Ginger Hendrix is a very funny
fellow woman, right!
Like Bill Cosby, there are a number of male kids' music artists with a broad sense of humor -- Trout Fishing in America, Robbie Schaefer, Daddy-A-Go-Go, the list goes on. The number of female kids' music artists whose broad sense of humor is apparent in their songs is much smaller. In fact, Laurie Berkner might be the only name that comes to mind, and one name isn't really a list. But with her debut, Macaroni Boy Eats at Chez Shooby Doo (2006), Ginger Hendrix is here to make it a list.
Not that you'll really be thinking about the sociological effects of the CD. You (and your kids) will be smiling. Songs about stinky things (the bluesy "Stinky Trash"), the alphabet ("L is for Llama"), or ponies (the mellow "Riding My Pony") will keep your 4-year-olds interested. Songs about made-up words such as "schnoikee-day footka" ("Funny Word Dictionary") will amuse slightly older kids. And the title track is a mostly spoken-word track that will amuse the parents greatly.
Hendrix, who lives on California's central coast, is not goofy all the time. One of the best tracks on the disk is a sprightly tune called "How the Days Go By," on which Hendrix is an acute observer of how many days pass by for preschool-aged families ("Sometimes we go shopping in the afternoon / take a nice big loop around Target / chew some gum, drink a lemonade / maybe go home with all new socks.") The songs themselves are almost entirely Hendrix accompanying herself on guitar, playing folk-pop melodies. (The mellower tunes have a bit of a Jack Johnson vibe to them.) Over an entire album, the relative sameness of the musical structures would get old fast were it not for the great lyrical wordplay and the sheer enthusiasm of Hendrix. (The enthusiasm is best heard on the final four tracks, recorded live at Hendrix's preschool. I've never attended "Teacher Mary School," but I love the song Hendrix created for it.)
The album will be most enjoyed by kids ages 3 through 7 and those whose sense of humor have not been surgically removed or otherwise altered. You can hear sound clips at this page, and I'd recommend just tooling around Hendrix's website, which is even more appealingly goofy than the album itself.
Macaroni Boy Eats at Chez Shooby Doo is a fun album, good for relaxing around the house in between trips to Target or picking up the older sibling at the bus stop. Ginger Hendrix strikes just the right balance of insight and immaturity (in the best sense) here. Recommended.