Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cool Kidsongs: For Our Children Edition

Bruce Springsteen: Chicken Lips and Lizard Hips (from For Our Children)


Natalie Merchant: Come Take a Trip in My Airship (from For Our Children Too!)


Bobby McFerrin: The Wizard of Oz (from For Our Children - The Concert)


Confession Time: I taught preschool for eight years, which segued to being a director for four - I have listened to my share of children's music (most of it corny, schlocky and sappy - sounds kinda like a law firm, doesn't it?) ... and it was always a challenge to find Cool Kidsongs (as is our theme) to make everyone, including the parents, happy, especially for our Pre-K graduation extravaganza shows...

Imagine my delight in 1990 upon the release of For Our Children, a 20-song compilation featuring original and traditional children's music by a variety of exceptional performers, including Jackson Browne, Ziggy Marley, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Sting, and Ann and Nancy Wilson. All proceeds benefit the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, with profits going to AIDS research, education and assistance to hospitals. The foundation was formed in 1988 by Elizabeth Glaser, Susan DeLaurentis, and Susan Zeegen. Glaser, the wife of actor Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky and Hutch), contracted the AIDS virus in 1981 from a blood transfusion she received during the birth of their daughter Ariel, who died of AIDS at the age of 7. This was re-released in 1999 as a 10th Anniversary Edition - "although tilted toward baby-boomer parents, the tracks have a timeless, ageless appeal. You'll be hard-pressed to find another five-star children's recording this satisfying..."

1996 brought the sequel, For Our Children Too! which, although possessing a few stand-out tracks, was mostly of the yawn/snore variety (as one review stated, Too! "is really a lullaby album and its predecessor is a party record." - all sales still aided the foundation, though...

For Our Children - The Concert came out in 1993, and was an audio release of a benefit concert which took place in 1992, for the patients and families of pediatric AIDS - it also aired as a TV special...

I have included a song from each: Bruce a fun romp through a gross-out menu, Natalie an adorable story of a magical adventure... and McFerrin an 8-minute wild-and-crazy encapsulation of the entire plot of the Wizard of Oz, complete with him (as Dorothy) throwing a glass of water in his own face (as the Wicked Witch) to make himself melt (YouTube video here of him performing the same skit at another event) - enjoy!

My illustration above is the cover of Every Child Deserves a Lifetime, a "Best of" the first two For Our Children discs...

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