Friday, December 16, 2011

Accidental Kidsongs: Skin Lake

Judge Dread: Skin Lake


I grew up in a time when The Beatles and Motown dominated the world of music. My parents were both amateur classical musicians, so they were intent on making sure my brothers and I had every opportunity to learn to love classical music as well. We had Peter and the Wolf in the house, and we went to a theatrical rerelease of Fantasia. And, for the most part, it worked.

Fast forward forty years. When my son was about four, he discovered classical music through a side door, so to speak. He knows more about classical music now, four years later, and I don’t think he even makes the connection, but here’s what happened. My wife and I both love ska music. Before I became a blogger myself, I started collecting mp3s from other people’s blogs. I tended to grab all of the ska I could find, and I would put the songs together on a series of discs I called Ska Boxes. Skin Lake is on the volume that became my wife’s favorite, volume III. So, my daughter was amenable, and we would play these in the car, as we still do. There was and is plenty of other music we play in the car as well. We always thought that my son wasn’t paying any attention, but we did notice that he liked to make up his own names for songs. One day, he started asking for “The Hick-it Song”. Huh? Now, to this day, he will ask for something over and over until he gets it, or we convince him that it ain’t happening. Over the next week, we realized that our sanity depended on figuring out which song was “The Hick-it Song”. Finally, I realized that he was picking up on the sound effect that ska artists make sometimes. As soon as I told my wife this, she figured out which song it was, and our lives were saved. Despite this harrowing experience, the song and the disc it is on are still favorites in my family. The melody, of course, comes from Swan Lake, and was also turned into a different ska song by Madness. The words are probably not much more appropriate for an eight-year-old than they were when he was four, but what can you do?

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