Sunday, April 25, 2010

Review: Funky Fresh and Sugar Free - Sugar Free Allstars

The Sugar Free Allstars have a new album coming out on April 27 and I received a review copy from Beth over at Sugar Mountain PR (thanks Beth!)  The Sugar Free Allstars are an Oklahoma based duo comprised of Chris (Boom!) Wiser and Rob (Dr. Rock) Martin.  This is their second family album.  Their first album for kids, Dos NiƱos got them national attention and was included as one of the best CDs of the year by the Fids and Kamily critics' poll.

Dr. Rock and Boom! play a variety of instruments, but what you'll find most noticeable is the sound of the Hammond organ.  I don't know of many bands, kids music or otherwise, that manage to rock an album with the sound of an organ quite like these guys.

The album starts off with a call-and-response song called Rock Awesome! for which I have thoughtfully provided their new video below.  It is "garage rock" in the literal sense and has no fancy-shmancy technical stuff other than the flashing orange light, off-camera smoke machine, and "applause" cassette tape.  Still, it's fun and you get the sense that to see the Sugar Free Allstars live means that you're in for a good time.  My kids are not the any-excuse-to-jump-up-and-down-and-yell kinda kids that most are, but Dad and I had lots of fun with the song.  We've resigned ourselves to having birthed fuddy-duddys.  Most kids will love the interactive feel of it though. 

The album, in fact, has several interactive songs including SFA Disco Dance Party (with a very Isaac Hayes-like spoken vocal), Hey Now, It's Your Birthday (obviously perfect for birthday parties), Tiger in my Backyard, and the final song on the album The Train Beat Song, which is somewhat like a game of Simon Says set to music. 

Some of my favorite songs from the album are Little Red Wagon, Tiger in my Backyard, and a cover of the Beatle's Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.  I don't quite know why, but Little Red Wagon makes me think of the preschool version of Low Rider.  I imagine that the little boy in the song rides around in his wagon much the same way a cholo would cruise in his pimped out ride.  The two songs have nothing in common except my personal imagery, but LRW is definitely fun.

Tiger in my Backyard was the first song I'd ever heard by SFA when I saw a video of the song done live for their DVD Gettin' Funky with the Sugar Free Allstars.  I've liked the song and SFA ever since.  Boom! introduces various animals, which he says are all living in various places around his house, and calls out to the audience to make the animal sounds.  But, "Look another time, tell me just what you see.  That tiger in my backyard looks a whole lot like me!"

The Sugar Free Allstars' cover of the classic Beatle's song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is by far my family's favorite song off of the CD.  They took an already great song and made it even better.  I dare you to listen to it and not love it too. 

If you'd like to hear more from the Sugar Free Allstars and just can't wait until Tuesday, you can hear five of the songs from their new album on the player below.
<a href="">In My Pocket by Sugar Free Allstars</a>
So, what are my thoughts?  Well, it's pretty obvious that my family and I loved this album and have become big fans of SFA.  I am looking forward to the day when their concerts manage to make their way up to the Pacific Northwest.

Sugar Mountain PR provided a review copy of this CD.  My opinions are my own and I was not paid in anyway to write this review.

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