Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday Free-for-All # 5

Our fifth edition of newish kids' music:

Various Artists, Eat Your Vegetables, Please!

As with most compilations, there are stylistically a few hits and misses here. But overall, Peter Farber and his crew over at Wide-Eye Kids have assembled a solid collection of songs about healthy eating, from Dog on Fleas' "Ugly Fruit" (by far the best song on the album) to the Zucchini Brothers' Phish-like "You Are What You Eat", from the Memphis funk of Bill Shontz' "Eat It Up" to Jay Mankita's rockabilly tune "Strong Bones". Perfect, actually, for the Elementary School classroom or Media Center.

Brady Rymer, Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could

Even though "rock and roll" is mentioned several times during the CD, this is first-rate Contemporary Country! I mean, some of these songs could be sitting on the Billboard Country Charts, especially "Road Trip" and "One True You". This Jersey boy knows how to write a great tune, and his band delivers a crack performance, as well. A true "Family" album, as all of the songs are about relationships and experiences with parents, siblings, and friends, even the Guthrie and Seeger covers. Top notch!

Randy Kaplan, Loquat Roof

Another masterpiece from the East Coast's version of Mr. David ... Randy Kaplan is the current king of the storysong, and his magic is best witnessed live. If you can't make it to Brooklyn, though, check out "Clothes Dryer", "No Nothing", "The Ladybug Without Spots", or the title track for examples of Kaplan's laid-back, semi-acoustic musical storytelling, the closest thing to Arlo Guthrie yer kids will ever hear. Awesome covers of Leadbelly, the Coasters, Hank Williams, and a song from Annie round things out. Great example of grownup music for kids, kids' music for grownups.