Once again, somebody asked when the next entry in this series would be posted just as I planning the post. My readers are nothing if not persistent and possibly endowed with mind-reading abilities. Just another side benefit of reading this website. With this entry, your opportunity to enter my contest to guess the Top 5 is rapidly disappearing. All entries are due before I post songs 16 through 20, which I expect to do this upcoming week. Winner gets a free CD. You might want to look at the previous entries... Songs 26 through 30 Songs 31 through 35 Songs 36 through 40 Songs 41 through 45 Songs 46 through 50 25. "Teddy Bears' Picnic" - John Walter Bratton (music) / Jimmy Kennedy (lyrics): Amazing what you learn in putting these lists together. Did you know the music for this song was written exactly 100 years ago? And then when words were added 25 years later, the resulting recording sold more than one million copies? (Thanks, Wikipedia!) The lyrics are probably what amuses the kiddos, but I love the way the melody bounces up and around. Recorded by many (Trout Fishing in America and Garcia/Grisman, among others), but why not listen to the original million-seller here? 24. "We Are the Dinosaurs" - Laurie Berkner: Long after Jack's Big Music Show has ended production, long after CDs have stopped production for some method of music distribution we can't even fathom, little kids will be singing this song. The earworm-y beginning -- "we are the dinosaurs, marching, marching, we are the dinosaurs..." followed by the "WHADDAYA THINK OF THAT?!!" and the timpani drum is, well, the opening strains of Beethoven's Fifth of the late 20th century kids' music resurgence. (Watch Laurie's Noggin video here.) 23. "This Little Light" - Traditional: It's a Christian hymn, but it's been used in the civil rights struggle of the 1960's and in countless other secular situations. Can I hide this song under a bushel? No! (You can listen to one of my personal favorite renditions -- the very first song on Elizabeth Mitchell's very first kids' album You Are My Flower -- on Mitchell's website. Click on "flower," then "listen".) 22. "Row Row Row Your Boat - Traditional (lyrics), Eliphalet Orem Lyte (music): While I'm not quite sure I agree with Wikipedia's existential explication of the lyrics, it's definitely not the most mind-easing set of lyrics if the parent is really paying attention to the lyric. Luckily, the words are so ingrained in our brain we don't need to pay attention to it in order to sing it. (And, as a result, there is absolutely no need to give you a sound clip. It's already stuck in your brain now anyway.) 21. "Baby Beluga" - Raffi and Debi Pike: This is the biggest hit from the biggest children's musician of all time. Shouldn't this be, like, #2? I feel bad putting it at #21 instead of somewhat higher, but I don't think it's the easiest song for kids to sing by themselves. But there are a bunch of kids who are singing it with their parents (who sang it with their parents). (Listen to the song at Raffi's Myspace page.)
A request from a reader who is disdainful of capitalization (but that's ok, i am too sometimes): i am hoping you can help me put a name to a musician i remember from my childhood... here are all the details i can remember: > early 70s > it was on a cassette tape (possibly from sears) > the cassette had a face on it, with the reel holes being eyes > folk songs interspersed with short narration about the songs > the only songs i can remember for sure: someone's in the kitchen, jimmy crack corn, something about flies (shoo fly ple?) > mostly (if not all) guitar and maybe banjo A brief Google search on my part turned up nothing -- I think this is going to have to rely on a reader with a long memory. Any suggestions? Leave 'em in the comments.
Our second semi-final for KidVid Tournament 2007 is the underdog side of the bracket -- two artists that knocked off #1 seeds. We've got a #2 seed, "Tricycle" from Frances England, going against "I Hope My Mama Says YES!" - AudraRox, the #3 seed. These are both cute videos, but for completely different reasons. Another tough call. Vote in the comments below. Rules: Video with most votes wins. One vote per e-mail address, please. Votes due by Friday 11 PM-ish East Coast time. [Note: As I've said before, sorry about just showing links instead of embedding the videos. I'm trying to keep the playing field relatively level here -- if I can't show both videos here (i.e., they're not both on YouTube and clearly placed there at the artists' request) I'm only going to show the links for both of 'em.] "Tricycle" - Frances England To view this video, click on the YouTubed version here. "I Hope My Mama Says YES!" - AudraRox To view this video, head to Jack's Big Music Show player. Roll over the picture of a red-hair-streaked Audra on the right, kid on the left.
Regular readers will know that the occasionally history-obsessed Deedle Deedle Dees recently released their excellent second album, Freedom in a Box (review). When I talked with Lloyd Miller (Ulysses Dee) recently, he mentioned how a lot of the new kids music is still out of reach for a lot of kids -- meaning (and these are my words here) that it costs money to see the artists in concert or buy their CDs, of course, and that's not doable (on a regular basis at least) for many families. As a result, they don't get exposed to as much (or any) music that's particularly age-appropriate. It was something I've thought about as well, but Miller really crystalized my thinking. So while we've let readers win a lot of stuff here (and don't worry, your chance will come again very shortly), for this contest, we want to give the Dees' latest album away to a school or library -- some place that will let a lot of kids be exposed to some pretty cool music. Here's the skinny: in the comments below, describe what North American historical event or personage you'd like to see the Deedle Deedle Dees write a song about. I will pick one entry at random, and then ask that person to designate a public school, charter school, or library system to which they'd like to donate a copy of the CD and the accompanying book. (If you'd like to mention your designee in your entry that's fine, but not required.) All entries are due by 11 PM-ish (East Coast time) Thursday, April 5. Thanks and good luck! Your local kids are counting on you to enter!
I'm an "authority" now. So says a YAKMA in tomorrow's Philadelphia Inquirer. Actually, my quotations look rather dull compared to Mr. Livewire himself, David Weinstone: "If I'm driving to Cape Cod with three kids in the back and have to listen to children's music, will it make me purposely crash the car into a tree? Or will we get there?" Zooglobble: Preventing car crashes and lowering your insurance rates since 2004.
OK, I actually spent last weekend with my wife and away from the kids, which was very relaxing. And fun. Amazing how long of a conversation you can have. But it's also clear that last weekend's Spare the Rock / AudraRox hootenanny and the Park Slope Parents concert in Brooklyn was a blast. So to stave off any thoughts of jealousy I'm only going to provide the links here once. Yeah, I know Gwyneth beat me to this, but I blame that on laziness on my part, not lack of creativity. Besides, for some reason I can't explain, some of you still aren't reading her site. You people. (Besides, I've got some new stuff here, too.) -- The artist list for Saturday night, along with a picture from Bill. (Edit: More thoughts and pictures here. Warning: Takes for-freakin' ever to load.) -- Amy's inital thoughts here, with pictures from both concerts here. -- Gwyneth's thoughts and photos. -- Yosi's thoughts and a few photos. -- Warren weighed in. -- Hilltown Familes made the trek -- here are their photos (those may be gone -- try here instead). Also, Hilltown Families also put together a sweet collage. -- Photos of Saturday's hootenanny here, from Susan Fox, who clearly left early because, you know, she was putting on Sunday's concert. -- A video of Audra and Jen from AudraRox doing "D is for Drums" with Marty Beller [warning: very large file] -- Speaking of Sunday's concert, see a long slideshow with a fun though unrelated rendition of "Enjoy Yourself" here. Note: Adam from Astrograss just let me know they played "Enjoy Yourself" as a group finale. -- Here is another slideshow with (studio) versions of songs from the compilation. Now to check in on the other hootenanny/fests in the works...