Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Musicality

In our quest to make the Prawn into a well rounded human being, we’ve tried to fill her life with as much music as possible. Indeed, she attended at least 3 gigs before she was even born. While she seems to be quite enamoured of Green Day and fairly tolerant of just about all of the rest of our record collection, we thought it was probably prudent to invest in some children’s music to make sure she doesn’t have any rage issues from being exposed to repeated listenings of Appetite for Destruction at an early age.

I went browsing on Amazon.com for suitable Prawn-friendly tunes and after handing over a fair amount of cash, I received a package from the States with many hours of listening pleasure in it. Children’s music can be so, so SO AWFUL and I was willing to part with a fair sum of cash to make sure that my daughter didn’t grow up believing “The Wheels On the Bus” sung by people that sound as though they have frighteningly white, sharp teeth was not the limit of her musical horizon. (Not that there’s anything wrong with “The Wheels on the Bus”. They’ve got to learn the basics of public transportation somehow. The wipers going swish, horn going beep…they pretty much have it covered except for the drunk next to you who goes puke, puke puke.)

First and foremost among my purchases was Peter, Paul and Mommy, the classic children’s album that was a classic even by the time /I/ started listening to it. The first track, “Marvelous Toy” had me in floods of tears as I remember quite clearly my mother and father singing it to me. The Prawn looked bemused; the whole sunrise/sunset thing was slightly lost on her. The rest of the album was not quite as perky as I remembered it although see seemed to enjoy “Daddy’s Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow”. I urged her not to take it literally as there is little time this week available for zoo visitation. (Luckily, there IS quite a good one just over the hill, filled with bears that are huff-huff-a-puffin, monkeys scritch-scritch-a scratchin and seals honk-honk-a-honkin.)

A friend's gift of Elizabeth Mitchell’s “You Are My Little Bird” after the Prawn was born turned me onto the children’s folk artist in a big way, inspiring me to download “You are My Flower” and purchase “You Are My Sunshine”. Although the latest album is by far the most polished, there are some lovely gems on her earlier recordings. Despite my rawk leanings, I’m really kind of a floaty, folk chick at heart who enjoyed living in a same sex dormitory in college and singing along loudly to the Indigo Girls. (No joke. I totally went to Lillith Faire) Mitchell obviously takes her folk music seriously (anyone who invokes the name of Woody Guthrie usually does) so I’m pleased to have her warbling away in my living room on most mornings.

No children’s record collection would be complete without at least one Dan Zanes album, I’m lead to believe, so, invariably, the Prawn now owns one. I don’t know much about him other than that he’s the Raffi of the day. (I can’t say I ever listened to Raffi, but kids went apeshit for him. But then again, kids also went apeshit for Bananas in Pajamas, which scared the hell out of me, so who knows WHAT’s going to turn the little buggers on?) I enjoyed the album a lot, although I believe that the Prawn will most likely enjoy it when she is slightly older. While Mitchell’s music is repetitive and fairly simple in structure, Zanes’ is slightly more complex, not to mention banjo heavy. I’m sure it will provide many happy hours of bopping around the living room for a toddler.

Along with the aforementioned Sesame Street Bathtime Sing-a-long and a Putomayo Playground compilation, I’m sure the Prawn is now musically tooled. For curiosity’s sake, please feel free to share childhood musical memories of your own!

7 comments:

dawnatello said...

oh my godness you totally have to check our ROCKABYE baby
http://www.babyrockrecords.com/web/page.asp?pgs=products

we bought a bunch and traded some with a friend, yes we illegally burned them to our puter.
i found cheapest on ebay.

we have NIN, U2, cold play, zeppllin and all are great!
dawn

katty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
katty said...

katty said...
Dan Zanes is fantastic. I have two of his CDs and the babies already love house party. My two year old nephew is obsessed: I bought him and his parents tickets to see DZ live in april in london and my newphew had his picture taken with him.
Woody Guthries childrens songs cd (smithsonian folk songs collection) is excllent. Also african lullabies are very sweet, and the Ella Jenkins tribute album (though the original ella jenkins one- another smithsonian imprint - might drive you a bit mad.)

MsPrufrock said...

I only have one children's album for P., and it's a cheap compilation of nursery rhymes sung by people who are very clearly high. I hate it, but sing along to it anyway.

P. desperately needs the Johnny Cash children's album given my love for him, so I might get that while I'm in the States.

As for my own childhood music, I had tons of records. I had many Sesame Street ones, as well as a bunch of bible song records (thanks Mom). I remember really liking Peter and the Wolf too.

Ahh...I'm all nostalgic now.

rockmama said...

dawnatello- a friend sent me a link to them the other day! They sound fabulous. I just have to wait until my next paycheck to get a hold of them.

Katty- House Party is the one that I've got for the Prawn too. It's good fun for bopping around to. :) I'm also planning on getting the Woody Guthrie album as all of the other artists seem to borrow so heavily from it.

Pru- I had forgotten about Peter and the Wolf! I LOVED that. I also have a large selection of bible songs in my repertory. The ones that are overtly religious are easily changed. A lot of them just have to do with love and joy, which I have no objection to whatsoever. :)

lisalou said...

My childhood music memories included the cheeziest selections from the disco, rock and pop genres.My mom was a fitness leader and made her own workout tapes from 45's! It was the 70's and 80's. Yikes!

My husband and I both enjoy Jack Johnson's, Curious George Soundtrack. It's lovely.

cdees39 said...

I love Trout Fishing in America. Great kids albums.