Sunday, June 18, 2006

***Baron Von Rumblebuss***

A tasty musical sandwich: a stack of supremely sunny powerpop songs surrounded by a couple of slices of buzzy new wave tunes, seasoned with meaningful lyrics and a dash of silliness ... mmmmm, it must be Ride the Redd Zeppelin!

North Carolina-based, Mississippi native, Tray Batson is a Music Therapist who has worked with children for years. The songs on this CD began as part of Batson's music therapy classes, presented through his New Vibrations Music company, where he specialized in developmental music for little ones, emphasizing movement, self-expression, rhythm patterns, and musical concepts. This all developed into the character of ... tah dah ... Baron Von Rumblebuss! He borrowed a couple of musicians from fellow Carolinian band the Squirrel Nut Zippers to play drums and bass guitar and created a highly entertaining collection of tunes that deal with feelings, playground crushes, dancing, and, of course, robots!

"Come On Aboard" invites the listener to join the Rumblebuss ride in an energetic fashion, while "Fancypants" keeps the toddlers dancing with a James Brown-like workout. Then the rock and roll magic begins...The Kinks-inspired "Feelings" explodes with lots of guitar and splashy cymbals, and the jaunty "I Like to Feel Cool" portrays the joyful swagger of a preschooler. "The Sun is Coming Up" celebrates the wonderfulness of life's smallest details (and check out the awesomely beautiful middle section), "Supergirl" borrows from the early Who to describe a kid's admiration of a playmate, and a slide guitar helps "Bear Bottom" paint pictures of some silly situations. The CD ends with "Rock Robots", the hit that Danny Elfman forgot to write for Oingo Boingo, and "What Goes Up Comes Down", which would feel right at home on Berlin's first album.

Batson's music is very reminiscent of the California-based Chris Von Sneidern and Illinois' Adam Schmitt, both powerpop giants in the mid-90s. The open, non-claustrophobic production on Ride the Redd Zeppelin sounds great, and the songwriting, both lyrically and musically, are far above what you would find on even the above average kids' album. Buy this one for the home, the classroom, the car, and crank it up!


Anonymous said...

My 5 and 7 year olds love this CD! This CD is one that kids can listen to over and over and parents won't mind a bit. "Shake your Fancy Pants" is a hit when we have friends over and would be great in the classroom as well.

My son insists on listening to this CD as he goes to sleep every night. How he stays in bed and doesn't get up to "Shake his Fancy Pants" I'll never know because Baron Von Rumblebuss rocks!

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