I am a HUGE fan of kid's music– especially since these days kids musicians are no longer churning out saccharine sweet lyrics that make parents want to cringe! Rather this new crop of parent-friendly kiddie musicians are creating melodious tunes that entire families will WANT to rock out to. Here are just some of the musicians that I think are at the top of their game! And these CD's will come in handy when you've got a room kids with energy to burn.
With these kids albums you and your kiddies can move and groove -right in the comfort of your own living room- so pop em-in and start rocking out!
#1 Baby Loves Jazz Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2 – Produced by legendary Philadelphia DJ King Britt, is the first release from a new Baby Loves Music label created by Andy Blackman Hurwitz, co-founder of Baby Loves Disco and owner of Ropeadope Records. Check out Baby Loves Jazz online for more information about this and future releases.
#2 Big Round World The irrepressible energy and optimism of Trout Fishing in America www.troutmusic.com moves further upstream this fall with this all-new collection of 14 original songs, several derived from songwriting workshops with children. Trout Fishing in America is Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood, a three-time Grammy award nominated folk-pop comedy duo who regularly bring their live music to audiences of all ages.
#3 Baby Loves Salsa: Salsa para los gatitos y perritos (Salsa for Kittens and Puppies)
This colorful book/CD set featuring real salsa music by amazing artists under the direction of band leader and singer Jose Conde and produced by Grammy Award winning producer Aaron Levinson of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. www.babylovesmusic.com
#4 Putumayo Kids has two great releases, each of which introduce kids to a world of musical treats: Brazilian Playground— Samba, bossa nova and forro are among Brazil's most popular and accessible musical styles for adults and children alike. This CD features these and other engaging rhythms which reflect the country's diverse culture and easy going way of life. In celebration of the exuberant sounds of this fascinating country, Putumayo Kids has collected 13 child-friendly songs from many of Brazil's most talented musicians. Celtic Dreamland – From Putumayo Kids' acclaimed Dreamland collection, these songs will sooth even the most wintry nights. While it's power to lull listeners to a restful state is its best feature, it also provides a great introduction to music from Ireland, Scotland and Canada, with many pieces sung in Gaelic.
#5 “Soulville” This hip tribute to the best soul music from the 1960s and '70s, is the latest from indie kids' music label Little Monster Records- www.littlemonsterrecords.com . This colorfully packaged CD/book offers a groovy array of hits originally recorded by the genre's giants: Bill Withers' “Lean on Me,” Marvin Gaye's “How Sweet It Is (to be Loved by You),” Martha and the Vandellas' “Dancin' in the Street” and Sly Stone's “Everybody Is a Star,” just to name a few. Featured current soul and R&B artists RedRay Frazier, Tabitha Fair and Chocolate Genius perform new arrangements backed up by a kids' chorus, making this one of the most sing-along friendly recordings in a long time.
#6 Buck Howdy, one of family music's most acclaimed recording artists, partners with his sidekick BB to release a new collection of tunes that will have the whole family bopping along to jazzy big band sounds. Chickens, offering up a barnyard full of original and favorite Western swing-style family tunes. BB is the rootin' tootin' -est cowgirl around, and she has lent her bright harmonies to live Buck Howdy concerts for years. Now, BB makes the 15 songs on Chickens fly, sharing lead vocals with Buck on several tunes. Buck even tries out the trombone for some tunes!
#7 “Yes to Running! Bill Harley Live” – www.billharley.com/newrelease.htm Through his expert mix of song and story, Grammy Award winning songster and storyteller Bill Harley offers up two new live concert releases showcasing his irreverent and true approach to daily life. Recorded before an all-ages audience and originally produced for Montana Public Television, Yes to Running! gives viewers the next best thing to a live Bill Harley concert.
#8 The Secret Mountain offers up a lullaby collection, a whimsical mix called Down by the Sea Hotel. Various Red House Records artists perform the bedtime title-song originally penned by Greg Brown. Performers on the other 13 tunes include Guy Davis, Lucy Kaplansky, John Gorka, Eliza Gilkyson, The Wailin' Jennys and Lynn Miles. This imaginative release is available as a book/CD set or an audio-only digipak.
#9 “Beethoven's Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies” (www.beethovenswig.com)- This 3 – time Grammy nominated series will be enhanced with a new collection of zany, stick-in-your head lyrics set to familiar classical music. KUSC Radio, NPR's “All Things Considered” and the “Today” show have featured Beethoven's Wig. It's a fun way to introduce the classics, and this time the focus is on music you can dance to!
#10 Robbert Bobbert is Powerpop for little boys and girls from a cult hero of powerpop for big boys and girls: a genius inventor of musical mayhem with an inspired indie rock songbook and a raucously clever live act. Bobbert is also the inventor of many useful devices, such as the Analog Bite-ulator (which some children wrongly claim is an existing invention known as a “fork”), and the Oscillating String-o-phone (which some silly children suggest is already known as a “guitar”).
#11 Suzi Shelton LIVE! at Southpaw – The excitement of a live Suzi Shelton concert comes to the small screen with this music video, taped live at Brooklyn's acclaimed Southpaw nightclub, renowned lately for its family-friendly events. Suzi and her hip young band perform hits from the multi award winning 2005 CD Simply Suzi as well as newer rock and roll winners from her follow up CD No Ordinary Day, due early 2008. Suzi's also the host of two new music and activity DVDs from Gymboree Play & Music.
And check out these sites if you want to discover and purchase unusual kids' music:
Happy listening, dancing AND MOVING!