After finding Captain Bogg & Salty, I went back to the internet and the library to see what other kinds of treasures I could find. I was pretty disappointed for a while. I checked out Justin Roberts because my son and I had enjoyed his videos for Willy was a Whale and Airplane of Food. But, we both quickly tired of him. Of course there was the ever present Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner, and Ralph's World, but they just weren't our type of music. We liked loud and rockin' music. Preferably with funny lyrics.
Enter Greasy Kid Stuff. These CDs are compilations of listeners favorites from the popular radio show. Unfortunately, we couldn't listen to the show, but we could get the CDs. They had stuff we were already familiar with like Hockey Monkey (another fun video) and Yo La Tengo's My Little Corner of the World (because I'm a Gilmore Girls fan). Captain Bogg & Salty also shows up on the third album with their version of Part of Your World. Truly classic, you have to listen to it. And we discovered a favorite band, The Mr. T Experience who always seems to provide a song for these compilations. They sing our favorite version of Unpack Your Adjectives and they also rock Up and Down and Spiderman. My biggest wish is that some day they will put out an entire album of just kids music.
Next we found the series For the Kids, which here and there had some really fun gems especially Cake's version of Mahna Mahna and Barenaked Ladies' version of La La La La Lemon. It's very apparent that once you start looking there are all kinds of albums out there with music aimed specifically at kids and their parents.
We checked out all the They Might Be Giants kiddie albums (our favorite so far is still No!) and Barenaked Ladies' Snacktime. Suddenly, it was easy to see that kids music was just about everywhere. I couldn't keep up. I still can't keep up. I devote a little time here and there to kids music sites in a lame attempt to find out what's new. But, what's new today is totally old news tomorrow. So, instead I just try to focus on finding fun, new favorites now and then, and appreciating what are now old, family favorites as well.
One of the best ways to see what's new in the world of kids music (besides the internet of course) is to watch kids TV shows. It seems that the world of kids music has done a number on the types of shows aimed specifically at preschoolers in the last 10 years. Think Sesame Street with all it's guest stars taken to the next level. It seems that everyone wants to get in on the act now. Maybe it's just that bands now days realize that if you get them hooked early, they'll stay with you a life time (like making Joe Camel ads to get kids hooked on cigarettes).
When I was first searching for kids music I used to read about a lot of parents who liked to watch Jack's Big Music Show on Noggin with their preschoolers. Well, for a while we didn't have Noggin (recently changed to Nick Jr.), but now that we do, I can see where they're coming from. It's fun to watch shows with your kids that contain artists that you've always loved to listen to. Pancake Mountain takes this one step further by focusing more about the music and less of what I consider "filler". And, thanks to the internet, we can actually watch Pancake Mountain and Jack's Big Music Show without bowing down to The Evil Cable Company.
Slowly proving their worth to my family is Yo Gabba Gabba on Nickelodeon. I have mixed feelings about this show, cuz it's just so darn weird sometimes and my 6-year-old has a hard time getting the connection between singing about the food in his stomach having a party in one breath, and then switching to watching Tony Hawk do skateboarding tricks in the next. Still, after reading about the line-up for the new season of Yo Gabba Gabba, I find myself oddly intrigued. I will be watching to see Weezer dance around in bug costumes and Anthony Bourdain play the good "doctor". I expect my 6-year-old to be unimpressed though. This kind of stuff is really more for the parents benefit.
So, I think that's where I'll end this post. I'll follow-up with Part 3 in which I talk about the Seattle kids music scene as I promised in Part 1. For now, let me leave you with one of my favorite videos to watch with or without my kids. This is from Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine. I can't say that I am all that impressed with other songs on the album, but We R Super Heroes is really fun and catchy. I think my son likes it mostly for the giant, pink monster that is the main character as well as all the other weird monsters/super heroes. Whatever, it's fun. Enjoy!