Nostalgia is back with a vengeance this year. There are reboots of MacGyver and Lethal Weapon on TV and a stage version of Terms of Endearment features Molly Ringwald (!) in the Shirley MacLaine role. Musician Chris Ballew remains forward-thinking, however. He recently announced to fans of his '90s band, The Presidents of the United States of America (PUSA) that the group is no longer touring because – gasp – they are no longer a band. "Never say never," he remarks in the post, "Thanks for all the singing and clapping and happy times and WE LOVE YOU!"
Never fret though, as Chris continues in his second career as children's music performer Caspar Babypants (CBP) . Returning for his second CD this year (!), WINTER PARTY, the artist known as CBP is far from PUSA territory. The holiday-themed album features Chris's elaborate reinterpreted versions of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" and "Jingle Bells." Chris took the Scottish translation of "Auld Lang Syne" – "Days Gone By" – and broke it down so the sentiment and thoughts could be easily digested by younger audiences.
Artwork for the CD is provided, as always, by Mrs. Babypants, the talented Kate Endle. The CBP discography has a comfortable, consistent iconography, in large part due to the friendly accessibility of the illustrations and packaging.
WINTER PARTY is not all cover tunes – "Animal Christmas Lullaby" closes the CD with a track designed to double as a lesson (and nap) plan. CBP uses his fertile post-punk imagination to create characters such as "Frozen Penguin," to the strains of the French tune, "Alouette."
I did not realize how much of a pervasive musical presence CBP has been in our lives until Ben (15) started listing his favorite songs. Since the typical CBP CD contains between 15-20 tracks, this went on for a solid minute before I changed the subject. Although Ben has aged out of the CBP demo, his selections provide a roadmap for his younger brother. That's enough reason to start the holidays early (although not until after Halloween, please).
WINTER PARTY is available from Caspar Babypants' website, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play.
Here is the video for "The Twelve Days of Christmas":