A well-crafted children's song can come from anywhere. I've mostly covered American performers but there's a whole world out there creating music for youngsters.
One of the more delightful recording artists is Nick Cope from the UK. The former front man for the Candyskins, Nick and his bandmates never gained the traction or fame of their contemporaries (Radiohead and Supergrass) and man, must he get sick and tired of hearing that.
Nick has recorded three albums of children's songs. The latest, WHY IS THE SKY BLUE? straddles the middle ground between Justin Roberts' lyrically and Gustafer Yellowgold, musically. Not a bad place to be, really. He has crafted a collection of fanciful music that speaks genially to the youth inside adults as well as directly to the youths sitting with those adults.
Nick speaks from the perspective of a child in many of his songs. "Wobbly Tooth" opens the CD with a boy wondering when his troublesome tooth is going to finally come out and seeking advice from his elders. And guess what? There's a punchline!
"There's A Nose in the Middle of My Face" is a self-explanatory dissertation on facial features. "Whole Lotta Fun" could be an introduction to skiffle for a new generation. The sweet "Crazy Crazy Dinner Lady" would not be out of place as a bedtime song from Justin's latest entry, LULLABY.
A youngster named Joe asks his parents a litany of questions in the title song:
Why is the sky blue? Why do I love you?
D'ya think I can jump higher than a kangaroo?
How does a worm walk? How do the aliens talk?
Why can't you eat spaghetti with a knife and fork?
How do the birds fly? Why did my goldfish die?
I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know why.
Of course, Joe does not receive any answers. But the whole point of the song is that it's alright to ask these questions. And there's no question that Nick Cope has created a deserved niche in the UK wing of the kindie scene. Nick also produces t-shirts, videos, and books from his music. It's a
cottage industry (and no jokes about small towns in the highlands).
WHY IS THE SKY BLUE is available from Nick's website, Amazon, and iTunes.
Here is the video for "Snowman Kind of Day":