When we saw Uncle Rock (Robert Burke Warren) perform at Symphony Space in December, he told us, "The most fun I ever had in a recording studio was working with Dean Jones."
Judging by Jones' latest release, WHEN THE WORLD WAS NEW, Robert is not alone in his sentiments. Jones takes a mouthful like "Prehensile Grip" and answers the question, "Would we ever have become the top of the food chain...without prehensile grip?" The tune is so gosh darn catchy and sounds like it came right from a 1970s afterschool special.
"Snail Mail" is the boogified story of the U.S. Postal Service. Yes, a children's song about the joy of old-fashioned mail delivery. "It might take a little longer to get to me, but then I know how much I mean to you, too," he remarks.
"Human Bean" talks about how little babies (pre-birth) all look like beans. And that every animal looks the same way. "We're all beans inside our suits," he sings, before the trumpet solo. The title track asks, "What did we do when the world was new? Did we watch each other's backs? There were a lot of predators? People were the snacks," and then explains how people learned to stick together and beat the odds.
As the leader of Dog on Fleas, Dean has built a solid following in upstate New York as well as nationally through airplay on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live. The keyword to his style seems to be "quirky," which is not a bad thing. In this case, there's nothing wrong with being quirky. It's the quirky kids that can be the most fun, the most unpredictable, and the most memorable. Dean Jones is all of those things.
The lone exception to the mirth and merriment is the Natalie Merchant-esque "Stand With Me," with lead vocals by Shamsi Ruhe. Billed as an anti-bullying song, the song posits that the world is a better place when everyone plays by the same rules:
Will another Victor Jara or Martin Luther King come our way?
I don't know.
But if we all stand together and be a little brave,
you never know where we'll go.
One can only imagine a world where everyone stood with Dean Jones and produced as much well-respected and respectable children's music.
WHEN THE WORLD WAS new is available May 14 from the Dog on Fleas' website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.
Here is the video for Dean Jones' "Snail Mail":