It's Earth Day, a holiday for which kids music represents well, kids being interested in the future of the planet and all. Here's a list of songs for Earth Day 2011, free for the cost of a few electrons: David Tobocman has a funky, futuristic take on the garbageman of the future on his song, "I'm Gonna Be a Garbage Man." I'm Gonna Be a Garbage Man by tobocman Meanwhile, Charity Kahn and the JAMband take an... er... earthier approach on their Songs for Earth Day 2011 EP, featuring "I'm A Little Bunny," "Rattlin' Bog" (my favorite, but I love the song generally), and the mellow "Wise Old Owl." There's always the Baze and his Silly Friends track "A Little Green." It features Stacia Newcomb, who plays “Star” on PBS Kids Sprout's The Good Night Show as guest vocalist and lots of "na na na"s on the singalong chorus. Download it for free here. Finally, as we noted last week, Dan Zanes, Bill Harley, and Daria have Earth Day-related songs for your listening pleasure (DZ's will cost you, though it's for charity; the others are free).
It's summer (officially) and watermelons are in the grocery store, so the 4th of July isn't too far away. David Tobocman is celebrating by giving away an mp3 of a new song, "America's Our Country," which is a little bit (new) country a little bit rock and roll. It's got flags, apple pie, and baseball. Not sure I saw mom, but it covers the bases pretty much. Tobocman's second album for families, Lemonade School will be out in August. Shoot Tobocman an e-mail at "veryhelpful AT earthlink.net" (you can figure out how to turn that into a real e-mail address) to get a copy of the mp3. Or just listen below. David Tobocman - "America's Our Country" [YouTube]
In the midst of Hanukkah, and only a week or so before the solstice, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, it's prime time for holiday music. No sooner do I post about a free track than the folks at Jitterbug's let me know about their holiday playlist. It's a good one and even better, it's a free one, available for downloading or streaming. Music from The Hipwaders, Brady Rymer, Didi Pop, Gustafer Yellowgold, Princess Katie & Racer Steve, Rock Daddy Rock, and David Tobocman. Good stuff (I've already talked about a few songs on the list), downloadable here and in a few cases, nowhere else.
I have a long day ahead of me, so I'm just going to repeat this mantra from one of my favorite David Tobocman tracks all day long. David Tobocman - "I Count To Ten" (Live at McCabe's) [YouTube] You'll have to wait a little while longer for album #2 from Tobocman, but Jewish faithful might be interested in his latest song, the fun "Hanukkah All Over the World," which you can listen to here. It's a catchy tune, but I think I'll stick to counting to ten today...
I guess that since technically speaking we could still call the whole H1N1 flu virus thing a near-pandemic, I'm not actually late with this. And, hey, washing your hands never goes out of style. So, yeah, head on over to David Tobocman's site to pick up the jaunty "Brush Your Teeth" as a
free download. Yeah, yeah, I know -- the flu doesn't appear to have spread due to a lack of proper dental hygeine, but the song does have a few hand-washing references. And besides, it's a cute, free song.
Of course, having started down this public health path, there is the painfully obvious (if very, very cool) video selection...
It's been nearly 7 months since I first watched (and wrote about) David Tobocman's fabulous video for his song "Home." (If you haven't watched it, stop reading this, click on the link, and see you back here in about 3 minutes. Really. Go now.) Clearly I liked the video, so you might be wondering, why in the world haven't I review the rest of Tobocman's debut, I Count To Ten and other Very Helpful Songs? And the answer is... well, I have no good reason. I can't blame this on the dog eating the CD or a snowstorm -- sometimes good CDs just don't get reviewed on the site in a timely manner. In any case, many CDs attempt to impart lessons to kids -- I know, I've heard a lot of them -- but very few do so in a totally appealing musical manner. This CD easily makes that small but distinguished list. I think there are a couple reasons for it. The first is that the songs are, for the most part, solid. The jazzy title track and "Brush Your Teeth," the pop of "My Rainbow," the country, banjo-inflected "Buttons and Bows" -- they're great melodies back up by well-crafted instrumentation. And more than half a year after I first heard it, I'm still moved by "Home," easily one of the top kids music tracks of the year. The second reason for the album's appeal I think is that instead of conveying its lessons as a direct "you should do X" or "everybody feel Y," the lyrics are sometimes sung from a first-person perspective, telling the listener how the singer reacts. So the singer counts to ten and doesn't feel so angry ("I Count to Ten"), or the singer keeps his pajamas on through the night ("Jammies Song," based on a real-life problem Tobocman encountered with his daughter). It's not always the case, but there's very little sense of "should" here, and that makes the lessons easier for everyone to take. The songs are most appropriate for kids ages 2 through 7. You can hear lengthy clips from the 33-minute album here and here. David Tobocman's I Count to Ten and other Very Helpful Songs is a solid little album. I can't guarantee your kids won't blow their top as much or brush their teeth more willingly with repeated listens, but I'm pretty sure you or your kids won't blow your tops if you listen to this a lot. Recommended.