The Limeliters don't hold the historical sway of, say, The Weavers, The Kingston Trio, or The New Christy Minstrels, but their square in the vibrant folk music quilt of the late 1950s and early 1960s is still an important one. One of their most beloved and popular albums was released in 1962 on the RCA Victor record label, and remains a constant seller to this day.
Through Children's Eyes: Little-Folk Songs for Adults was performed live and recorded in Berkeley, California, in December 1961, and includes lots of witty patter, historical tunes, and enthusiastic sing-alongs, encouraging the whole family to join in on the musical good times.
Image Courtesy RCA Victor
The Putumayo World Music label specializes in bringing us songs and melodies from around the world, and their latest release on Putumayo Kids, the sub-label dedicated to family music, fits the bill nicely.
Putumayo Kids Presents Latin Dreamland compiles lullabies and quiet time tunes from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela, presenting a mixture of traditional songs and newer compositions in a variety of styles from Latin America sung in Spanish and Portuguese.
Image Courtesy Putumayo World Music
Today's Google Doodle celebrates the birthday of one of America's greatest treasures, Ella Fitzgerald. The singer recorded dozens of timeless musical treasures that feature her flawless vocals, but one recent collection compiled several of her tunes that are well-suited to the youngest listening group. Miss Ella's Playhouse includes classics like "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," "The Muffin Man," "Old McDonald," "Old Mother Hubbard," and "Chew-Chew-Chew (Chew Your Bubble Gum)." A super CD for the whole family, and a great way to introduce Ella Fitzgerald to your kids!
Image Courtesy Verve
Lots of new kids' music on the record shelves! Here's a quick rundown of some of the latest releases along with street date and label:
The thought behind Neighbor to Neighbor: Family Music for Sandy Relief is a beautiful thing, yes, but the artists included on this compilation just happen to be some of the best in the kids' music biz. From Gustafer Yellowgold to Dan Zanes, from Uncle Rock to Dog On Fleas to Tom Chapin, the bands and performers who lend their talents to this charitable cause excel at their craft while indirectly offering help to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Not only do sales of Neighbor to Neighbor provide funding for the relief agencies The Action Center in Far Rockaway, Queens, and Camp Bulldog in Lindenhurst, Long Island, but the downloadable collection introduces listeners to great but relatively lesser-known bands like Ratboy Jr., Grenadilla, Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke, and Magpie. Oh, and you can listen to the full album on the Neighbor to Neighbor Bandcamp page!
Image Courtesy The Design District
Kindie rock star Frances England is on the road from coast to coast this Spring, playing to audiences as far apart as Manhattan and San Francisco. Make sure to check the official Frances England webpage for an up-to-date list of live shows!
- April 21 - Swedish American Hall, San Francisco, CA
- April 27 - Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, New York, NY
- June 1 - San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
- June 16 - Mill Valley Public Library, Mill Valley, CA
Image Courtesy Frances England
We all know that Caspar Babypants is ridiculously prolific, what with his six albums in about four years. But if you feel the need to expand your CB collection with even more tunes, he has enough extra ditties (and most are free!) to fill up an EP.
"Take Me To the City Dump" is a rockabilly tribute song to J.P. Patches, star of his own long-running Seattle-based kids' show; the three songs "Augie to Zebra," "My Woodland Wish," and "Bunny Rabbit in the Sunlight" accompany children's picture books of the same name, written by Kate Endle and Caspar and illustrated by Kate; and "Check It Out" comes from the compilation album Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti, released in 2012 on the Spare The Rock Records label.
Photo: Mark Klebeck
OK, grownups, here's the question of the day: if you could introduce your little listeners to only one performer or band from any genre and any era, who would it be? To get the comments started, I've included our fun list of sing-along songs by The Beatles, one from each of their albums (two from 'The White Album').
Image Courtesy Apple/EMI/Parlophone/Capitol
Morgan Taylor recently kicked off Gustafer Yellowgold's Rock Melon Tour and celebrated the event with a video for a new song called, appropriately, "Rock Melon." If you ever wondered what a collaboration between the Canadian band Sloan and classic glam rockers Sweet would sound like, here it is.
The tune is about the alter ego of Gustafer's eel pal Slim (aka Slimothy C. Beache), who transforms into a cantelope ball-hurling hero. Check out the full video on the official Gustafer Yellowgold webpage, and browse the Rock Melon Tour dates, as well.
Image Courtesy Apple-Eye Productions
Uncle Rock recently had one of his songs, "The Night the Lights Went Out," included on the charity compilation Neighbor To Neighbor: Family Music For Sandy Relief, so we decided to revisit the album from which the tune originated.
The Big Picture is a gentle but thoughtful exploration of global concerns (responsible waste disposal, maintaining a sense of community) and the minutia of everyday life (the love of one parent for another, a family enjoying a power outage together) set against a background of Uncle Rock's hybrid of Americana/rockabilly music.
The album was expertly produced by Dean Jones and includes guest vocals by kindie rock star Elizabeth Mitchell, making The Big Picture one of our favorite kids' music albums of 2010. And make sure to check out the Neighbor to Neighbor project on their Bandcamp page!
Image Courtesy Jackpot Music