Listen To This: "Wesley Werewolf" - Skelly and the Punkins

Halloween is just a month away, so it's time to start rolling out kindie's 2011 Halloween tunes. This is a particularly nice cut from a group called "Skelly and the Punkins." The group, OK, it's a one-off track from the folks at Cordovan Music, but don't let that put you off. Your kids will pogo. You can grab the tunes at Amazon's UK site (!?) or on eMusic get the mp3 pretty much anywhere digital tunes are sold. Or just hit YouTube repeatedly. Skelly and the Punkins - "Wesley Werewolf" [YouTube]

Now Hear This: "Kansas City Rag" - Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer (w/ Adam Hurt)

Swam this morning, but didn't feel that excited about it. If only I'd seen this simple back-porch video of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, joined by Adam Hurt on fiddle, playing "Kansas City Rag," before my workout, I'd probably have lasted a few more laps. Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer with Adam Hurt - "Kansas City Rag" [YouTube]

Songs for Moms (Mother's Day 2011)

It's time once again for my kinda-last-minute (but not entirely so) list of songs for mothers or songs about mothers. As with last year's list, this list is in no particular order and I've avoided lullabies (songs by moms, typically), as well as songs about general parentual units, or songs about moms and dads. If a song isn't on the list, it's because of one of the three "O"s: Oversight (I knew about the song and just forgot), Omission (I knew about the song and chose to exclude it), or Obtuseness (I didn't know about the song at all). I expect the third category to be fairly large -- it is every year -- so feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section. List after the jump...

Listen To This: "Crayola Doesn't Make A Color For Your Eyes" - Kristen Andreassen

The kids music genre includes, of course, those songs explicitly written for kids. But it also includes those songs re-appropriated for kids, though perhaps not originally intended for that audience. It was in the latter category that I thought "Crayola Doesn't Make a Color For Your Eyes," from Boston-based artist Kristin Andreassen and her solo album Kiss Me Hello, fell into when I first heard it (or, rather, saw the YouTube video below). It's a love song, ostensibly, but it's about crayons. What a perfect re-appropriated song!, I thought. And then I found out it won the "Children's Song of the Year" in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest back in 2006. Other winners in the category include Joe McDermott, Thaddeus Rex, and Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, so clearly it's not some out-of-left-field award. Andreassen wrote the song when she was teaching dance in grade schools. Oh, well, loss of my preconceived notion is your gain, as you can go to the link above and download the track. Lots of fun. Or you can just be mesmerized by the live rendition of the patty-cake on the album track. If your kids are anything like Miss Mary Mack, they'll be fascinated by the fact they keep that up for nearly 4 minutes.

Song of the Day: "Alphabet of Nations" (A Video Review)

Many months ago, I had a feature I called "Song of the Day," where I'd ramble on about a song I'd heard recently that I was digging a lot. Now I have no time for such things as that, but I'm going to make an all-video exception today for one of my favorite songs off of They Might Be Giants' excellent Here Come the ABCs CD, "Alphabet of Nations." What spurred this is the appearance on YouTube of TMBG's performance of the song on last week's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. I've always loved the second verse they add to their live shows, and along with Linnell's physical stylizing, it makes up for the fact that somebody pointed their camcorder at the TV screen and pushed "record." There are a bunch of other live versions on YouTube, with similarly dubious recording qualities, but rather than link to them all, I'll just send you to the original...

Song of the Day: Baby Kangaroo - Joe McDermott

A quick one... Joe McDermott is an Austin, Texas-based kids' musician. "Baby Kangaroo" is off his third album, entitled Everywhere You Go. It's a catchy little ditty about the joys of owning a baby kangaroo. Near the beginning, McDermott sings... "I think you should get a baby kangaroo It might just be the perfect pet for you They bounce (16x) And they also hop" And so it's this cute and cuddly song for 3-year-olds. But as the song progresses, the narrator quickly shows the weariness of owning a kangaroo over a long period of time... "In about two years it will be fully grown You'll need a bigger yard and you'll need a bigger home Cause when he was little he loved to bounce And now he's bigger and he loves to bounce" The lyrics don't quite do the weariness justice (nor do they include the amusing off-the-cuff remarks). The lyrics also don't do justice to the two other things I like about the song: 1. The fact that it's sung virtually a cappella, and 2. The sole instrument accompanying the voices is what sounds very much like a ping-pong ball. The ping-pong ball is now my favorite part of the song. You can hear a 1-minute clip of the song here. So now, dear reader, you have three choices for what to listen for the traditional 2nd-song-in-the-Song-of-the-Day-post. It's a Choose Your Own Adventure, Zooglobble-style! 1. For another amusing (and even more meta-) a cappella song, try "A Cappella," off Larry Sherwin's Turn Up The Music! (Go to the appropropriate link here.) 2. For accompaniment that includes a ping-pong ball, try They Might Be Giants' "Bed Bed Bed Bed Bed," from No!. (You can hear samples at many places, including CDBaby.) 3. Or, for a more traditional "Song of the Day" reference, go to the Futureheads' website and check out any of their many videos. Nobody combines punk sensibilities and four-part harmony any better. (Go here and click on "Videos." "Hounds of Love" is an awesome, awesome cover.)