Here are four songs that fit our theme. Other than that, the only thing they have in common is that I couldn’t choose between them for my last post this week.
Zak Morgan: When Bullfrogs Croak
One key element of great kid’s music is a sense of humor. Zak Morgan delivers that here. Don’t miss the kicker in the last verse.
Jerry Garcia and David Grisman: Jenny Jenkins
Our theme this week is called Cool Kidsongs, but it could just as easily have been Not For Kids Only. When Jerry Garcia and David Grisman chose to make an album of music for kids and the adults who would have to listen with them, that is the title they used.
Jerry Garcia was, of course, the leader of the Grateful Dead. He had known David Grisman from San Francisco, before either musician made a name for themselves. The two had even recorded together in the one-shot bluegrass project, Old and in the Way. Grisman and Garcia had continued to get together and jam whenever their schedules allowed. Most of these jam sessions were committed to tape, and many have been released since Garcia’s death.
Here, their take on the traditional Jenny Jenkins shows the easy comraderie of old friends. The comfortable feeling and low key approach fairly represent the quality of the album as a whole.
Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer: Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?
One of the dangers of making kid’s music is overdoing the sweetness, and producing something cloying. Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, both together and individually, avoid that trap. Their music shows that it is possible to be sweet without overdoing it.
Dan Zanes (with Rosanne Cash): Fooba Wooba John
Dan Zanes used to be in a band called the Del-Fuegos. When they broke up, Zanes’ career took a surprising turn: he became a kid’s music artist. All of his albums that I am aware of include guests who you wouldn’t expect to be doing kid’s music at all. Rosanne Cash’s guest spot here is a fine example. In recent years, many “adult” artists have taken a turn at producing kid’s music albums. Dan Zanes may well have provided the inspiration to do so.