Review in Brief: Greasy Kid Stuff 3: Even More Songs From Inside the Radio - Various Artists

GreasyKidStuff3.jpgWhere would kids music be without Belinda Miller and Hova Najarian, the hosts of the Greasy Kid Stuff radio show? Oh, sure, the greater arc of kids music would be unchanged -- Laurie Berkner, Ralph's World, Justin Roberts, Dan Zanes -- those folks would still be popular had Greasy Kid Stuff not aired starting in 1995. Belinda and Hova were never against mainstream "kids music" -- they just didn't have as much interest in it. By not making those artists the focus of their show, what they've done is expand (or re-expand) the notion of what music for kids might mean.

Greasy Kid Stuff 3: Even More Songs From Inside the Radio, just like its predecessor volumes 1 and 2 (review here) successfully mixes the rock with the silly, the (semi-)famous with the obscure, and produces another near-perfect mixtape. Just take the first three songs -- a theme song from fans They Might Be Giants to the incredible (and incredibly wordy) track from the late Logan Whitehurst "Happy Noodle vs. Sad Noodle" to Bubble's slightly off-kilter cover of "Pure Imagination." And so on. I hesitate to recommend specific songs because then you'll just go and download the best ones, and to appreciate what they're doing here you should listen to the whole thing. Really, I never would have thought that a cover (with new lyrics) of Burt Bacharach's theme for The Blob would make a good kids song, and I would've been totally wrong, because Guy Klucevsek's accordion-fueled version is perfect.

Kids ages 4 through 10 (and really, a lot older) will appreciate the songs here. You can listen to samples from the 32-minute album here. If anything has changed in the five years since the last compilation came out it's that a lot more people are making more idiosyncratic kids music. So while you have a repeat appearance from TMBG, you also have Captain Bogg & Salty and Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke making appearances as do John Upchurch and Mark Greenberg, creators of the great John and Mark's Children's Album, albeit in their format guise as members of The Coctails. If Belinda and Hova are playing more "kids music" on their radio show these days, it's in part because kids music has moved in their direction. Greasy Kid Stuff 3 is a small sliver of this vibrant genre with a lot of other fun songs mixed in. Recommended.