Three Circus Songs for Kids: Mates of State / Kitty Wolf / Ralph's World

Why not? Here are a couple of circus-related songs for kids. Neither of them are "Miss Mary Mack," nor do they feature elephants jumping over the fence, but your kids may enjoy 'em. In any case, watching them is free, unlike your local Cirque du Soleil show. The first video comes from Mates of State with another song from TV show Yo Gabba Gabba!. It's called "Circus Town," and while the embedded video is merely an extended excerpt, it's fun enough to include here. Mates of State - "Circus Town" (excerpt from Yo Gabba Gabba! [YouTube]

Kidzapalooza 2011 Lineup Announced

Kidzapalooza.jpg With Lollapalooza celebrating its 20th anniversary in Chicago this year (August 5-7 in Grant Park), Kidzapalooza celebrated in a very special way: By releasing its performer lineup before the Austin City Limits/Austin Kiddie Limits announcement for a festival that's usually about 2 months after Lolla. Some of the lineup had been previously leaked, but the big five are: Keller Williams Haley Bonar Ralph's World Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could Big Bang Boom In addition to these bands, the lineup also includes the Q Brothers (there every year performing and doing rap/beatbox workshops with the kids), Peter DiStefano and Tor (there every year), and Northbrook Garage, Kate Diaz, and the Happiness Club, all youth performers. (And here's something to think -- it's a nice feather in a cap for an established musician to be able to say they played Lolla, but can you imagine what it's like for a Chicago-area teenager?) That's a solid lineup right there once again. Anyway, if you want to see the lineup announced by Kidzapalooza co-founder Tor Hyams' kids, here's a YouTube video for ya. Tor's son looks so much like Tor it's scary. Except for the glasses.

The Ketchup Report, Vol. 8

Time once again for all the news that didn't fit into a separate post due to time, interest, contractual, or legal obligations -- it's your favorite pun-titled file folder of a blog post, the Ketchup Report! Yaaay! (Cue Kermit the Frog wild arm-flailing here...) WorldOfHappiness.jpgThe World of Happiness single, the "We Are the World" of the kids' biz, "A World of Happiness," is here. Except your kids might actually want to listen to this new song when they become parents themselves. Sales of the single, produced by Tor Hyams and Joanie Leeds, benefit Autism Speaks. The single includes a whole host of folks besides Leeds and Hyams -- Molly Ledford (who gets the honor of leading off the track), Frances England, Ralph Covert... it just goes on and on. A bunch of the participants will be recording a concert later this month for broadcast on Sirius/XM Radio later on. Anyway, it's $1.29 well-spent right here. I could probably start a whole separate post listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. Heck, it's almost getting to the point where I could start a blog listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. I've been partial to Kickstarter, of course. The two most recent projects have been a Professor Banjo and his successful second-album project and Ryan SanAngelo and his not-one-but-two-Kickstarter-projects. But other sites do the same basic thing. Van Oodles didn't quite succeed in making a video for a song of his, but LA indie-rockers Ellen and Matt and Chicago's Laura Doherty are both looking for funds for their next disks. Should you feel so inclined, help out Ellen and Matt here and Laura for her new album Shining Like a Star in the widget there to the side. -- For a limited time, Doctor Noize's "Bananas" iWhatever app is free. Download the ever-so-slightly-educational app here. (Note: may no longer be free.) -- Finally, with Earth Day coming up, a it's time for Earth Day-related tunes. Dan Zanes has a new, original tune, "Hail the Creatures" written by Zanes for a new exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo. You don't need to be near Philly to enjoy the track, just near an iTunes-enabled gadget that can download this, with proceeds benefiting the Zoo. (More details on the tune and the Zoo's new exhibit here.)... Bill Harley is offering a free download of "Keep It Green" from his 1996 album Big Big World -- you can get it here... And finally, DARIA is offering a mini-CD of 6 "earth friendly" songs, free just for the price of an e-mail address (and an earth-friendly suggestion).

Video: "Wiggle Your La-De-Dah" - Ralph's World

The latest Ralph's World isn't terribly complicated or all that different from a lot of his other videos -- Ralph goofs, smiles, and sings while young kids goof, smile, and sing. And for those of us who prefer Ralph's songs geared at a slightly older audience, this song, a return to his early Ralph's World (and even perhaps his Wiggleworms) days, isn't our favorite off of All Around Ralph's World. But as a movement song for preschoolers, it's pretty great, and the country-tinged song features some nifty guitar work... Ralph's World - "Wiggle Your La-De-Dah" [YouTube]

Video: "My Magic Trick" - Ralph's World

I think it's a sign of the rapid maturation of the kids music video genre that this video for "My Magic Trick" from the Ralph's World album All Around Ralph's World is nothing special. Don't get me wrong -- I like it and think it captures Ralph and the song very well. But it would've stood out production-wise a couple years ago and it doesn't now. (Am I the only one who kept expecting a big giant foot to squash Ralph at the end?) Ralph's World - "My Magic Trick" [YouTube]

Review: "All Around Ralph's World" - Ralph's World

AllAroundRalphsWorld.jpgRalph's World has done a lot of traveling, going from small label (Mini Fresh, an offshoot of Chicago's Minty Fresh) to big label (Disney) back to small label (Bar/None, who failed to come up with a cutesy kid-division name for Ralph). So perhaps it's not so surprising that his new album All Around Ralph's World takes the word "world" from Ralph Covert's band name seriously, producing a loosely travel-themed album. But "loosely" is the key adverb, because it's not a concept album. It's just an album that has a number of songs that happen to be about travel. I prefer to think of the album as another collection of solid pop-rock songs for the big wheel set (see "Easy Ryders," which also works in a gratuitous Beatles reference) from an artist who's already turned out such songs by the suitcase. There aren't many clunkers (such as "All Around the World," where Covert sings about learning stories from around the world rather than singing those stories), but they're more than outweighed by the nuggets, such as the poppy "All About Bob," the funny "Black Hole Boy" (who loses everything, including, eventually, words to his song), and the sweet "Blue Airplane." And although the album drags a bit around the 2/3rds-point, the last four tracks, starting with "The Funniest Joke in the World" on through the album closer "I'm Not Tired," are excellent. The album's most appropriate for kids ages 3 through 8. You can listen to the album at Ralph's website (just click on the "Playlist" in the upper right-hand corner). I found Covert's last album, The Rhyming Circus, a little underwhelming compared to his previous body of work -- not bad by any means, but not memorable either. All Around Ralph's World is a return to form for one of the best songwriters in the kids music genre. As you're picking out music for your family's summer road trip (or even planning it), All Around Ralph's World would be a fine addition to the playlist. Definitely recommended. I was provided a copy of the disk for possible review.