Over the course of just a few years, San Francisco-based Enzo Garcia has released nine albums of original and occasionally quirky folk reworkings of traditional and original kids' songs.
The recently re-released Green is a good example of Garcia's work. One of the primary things I find so appealing about the series is the fact that electronic keyboards, which in many artists' hands is the great bane of children's music, are long absent. Instead, on tracks such as "What Do You Do?," Garcia employs a toy piano. I'm not necessarily a huge toy piano fan, but Garcia's fondness for using instruments you don't typically hear (on albums of any kind) means getting to hear familiar songs in unfamiliar ways. And so on "This Old Man," Garcia is joined by Tom Waits' occasional side man (and budding kids' musician in his own right) Ralph Carney on slide clarinet. Garcia and Carney also team up on a rousing "Drunken Sailor," which spares no lyrics in the tale of the punishments for the inebriated crewmate, Garcia's rolling of the "r's" on "rusty razor" echoing Carney's tenor sax.
There's no track on here that's quite as engrossing as "Hold My Hand" on his Pink CD, but the round on the traditional "My Paddle's Keen and Bright" comes close. (I also liked Garcia's "Dee Dee.") Even more than Pink, Green will be most enjoyed if you participate along with the music. The disks were created to accompany Garcia's weekly music classes, and so if you move around (or accompany with shakers and tambourines) the music here, you'll get the most out of the album.
The songs here are most appropriate for kids ages 1 through 6. You can hear samples at the album's CD Baby page.
Enzo Garcia is right in the middle of the great folk music tradition that encourages music-makers to take traditional tunes and make them their own. On Green, Garcia continues to help families hear old tunes in new ways (and maybe even start to make them their own). It's as good as any Garcia album to introduce you to his music. Recommended.