Musical Notes - October 2010
Good Music In Support of Haiti
Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti
earthquake destroyed much of the capital of Haiti on Jan. 12, the rest of the
world was bombarded with images, videos, and news coverage of the effects.
Along with other nations, America responded in those early days with relief
efforts in the form of money, food, medical supplies, and labor. Many of us did
what we could, donating to charities such as the American Red Cross to help out
in some way, however small.
Dean Jones, of the children’s band Dog on Fleas, found himself feeling helpless
like the rest of us. Having close friends in Haiti and feeling a connection to
and respect for the music of the region, Jones decided to create something that
might help the ongoing relief effort. Ten months later, even though we aren’t
seeing the aftermath as much in the news, if at all, there is still a massive
struggle going on to rebuild in Haiti. Thousands of people are still without homes,
struggling to secure food and water each day as the massive cleanup continues.
Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti
is a beautifully unique collection of songs filled with uplifting messages. It
features some of today’s very best family musicians such as Dan Zanes, Recess
Monkey, They Might Be Giants, Pete Seeger, Randy Kaplan, Uncle Rock, and
Frances England. Almost all the tracks are previously unreleased, most of them
recorded specifically for
this CD on a brand-new record label called Spare the Rock Records.
founder Bill Childs states in a press release, “After speaking with Dean Jones
it was immediately obvious to me that this would be a great record, and, just
as importantly, that it would have the potential to help keep people’s
attention on the ongoing recovery of Haiti.”
from Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti will benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project and its
long-standing work to help the people of Haiti. Go online to www.sparetherock.com to find out where
to purchase the album.
The Kids Are
I like getting press releases with the CDs I receive for review, but
sometimes they'll hype the CD too much. In the case of family musician Randy
Kaplan’s The Kids Are All Id,
however, the press release is right on the mark.
No, wait, I take that back. It should have gone on and on even more about what an awesomely fun-for-all-ages
CD this really is.
Awhile back, I
reviewed Kaplan’s Loquat Rooftop and
immediately added it to my then 2-year-old son’s CD collection. It became an
instant favorite. The Kids Are All Id tops that CD and then some! Whimsical, rootsy, imaginative,
and funny, Kaplan somehow crawls inside the minds of children and hones in on
what they want to hear and what will make them laugh.
track, “My Little Laugh,” is a bluegrassy tune with a simple message that all
parents should take note of: If you laugh when your little one takes a tumble,
there is a good chance he or she will laugh, too. Crisis averted!
Kaplan also does
a beautiful job on the three original songs based on or inspired by the picture
books of Ezra Jack Keats, author and illustrator of The Snowy Day, among other classic children's books:
“Whistle for Willie” (inspired by the book of the same name), “Dream Hat”
(inspired by Jennie's Hat),
and “I Like Cacti” (inspired by Clementina's Cactus).
serenades and entertains listeners with classic songs as well, including covers
of Bob Dylan's “Forever Young” and the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis number “The
There are no
weak spots on this CD or on any of Kaplan's past CDs (Five Cent Piece was also released a year ago, at the
same time as Loquat Rooftop),
nor will there be, I predict, on any of his future CDs. This guy is what makes
children and family music listenable and cool. BC
© Baltimore’s Child Inc. October 2010