I have two young daughters, aged two and four. When they develop independent listening habits, I’ll try my darnedest to avoid becoming The Onion‘s Dad Who Raises Daughter On Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out Of Touch With Her Generation. Until then, I’ve found a lot music that makes the kiddos happy and doesn’t drive me nuts. Like obscure Bubblegum Pop from the ’60s and ’70s, bizarre children’s records from the ’60s and ’70s, experimental ’60s…oh wait, I’m already that Onion dude.
But seriously folks, we’re here to praise Kick Out The Jammies!, a new free sampler from Burnside Distribution. The eleven tracks are all-original, all-fun, and all-good. Our favorite discovery is Caspar Babypants, a.k.a. Chris Ballew of The President of the United States of America. If your kids dig They Might Be Giants’ kids records, they’ll dig CB. He has six whole albums of kids music! Kick Out The Jammies also features a track by The Verve Pipe (!) and songs about hula hoops, bugs, counting, and other non-violent activities.
While we’re on the topic, here are five of my girls’ favorite Orchard-distributed albums:
1) Various Artists: Brats On The Beat: Ramones For Kids [Go-Kart]
I know. The Ramones’ original recordings are pretty kid-friendly already. Well, maybe not “Teenage Lobotomy” and “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.” But this album features members of The Dwarves, The Donnas, Queens of the Stone Age, and others, plus peppy kid gang vocals. My Girls Recommend: “Rockaway Beach feat. Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves”
2) Sesame Street: Monsters! A Musical Monster-osity [Sesame Workshop]
My wife’s favorite childhood album, released 1975. I especially dig “Frazzle” by Frazzle and The Frazzletones. I don’t know why Frazzle never became a kid mega-celebrity like Elmo or Big Bird or Leonard Cohen. How can you deny the charms of this inarticulate flourescent orange ball of fuzz? My Girls Recommend: “Monster Lullaby”
3) Elizabeth Mitchell: Blue Clouds [Smithsonian Folkways]
The sixth album of mellow kid-Folk from Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton (both from ’90s Indie Rock band Ida) and their daughter, Storey. Contains originals, traditional folk songs, and covers of Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, and others. Last December, they performed a few terrific songs at The Orchard’s NYC HQ. Unfortunately, my girls couldn’t make it. You know, nap-time conflicts. My Girls Recommend: “Kooks” (a David Bowie cover)
4) Gershon Kingsley: First Moog Quartet [Master Classics]
Ten electronic 1970 instrumentals from the moog pioneer who penned “Popcorn” (Hot Butter‘s 1972 version was an int’l hit). Aside from “Popcorn,” The Gersh and his buds (grok em on the back cover – best band photo EVER) dip into classical, marching band music, wacky ragtime, gospel (!), and groovy “Hair”-tinged pop. My Girls Recommend: “Popcorn” (natch)
5) Various Artists: Are We There Yet? 40 Goofy Golden Oldies for a Perfect Family Road Trip [Celebration Sounds]
The Orchard’s own Compilations team assembled this masterstroke of vintage novelty silliness: “The Purple People Eater,” “Alley Oop,” “Witch Doctor,” “Charlie Brown,” “Who Put the Bomp,” “Mr Bass Man,” and 34 more. Also useful for keeping fathers awake during long-distance overnight drives while the kiddies snooze. My Girls Recommend: The Trashmen “Surfin’ Bird”