Sunday, May 03, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 4, 2015

Always On The Run – Joanie Leeds And The Nightlights
The Girl With the Squirrel in Her Hat – Caspar Babypants
Gloria – Van Morrison & Them
If I Lose Myself – Alesso Vs. OneRepublic
Lips Are Movin – Meghan Trainor
Motorcycle Mom – The Not-Its!
Raised by Trolls – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
Shake My Sillies Out – Andy Z
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 1, 2015

All Around the Kitchen – Andy Z
Backyard – Riff Rockit
Beach House – The Good Ms Padgett
Danceology – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Don't Touch My Stuff! – Trout Fishing In America
Groove – Lori Henriques
Hello Goodbye – The Cure Feat. James McCartney
Lighter Feathers – Dean Jones
The Owl And The Pussycat – Papa Crow

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, April 30, 2015

H-U-L-L-A-B-A-L-O-O – Hullabaloo
I Can Still Say I Love You – Keith Munslow
Keep The Hate Mail Comin' – Lloyd H. Miller
Look, Think, Guess, Know – Tom Chapin
My Favorite Sneakers – In The Nick Of Time
My Selfish Heart – Meghan Trainor
Shake a Friend's Hand – Andy Z
Stay Up Late – Dean Jones
Unwind – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

Kindie Quick Hits: Andy Z Goes Classic, Papa Crow Lears Brightly

There's a fine line being patriotic and jingoistic. I had no problem when Major League Baseball started adding "God Bless America" to games in the seventh inning stretch following 9/11. And I support the troops and always applaud the "Serviceman of the Game" whenever I attend a game. However, there are some performers who wrap themselves in the flag as a marketing ploy – how could you NOT like me, it's downright unpatriotic!

Now that I've veered very far in one direction, let me steer back and say that is NOT the case with Andy "Z" Zamenes. The most controversial track on his new CD, CLASSIC SONGS AND TRADITIONAL TUNES, is "This Land Is Your Land." And calling back to my lead, he even covers "Take Me Out of the Ballgame."

American folk music is an integral part of our culture. Yet there's a whole generation who revere Kendall Jenner and have no inkling who Woody Guthrie is. One CD won't change the world (or society), but Andy Z wants to gently nudge the needle ever so slightly in the right direction.

Andy has even created a micro-site for the CD, where you can preview every track, from "Shake My Sillies Out" to "Ghost Riders in The Sky." There is also background on the guest performers, such as vocalists Karla Kane and Kristen Geller.

I recall an old Pete Seeger songbook album that we had as a child. I wore out the grooves, as it was one of the few LPs in my family's collection where I could understand everything being sung. Andy Z has developed a CD in the same vein and we'll place it appropriately in our cabinet.

CLASSIC SONGS AND TRADITIONAL TUNES is available through Amazon, iTunes, and CDBABY.

Papa Crow (Jeff Krebs) has gone even further back in time, to the 19th century writings of poet Edward Lear. You may know him as "The Owl and the Pussycat" guy. But his nonsense nursery rhymes have lasted into a third century. That's a remarkable accomplishment for a guy who was the 21st (and final) child produced by the same set of parents.

Krebs certainly had his work cut out for him. Fart songs (an earlier project) are one thing. Songs about the wilderness are another (who doesn't think about a campfire tune now and then). But Lear is a very specific taste. And this five-song EP, "THEIR HEADS ARE GREEN AND THEIR HANDS ARE BLUE," may leave younger listeners in the dust.

Krebs also decided to sing them exactly as they appear on the page – with no text editing, recorded live in his home studio with no overdubs, just voice and a vintage Gibson acoustic guitar. This is no vanity project, no sir. It's a true labor of love; one with a slim margin of payback for its creator.

Lear is a fascinating character, deserving of a film. He was raised by an older sister (by 21 years) until he was 50. He suffered from grand mal seizures from epilepsy, something completely mysterious in his times. As a result, he went through depressions from the time he was seven years old. Yet he turned his infirmities on their head and produced enchanting artworks and nimble wordsmithing that engage readers to this day.

Perhaps five songs is a good starting place. Perhaps five songs is enough. Perhaps Papa Crow (the persona, not the musician) is the perfect way to bring Edward Lear into the 21st century. Perhaps you might want to listen for yourself.

THEIR HEADS ARE GREEN AND THEIR HANDS ARE BLUE is available through Amazon, iTunes, and CDBABY.

Here is a video that Papa Crow created for "The Owl and the Pussycat":

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Brick By Brick – Recess Monkey
Clouds – One Direction
Extraordinary –  Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
National Hiccup Day – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
No, No, No – The Little Rockers Band
Pendulum – Pearl Jam Lightning
Right Now –  Rihanna Feat. David Guetta
Weeksville – Lloyd H. Miller

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baldy – Lloyd H. Miller
Glass Bottom Boat – Jason Didner And The Jungle Gym Jam
Go Away  – Weezer
How Great Can This Day Be  – Lori Henriques
Kings & Queens – The Hipwaders
Lightning Bolt – Pearl Jam
Me Time  – Chibi Kodama
New  – Paul McCartney
Smile in My Heart – Suzi Shelton

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, April 27, 2015

Be a Mime – Eric Herman
Beneath The Water – Caspar Babypants
Changes – David Bowie
Haircut – The Not-Its!
If I Could Fly – Riff Rockit
Rock Melon – Gustafer Yellowgold
Shutterbug – Recess Monkey
Thinking Good Thoughts – Dog On Fleas
Trapped In The Attic – Lloyd H. Miller

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, April 25, 2015

Archaeology – Danny Weinkauf
The Bicycle Song – Eric Herman
Domino Town  – Dean Jones
Earn It – Hullabaloo
Follow The Drinking Gourd – Lloyd H. Miller
Gypsy Whale Waltz – Pointed Man Band
I Lived – OneRepublic
No More Lonely Nights – The Airborne Toxic Event
Take Your Kid To Work Day  – Recess Monkey

Miller Brings Back the Past With New Music Series for Kids

Even when you're not paying attention to it, history is always happening. Today's lunch selection may not seem important, but in the grand scheme of things, years from now, it could be talked about in reverent, hushed tones.

Lloyd H. Miller is constantly looking over his shoulder to see what lessons we can learn from the past. He then pays it forward, bringing back songs from yesteryear for new generations. His latest, SING ALONG HISTORY VOLUME 1: GLORY! GLORY! HALLELUJAH! is pretty self-explanatory. How many children's music CDs come with their own colon and secondary title?

While the primary purpose of the CD is to introduce concepts of the Civil War, there's a jaunty, pre-war celebratory feel to many of the songs. That was intentional for the times, when both sides (North and South) were looking to keep spirits high amidst bloodshed and slavery. "Marching Through Georgia" is practically a dance number, yet it's about Sherman's March to the sea. "Tenting On The Old Campground" plaintively mixes the horrors of the war ("many are dead and gone") with the childhood thrill of sleeping outside under the stars.

We seemed to keep missing Lloyd (although we met him last year at KindieComm) in concert, solo or with the Deedle Deedle Dees. We did manage to catch a Symphony Space launch for his last CD, the similarly history-centric S.S. Brooklyn. But Lloyd has taken his mission one step further. "I love songs from the Civil War era," he comments. "I tried to give them the live, exciting feel of the old-timey jazz and rock-n-roll I play at shows today." Well, except for a spoken-word version of Abraham Lincoln's "The Gettysburg Address," recited by kids and adults alike.

The one modern touch is the bluesy "Keep The Hate Mail Comin'," a peon to the electronic age, wherein people feel free to rain invective on their perceived enemies, consequences or common decency be damned. As Lloyd rebukes:

Keep the hate mail coming
'Cause I love what I do.
I must have done something right
To get a letter like this from you.

Mr. Miller is certainly doing something right with his inspired selection from the archives of Americana. Aided by ace producer Dean Jones, Lloyd effortlessly goes back to the future and returns with a cavalcade of refurbished new favorites. GLORY! is the first in a planned series of releases for kids. Lloyd has fired the first shot – now it's up to audiences to return fire.

SING ALONG HISTORY VOLUME 1: GLORY! GLORY! HALLELUJAH! is available from CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for the song, "Brooklyn By Bike":