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Warren Truitt

The Best Kids' Music of the Past 30 Years!*

By March 9, 2009

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*according to Time Out New York Kids, that is. Actually, the exclusive list was compiled by Dulcy Israel for the March 2009 issue of TONY Kids, with advice and suggestions by several people in the music world, including Jon Langford, member of The Mekons, The Waco Brothers, and kid's band Wee Hairy Beasties; Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, kid-hop's shining star from Asheville, NC; Christine Timm, producer of the Bowery Kids program at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC; and Misty Tolle, director of school and family programs at the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.

Here are their picks for three age groups:

Ages 3 and Under -
  • Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma - Hush
  • Hayes Greenfield - Jazz-A-Ma-Tazz
  • Lead Belly - Lead Belly Sings for Children
  • Morgan Taylor - Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World
  • Putumayo Kids - everything!
Ages 4 to 9 -
  • David Bowie - David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf'
  • They Might Be Giants - No!
  • Various Artists - The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides
  • Justin Roberts - Meltdown!
  • Dan Zanes - everything!
Ages 10 and Up -
  • Jonathan Richman - Jonathan Sings!
  • Various Artists - The Best of Schoolhouse Rock
  • The Ramones - The Ramones
  • Sir Colin Davis & The London Symphony Orchestra - Holst: The Planets
  • The Jellydots - Changing Skies

Comments

March 9, 2009 at 11:50 pm
(1) Chesky says:

Our whole family loves Gustafer Yellowgold!

March 16, 2009 at 9:22 am
(2) Cathy Fink says:

I feel compelled to add some GREAT folks to the list, many with GRAMMY nominations and others with tons of awards.
Bill Harley, Ella Jenkins, Trout Fishing in America, John McCutcheon, Red Grammer, Riders in the Sky, Kathy Reid-Naiman, Tom Chapin, Beethoven’s Wig, Billy Jonas-plenty more
It ain’t all kindie rock out there-let’s listen WIDE and diverse.
Cathy Fink
2X GRAMMY winner, childen’s music

March 16, 2009 at 11:57 am
(3) Debbie Block says:

While the recordings and artists listed are certainly deserving of this praise, I support Cathy Fink’s comment. There are SO many amazing award-winning artists who have been recording, performing and touring for kids and families, it’s sad to see such a limited representation of what’s out there. One of the things we love most about childrens’ music is the diversity and number of fabulous musicians committed to making the world a better place for kids through their music.
Debbie Block, Manager, Bill Harley 2X Grammy Winner and recipient of multiple Parents’ Choice, NAPPA and other awards.

March 16, 2009 at 2:53 pm
(4) Warren Truitt says:

Thanks so much, Cathy and Debbie, for your comments. I love that people are so passionate about kids’ music! Playing off your suggestions, and because of the fact that there really are *so many* great artists out there that should be heard, I’m asking everyone for their personal top picks of the past 30 years. Please feel free to post again!

March 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm
(5) Simon Wiltshire says:

I agree with the above postings. While all of these artists deserve respect for their accomplishments, there is a whole world of music out there trying to break through. It is frustrating to see these lists come out every week of “the best children’s music”. It should be subtitled “that hit the radar”. We all know that in any artistic endeavor it takes 1. talent (for sure), 2. hard work (definitely) and let’s face it, 3. a little luck, to “make it”. Most of us have applied 1 and 2 in spades. Dancercise Kids

March 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm
(6) Bonnie Simon says:

If you are interested in expanding your child’s musical horizons and learning something yourself, try Maestro Classics CDs. If you like Peter and the Wolf, here is a complete series for narrator and orchestra with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

March 19, 2009 at 8:29 pm
(7) Sue Rose says:

I love many of the artists on this list, but sometimes I just want to play good quality version of children’s classics for my children. Kidsongs is still the best in that department.

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