Warner's friend convinced an initially skeptical Williams to sell him a batch of unopened albums, and from there the recordings traveled around the world.

In April 2009, the blog swanfungus.com provided a download link to a digitized copy of Dandelions. "I listened to it yesterday for the first time and can't really think of a good musical comparison, but the songs are actually really cool, and the recording doesn't smack of kitsch in any way," wrote the Webmaster. This is the link that rock critic Everett True posted to his faithful readers and promoted on Twitter.

It's been a long, strange trip: from a west-county garage sale to a collector in California, to a musician in England to an English writer currently living in Australia and now back to St. Louis. It took a complex tangle of technology — a medium that some believe is destroying the music industry — to bring these low-key, isolated acoustic recordings to an audience that no one, least of all ten-year-olds Tres and Kitsy, could have imagined existed.

Even so, the pair is making plans. In between writing a book about her father, Williams is fielding offers and talking to record labels about reissues. There have been a few offers, and they're considering how to best preserve the innocence and legacy of the original project. She and Sheahan have even discussed a "reunion" concert — maybe a potluck dinner for their family and friends, maybe even at the College School itself.

There's one bittersweet part of the story: Jim Curran, the man who taught them guitar and inspired the whole project, is nowhere to be found. They're still looking for Curran, and both were adamant that he be mentioned in this story.

"We cannot find him, and we want him to be part of this resurgence," stresses Williams. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't even be writing music. He was our protective bubble through the entire process."

But Williams and Sheahan would be crazy not to keep hope alive. If the story of Children of Sunshine teaches us anything, it's that we're all interconnected in complex and seemingly random ways. The concept of "six degrees of separation" is now as outdated as eight-track tapes. If a Webster Groves duo's fifth-grade school project can reach across the decades to find an audience, perhaps their teacher is closer than they think. 

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9 comments
Ted Rubright
Ted Rubright

When I saw this in my RFT RSS feed my eyes flew open wide! Thanks for bringing this story back from the distant past. I was a College School student at the time and remember Therese and Kitsy well. I also remember Jim Curran. He helped me and a couple of other guys (Jesse Cox and Steve Martin) form a band, though I don't think we had a name. It was one of my earliest organized musical experiences and it had a profound effect on me. In fact, I've been at it ever since.

stlouisdan
stlouisdan

Just read the article today and just read the "reunion" comments. Just fabulous and I am getting tingles all over. Enjoy the new ride folks !

Jim Curran
Jim Curran

Hi Joe, great article, you are a good writer. You captured the enthusiasm and originality of the album and of the girls. I know because I was there. The dandelion field is the front lawn of Webster Hall at Webster University. I still have the out-take photos. I also have photos of Tres and Kitsy at their first school concert prepping to go "public". Those were fun times. I am not lost. I live in Chesterfield and I will contact Kitsy tomorrow. Jim Curran

Joe Williams
Joe Williams

You did a great job (and a great service), Mike. I've been wanting to write the same story myself, and I might have done it if I hadn't transitioned from a rock critic to a movie critic. I found a copy of Dandelions at a thrift store on Cherokee St in 1984, when I was the editor of the local fanzine Jet Lag. I've been telling people about it for more than a quarter century. After I moved to L.A. in the late '80s to work for the music magazine Cashbox, I played and copied the album for members of R.E.M. and the Posies, so I know the word started spreading through the American indie-rock community a decade before the estimable Chuck Warner accelerated it. Now I'm back in St. Louis and writing movie reviews for the Post-Dispatch, but I still treasure the album, and I hope to give a glowing review to the inevitable movie about the Dandelions.

https://picasaweb.google.com/l...

Mike Appelstein
Mike Appelstein

So great to see you here, Jim! Glad you liked the piece!

Therese Williams
Therese Williams

Jim! Hello hello hello!Greetings from Santa Fe!Looking forward to connecting soon.Therese

Mike Appelstein
Mike Appelstein

Thanks Joe! I'm a real lover of private pressings and count the Shaggs, Jandek, Langley Schools Music Project, and weird little pop and punk singles among my favorites. Yet I never even *heard* of the Dandelions album until a few months ago, when Everett True plugged them on Twitter (and he was linking to a website that posted it two years ago). It seems to have been making the rounds at its own slow pace. The moment I heard it, I knew I'd be writing something about it. When I saw that one of the songs was called "The College School," a bell went on in my head - could this be local?? Indeed it was. I'm happy to have continued the discovery process in some way.

Jill George
Jill George

Tres? Jim? It's Jill Fischer. Just found this article and wanted to say hello!

 
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