Sedaka keeps it really simple on Waking Up is Hard to Do, with only himself on piano, and veteran West Coast session musicians Jim Varley on drums, Pete Snell on guitar, and Bill von Ravensberg on bass. But those four keep the energy level high with their tight, bright performance.
Marc Sedaka, Neil's son, helped considerably with new kid-friendly lyrics for Sedaka's classic hits. "Where the Toys Are" expresses a kid's frustration of having to watch Dad try to put together new toys without using the instructions, while "Happy Birthday Number Three" celebrates a toddler's third birthday.
Some of Sedaka's originals, like "I Go Ape" and "Little Devil," fall perfectly into the kids' song genre, and you're just not going to be able to keep from singing along with "Lunch, lunch will keep us together!" One of the funniest moments is when "Rubber Duckie," a remake of "Oh! Carol," gets the prototypical doo-wop voiceover during the chorus ("Rubber Duckie, we can have such fun...").
Great sing-along CD for families. The only negative point of Waking Up is Hard to Do is the use of kids' voices on some of the songs. Sedaka's two grandchildren contribute vocals to a few tunes, and in some instances it's cute, such as singing out the names of the months on "Dinosaur Pet." But when the chorus hits on "Laughter in the Rain," so do the enthusiastic but out-of-tune voices of preschoolers, and that's not so cute. Otherwise, Waking Up is Hard to Do is a fun, sweet, and funny CD for kids and their grownups, and hopefully the album will encourage families to explore Neil Sedaka's wonderful back catalog of original hits. The album also comes with a 10-page, CD-sized coloring book.
Released January 6, 2009; Razor and Tie
- "Waking Up is Hard to Do" - "Breaking Up is Hard to Do"
- "Dinosaur Pet" - "Calendar Girl"
- "Where the Toys Are" - "Where the Boys Are"
- "Lunch Will Keep Us Together" - "Love Will Keep Us Together"
- "Happy Birthday Number Three" - "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen"
- "Laughter in the Rain" - "Laughter in the Rain"
- "Rubber Duckie" - "Oh! Carol"
- "Is This the Way to Cross the Street?" - "Amarillo"
- "Little Devil" - "Little Devil"
- "I Go Ape" - "I Go Ape"
- "Baby's First Christmas Lullabye" - never before released