Saturday, February 23, 2008

***Daddy A Go Go***

Amps to eleven, Fenders to the fore ... Daddy A Go Go is back in town! Everybody's favorite guitar dude returns with his sixth album for kids, Rock of All Ages, a CD full of puns, parental pop music winks, and headbanging riffs. There are allusions to "Roll Over Beethoven", "Be-Bop-A-Lula", "She Caught the Katy", Dark Side of the Moon, and American Bandstand ... and that's just in the first song! (Hey, the album title is a Badfinger tune!) From the rave-up "School Bus Driver" to the anthemic travelogue "Idaho!" to the absolutely ridiculous "Root Beer", John Boydston lets the jokes fly and the rock and roll thunder.

A lot's happened since the release of 2006's Eat Every Bean and Pea on Your Plate: Boydston and his two sons played gigs as the Daddy A Go Go Band at both the Austin Kiddie Limits Music Festival and the SXSW Music Festival, and guitar slinger Rick Derringer recorded one of Boydston's songs for his latest album Rockin' American. Not bad for a dad from Atlanta, huh?

"Rock of Ages" kicks off the album with a buzzing six-string and a karate kick, followed by two singalongs, "Nana-Nana Boo-Boo" and "School Bus Driver", that are perfectly crafted for live show audience participation. And if KISS made kids' music, I think it would sound kinda like "Idaho!", featuring drum/cowbell breakdown.

Then comes a pummeling version of "What a Wonderful World", via Joey Ramone; and the deliciously corny campfire tune "The Root Beer Song", in which Boydston stops the kids' accompaniment due to their overzealous emphasis on the wrong word in the chorus, and making him think twice about teaching the kids songs about Helsinki and Amsterdam.

Next up is "John Barleycorn Must Dye", Boydston's slap-back rockabilly nod to Traffic, which presents the tale of a kid who's a little too enthusiastic with his tie dyeing; then a rockin' cover of the Royal Guardsmen's "Snoopy vs The Red Baron"; and "Get Yer Yo-Yo's Out", Boydston's shout out to the Stones' 1970 live album (arguably their best official concert recording).

Boydston rounds off the album with "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees", a song that questions Grandad's words of wisdom, and bears a more than passing resemblance to the Stones' "Dead Flowers"; "I Lost My Teddy Bear", a tune about letting go of childhood toys; and a solid cover of Chuck Berry's "Around and Around", featuring Max and Jake Boydston (13 and 16 respectively) on guitar and bass, and their buddy Jonathan Paz on drums.

Remember, kids' music shouldn't be the beginning or end of your child's exploration of the world of music. If they dig guitars, make 'em an mp3 compilation of tunes by, say, Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones, Boston, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Ramones, see what sticks. Throw in some Daddy A Go Go, and if they're tickled by the goofy asides and silly lyrics, turn them on to Dr. Demento, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Weird Al, or They Might Be Giants.

Most importantly: Take your kids to see a live show! Daddy A Go Go has played some impressive festivals and venues lately, so check his schedule to see if he's coming to a town near you. Next stop: Cobo Hall!