I've probably received more CDs from Rockabye Baby than from any label. Every two or three months, a new disk shows up, tinkling away melodies familiar and less-so, depending on the particular artist subject to the Rockabye lullaby treatment. Next up for the Rockabye treatment is Journey -- their album comes out next week. The last track, of course, is "Don't Stop Believin'," and having heard the disk, no, they don't end the track mid-song. (If you want to listen to the track, you can go here.) I don't talk much about Rockabye Baby here because I feel conflicted about the series -- I do think that a fair amount of musical talent goes into producing them, but have always felt that the series puts the parents at the center of this to the near exclusion of the kids themselves. Meaning, what conceivable reason would a newborn have for listening to Journey? Well, none -- the disk is entirely for the parents. Which isn't to say that the music on the disk isn't good, or that there isn't value in having parents enjoy listening to a disk because they recognize the song (and thereby communicating enjoyment of music to their kids). But those are tangential. Really, what's the difference between this and having your kids listen to this and, say, Lullaby Renditions of Color Me Badd? The difference is perceived coolness and actual popularity among people who, you know, are old enough to be parents. Your newborns won't care one bit. But, man, the series shows no sign of slowing down, and why should it? People like me who have this uneasy feeling the series is more for people who want to get a laugh from a baby shower gift will be outnumbered by folks who have very strong feelings for the Rockabye-d artists and probably will be until we're grandparents ourselves. So I'm going to pass along this interview I received via Rockabye's publicist. It's with Lisa Roth, Vice President of CMH Records (Rockabye's label parent), and even with the softball nature of some of the questions and the essentially self-congratulatory nature of the interview as a whole, I think it does say some interesting things about the series and what they go through in producing a particular record.
If you stopped by after (or while) reading this week's Austin Chronicle story on the Rockabye Baby! series, welcome. While I don't have a review of a CD from the series (though I've got about a dozen sitting around here awaiting a review of some sort), there's lots of other kids music info here. Dan Zanes, the Jellydots, Asylum Street Spankers -- they're all here, just search up there at the right or follow the links on the left. If you live in Austin (and if you read the Chronicle, you probably do, natch) and you're not currently debating whether to see the White Stripes or the Arcade Fire on Saturday, September 15th at the Austin City Limits Festival, there will be a great kids and family music show at Ruta Maya starting at 6 PM with Laura Freeman, the Telephone Company, Joe McDermott and, all the way from Brooklyn, the Deedle Deedle Dees. Tickets are just $5, infants are free. The show is sponsored by myself and Bill Childs, who hosts a kids and family radio show at Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. It'll be a great time. And in the "small world" portion of the post, I, like Valerie Aiello, who came up with the idea for the Rockabye Baby! series, also attended Westwood High. But, uh, before her time.