece! I hope that the musicians had an inkling…maybe they did, since Evelyn’s niece (see comment above) says she played this record a lot, too!

      Let me know when you’re heading to Santa Cruz. I’d love to meet you.

      P.S. I love that an elf who lost his shoe consoled (no pun intended) himself by throwing the other away!

      Reply
      • Janiece

        YES!
        I can’t seem to play the whole lp. I have adobe player, but don’t know if I have javascript….

  6. Emmy A

    I did a google search for “My Shoes Went Walking” and came across this blog post. Thanks for posting the song! I had this album when I was a kid too and I have great memories of the wacky songs. My husband listened to it and thought it was a little creepy, but I love it! I know the album is somewhere at my parent’s house, but I have no idea what condition it’s in. I’ll have to salvage it for my son.

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Emmy, you’re so welcome! I think that the album is so different as to be a little creepy to some people is part of what makes it so great. Good luck finding your old copy!

      Reply
  7. Frank

    “That was good Ice-Cream. Could it have grown on a Peppermint Tree? What a delicious thought!”

    Reply
  8. Jency

    So excited to see this! My siblings(especially my sister closest in age to me) would listen to this all the time. Our friends thought it was a little weird, but we were artsy, musical types and really “got it” My sister downloaded “My shoes” as her ringtone but we couldn’t find the other songs until now. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jessi

      You’re so welcome, Jency! Hope you enjoy it, despite the severe crackles and pops.

      To anyone who says this is too weird, I say: flibberty jib is nonsense!

      ;)

      Reply
  9. Chris

    MY comment is the same….We have been searching for years. Thank you for this wonderful part of our past.

    Reply
  10. Kathy

    I was just brushing my teeth when I found myself singing “a shiny shiny penny, a round one, a little one, a new one …” So I decided to google the peppermint tree. Ours was made of blue vinyl and it was full of crackles and skips but we loved it.

    Reply
  11. Ophir

    Jessi, you did a great service to mankind by uploading the Peppermint Tree. We l o v e d it as kids and my 9 month old grandson loves My shoes went Walking when I sing it to him. He accompanies me by drumming on the talbe with his little hands.
    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Dearest Ophir, my motivation was purely selfish. I wanted to have my very own club of Peppermint Tree fans! How awesome is it that you are recruiting a new generation! :D

      Reply
  12. Jimmy3K

    I was singing my shoes went walking to my kids in the car yesterday and my sister was in the back seat cracking up, my kids were ready to check me into a mental health clinic.

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Hi Jimmy, wish I’d been there to join in! Funny, with my family it was the kids who were into the “crazy” stuff, but now it’s come full circle and it’s the other way around. Wonder if it skips generations :)

      Reply
  13. Nancy

    Okay, so I was backing out of my garage today when, out of the blue, the ‘Kitchen Stuff’ dialog popped into my head (mama’s in the kitchen..) I haven’t thought about this record in years! I had it back in the 60’s and my cousins & I especially enjoyed ‘my shoes went walking’, playing it over & over & being silly girls :-) I think I let one of the girls have it. Do you still have the album cover? I remember it was very colorful & interesting. Would love to see it again. Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Nancy, Kitchen Stuff is the best! I love singing it, especially when it speeds up!

      Mama’s in the kitchen just a-washing up the dishes
      Pots and pans and bottles with a little bottle brush
      Here’s the salt and pepper shaker, oh I mustn’t get it wet
      Oh the salt is wet, can’t shake it! Mommy I want some milk!

      I have the LP in it’s beat-up taped-together jacket in storage and won’t have access to it for a few months, but I don’t have a scanner anyhow. Sad to say we’ll have to do without the cover art for now.

      Reply
  14. Nancy

    I didn’t see it in the kitchen…. let’s look outside. Better start walking.. -Gasp-!! My shoes went walking! I’ll have to ask my cousin if she still has it after all these years. She’s in Maryland & I’m in CA.

    Reply
  15. Mattley

    I have a copy and love it. Not sure when I’ll do it, but i’ll rip it. Mine has few crackles. Using noise reduction takes important pieces of the tone and warmth out. “Monkey bars”…………..ha. I love this album.

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Mattley, when you rip, I’d be sooo grateful if you could allow me to replace the one here with your cleaner copy. My sibs and I just loved that record to death, almost literally. Now let’s go out and run around the stars in the sky!

      Reply
  16. Leila

    Hi, Jessi

    I read Evelyn D. Lohoefer’s obituary in The Washington Post this morning. I had never heard her songs, but I was curious about them and found them on your blog. Thank you so much for posting them!

    All best wishes,

    Leila

    Reply
  17. Marcia

    Hi! Thank you so much for this. I loved this record and it was such an important part of my childhood. For some reason, my father got mad at me and broke my record. Even though that was over 50 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. Wasn’t there a “peppermint tree” on the cover? Thank you again for helping me find something important that was lost to me.

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Yay Marcia, glad you found us! So sorry your father broke your record. That must have been so awful. Please don’t lose a minute in listening and singing along and knowing that I am so happy for you to have this music back!

      I do remember an illustration of a boy, a girl, and a peppermint tree on the cover. My mom even has the LP with the cover; they are just very beat up, and I don’t have a scanner to scan in the cover art, or I would have included it in the download.

      Wishing all the best to you, Marcia!

      Reply
  18. Lynn Runkle

    Hey to everyone I too lived this record as a child. I have the orginal record and recently came across a clean, almost new second release album. As soon as I get a record player I’ll be happy to share with everyone. Btw I think we should start a Facebook page :)

    Reply
  19. Lynn Runkle

    Sooo I just started a Facebook page “Come and See the Pepperment Tree “. I posted both record sleeves photo. I may need some direction so I can post the music. Let’s see how far we get :) Lynn

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Yay, Lynn! Glad to meet another fan! Thanks so much for starting the Facebook page!

      I used my Dropbox account to post the music files here, so that is one possible way to do it. Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
      • Lynn Runkle

        Hey jessi so I got the album today and it is perfect and I will really try what you suggested to get it posted for everyone to enjoy!!! So much fun to find some people who enjoy this record as much as I did as a child and still at 55 I love it.

      • Jessi

        Yayyy! May we never outgrow the best experiences of our childhoods! Enjoy listening, Lynn, and let me know if you need suggestions for how to record it digitally and/or post it.

  20. Gaby McKayle

    Just stumbled onto this website and I am grinning from ear to ear. Donny McKayle is my father and I also listened to this album to death. I was making a copy of it for a woman I tutored as a grade-schooler who is about to have her first baby. I was looking for the cover artwork.

    Anyway, I’m going to print out these comments for my Dad. I’m sure they will warm his heart!

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Gaby, I am so thrilled to meet you and to know our comments will reach your Dad! What a wonderful singer and voice actor he is. For instance, just remembering the “copy cat, copy cat, silly billy copy cat” skit, with the voices of the older brother and younger sister, that he could do those voices so convincingly…and also sing so beautifully and movingly about rainbows and peppermint trees and bees and shoes and scooters and swings and pennies and elves…I am quite amazed! If he reads just one thing, I hope he reads this:

      Thank you for making our childhoods more magical!

      Reply
      • Gaby McKayle

        Hi Jessi,

        I will have to ask my dad… But I’m pretty sure that Evelyn Loehoefer was the little girl’s voice on the Me, too cut.

        I am so greatful to you for putting up the Sometime Anytime album. I love The Rooster with the Purple Head and I had forgotten about it. It was also delightful to read the back of the album.

      • Jessi

        Hi Gaby, thanks for adding that information. Well, your Dad and Evelyn made a fantastic team! And I’m grateful for Sometime Anytime too. It was shared with me by an anonymous Loehoefer/McKayle fan!

  21. Gaby McKayle

    Hi Jessi,

    It was funny — I was just wondering as I was making a copy of this record if I was the only one who thought so often about the delights of my childhood — and then I found this site :-)

    I’m pretty sure on “Me, too” it was Evelyn Loehoefer who played the little girl, but my father did all the other voices. I will send you a photo I have of the original cover — a friend found it for me somewhere. Wish I had the back cover — please share if you ever find it!

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Gaby,

      I’m excited to get your cover photo. Of course I will share if I ever have one of the back cover! Next time I visit my Mom I will ask her to dig out the old battered LP and see if I can take a photo with my lousy little phone camera–better than nothing, right?

      Reply
      • Gaby McKayle

        Thank you Jessi! And now I am going to widen my search for a copy of Sometime Anytime — who knows maybe we can find one in better shape to get the rest of the cuts!

  22. Melissa Miller

    I love it. I find myself singing the songs from the album. I was an adult before I found out it was not a man singing the songs.

    Reply
      • Jessi

        Hi Melissa, there was so much I didn’t know about this album until Donald McKayle’s daughter contacted me. He does have a wonderfully expressive voice, don’t you think?

        The other day I found a penny and without thinking about it started humming the penny song to myself. A round one, a little one, a new one just for you, and you, and you, and me…

  23. Jim

    The songs remind me of waiting to go outside on a rainy day. My older sister and I must of played this record a hundred times. My mom bought it new back in the early 60’s. Thanks for the memories!

    Reply
  24. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have been looking for years. I got the record for my birthday in the early 60s and like you, played it over and over. I still remember the songs and sing them to the students I work with

    Reply
    • Jessi

      Hey Jennifer, that’s so cool you still sing the songs! I wish we could sing and dance around a peppermint tree!

      Reply
  25. Janis

    Best children’s album ever. In my childhood, it offered imagination at its best. Donald McKayle and Evelyn Loehoefer are awesome as the voices behinds the adventures. Gaby, please let your father know he has a fan club that will never be lost.

    Reply
    • Gaby McKayle

      Thank you Janis. I will let my dad know. It has been so wonderful for me personally to stumble across this fan club. Thank you Jessi for starting it and to you, Janis and everyone else for sharing your joy.

      Reply
  26. Geoff Becker

    I just want to thank you for making this album available. I listened to it a lot as a very young child, and the songs–some of them, anyway–are tied up with my very earliest memories. I didn’t know where they were from, though (particularly “My Shoes Went Walking”); this has really cleared up a lot. I’m impressed, now, with the creativity and musicality in these pieces. So glad I found this site!

    Reply
    • Jessi

      I’m so glad you found your fellow Peppermint Tree fans, Geoff! It’s been amazing for me to learn more about the creators of the pieces, too. We were so lucky to experience them as children.

      Reply

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