Well, the first round is over, and it's time for the second round of KidVid Tournament 2010. The first matchup today is the Ella Jenkins Regional final featuring Debbie and Friends' "Willy Won't" from the forthcoming More Story Songs and Sing-Alongs CD against... "Shoo Fly Pie" from Johnny Bregar's Dragonfly album. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, but the official results are based on the poll at the bottom of the page. One vote per person, please. One vote per person! Votes due by noon tomorrow (Wednesday) East Coast time. And, as always, play nice! Debbie and Friends: Willy Won't [YouTube] Johnny Bregar - "Shoo Fly Pie" [YouTube]
It's the first day of KidVid Tournament 2010 matchups, and it features matchups from the Ella Jenkins Region . In this contest we have the top seed, They Might Be Giants' "Meet The Elements" from their Here Comes Science CD/DVD set matched up against "Shoo Fly Pie" from the Johnny Bregar's Dragonfly album. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, but the official results are based on the poll at the bottom of the page. One vote per person, please. Votes due by midnight tonight (Tuesday) East Coast time. And, as always, play nice! They Might Be Giants - "Meet the Elements" [YouTube] Johnny Bregar - "Shoo Fly Pie" [YouTube]
This video's about as simple as they come -- one camera, one guy, and one shot. But the video's crisp, the sound's good, and the guy is Johnny Bregar, playing "The Monkey and the Engineer" from his fine Stomp Yer Feet! debut (review). Even better, this is the first of a promised series of videos from Bregar. Maybe he'll take some of those other instruments down from the wall behind him next time. Johnny Bregar - "The Monkey and the Engineer" [YouTube]
Well, if you have a mandolin, anyway. Want to learn the mandolin licks on Johnny Bregar's cool jazz-folk rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" found on the new Putumayo Family Christmas album? Bregar is at your service. You have four weeks -- that ought to be sufficient. Unless you need to buy a mandolin.
I think there are about a half-dozen food safety rules violated here, and kids, never get something out of the oven without oven mitts, but, hey, I like the song. Johnny Bregar's "Shoo Fly Pie" is not only on his excellent Dragonfly CD, it's also on the forthcoming Putumayo Picnic Playground compilation. Johnny Bregar - "Shoo Fly Pie"
Let's think about the kids music artists who have released three easy-to-recommend CDs in the past five years. Hmmm.... Dan Zanes, Recess Monkey, Justin Roberts, Ralph's World, and... who? I mean, if you expand that time frame out a bit, you could add They Might Be Giants, Elizabeth Mitchell, maybe Laurie Berkner. But to be that consistent over that amount of time says something -- that's an all-star list of kids musicians right there. So it means something to me when I say that with the release of his third album Dragonfly, I'd add Seattle's Johnny Bregar to that list. On his first album Stomp Yer Feet!, Bregar was basically a slightly funkier and rootsier Raffi (a compliment in my book), giving old toddler standards a new spin. Bregar is still funky and rootsy, but with his second album Hootenanny and now with Dragonfly he's been gradually moving up in age and away from standards and towards originals. He's now given a song about feelings ("What Do You Do?") a funky spin with an infectious horn and piano line (and even a gratuitous They Might Be Giants reference). "Two Thumbs Up" is a rootsy song about, well, feeling good (and opening a roadside art stand). And sometimes, as on "Shoo Fly Pie" or his cover of the boogie-woogie "Ice Cream Man," he still recalls the traditional standards with which he started his kids' music career. If there are perhaps a few less-than-perfect tracks -- I can't say I have much love for the reggae tune "Salt and Pepper" -- they're few and far between. Bregar tends toward the sweet (the midtempo "Dragonfly" and the wonderful and tender ukulele-laced "Blue Canoe") and a little towards the gently instructional ("Fireman With a Rocket Ship" or "Honey Bees"), so there's little "edge," if that's your style. But the musical arrangements and melodies are once more top-notch. Kids are used as leavener to the production, lending a slightly ragged (and appealing) chorus to some of the songs (or, on the album closer, "Una Sardina," the sole voice). The songs here are targeted mostly at kids ages 4 through 9. The album's for sale right now only at Bregar's website, but will be available more broadly starting next week. You can hear samples of the tracks here. Johnny Bregar hasn't made a bad kids' album yet, and Dragonfly is another fine outing, filled with songs whose lyrics will capture kids and melodies will capture parents. (And possibly vice versa.) Bregar might not be as well-known as those other artists who are turning out a high number of quality albums, but he should be. Here's hoping Dragonfly helps things along in that regard. Highly recommended.