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!