Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

From Da Street 

Yeah, like a lot of blogs lately Mystifying is losing ground to that Jim Lee gangblog. Sue me-- I've been trying to catch up on a couple of stories, the deadlines of which are like, nowsville. And I don't currently have any news or crank theories. I thought I might write about a cd, but the only music I've been able to hear lately is Songs from Sesame Street. Okay then, I'll talk about that.

The cd was already inescapable in the house once my toddler learned how to turn the player on, but now she knows we can play it in the car too, where for some reason she's less tolerant of the songs she doesn't like. So I hear "mo" (more, of course) from the backseat letting me know to advance to the next song. Happily, she usually wants to hear the same ones I want to, but if it's not jaunty enough, a good one might also get a "mo". My Sesame Picks:

The Sesame Street theme-- a classic, makes me remember childhood. Credited to "The Kids"

Sing--also credited to "The Kids", and I like their version much better than The Carpenters'. As a rule the world hates songs voiced by children, but this one works well that way.

Henson King of Eight--quick, fun, it's over fast.

Hi De Ho Man--Unlike a lot of cases where artists repurpose their old songs to fit a kids show, Cab Calloway just does his "hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi" thing like he always did, and it works fine for tots and adults.

Jellyman Kelly--though he's singing about some guy who loves jelly on toast, this could have been on any of James Taylor (Sweet Baby, The Man Who Was Born Old)'s albums. Has a tuba, too.

Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard--actually Jill likes this one more than me. Paul Simon teams up with a kid on this version, presumably a Julio. Doesn't change it otherwise, and it works fine.

Sweet-A-Little Baby--Pete Seeger, another old pro who knows how to entertain kids. All off-key and cool.

Pinball Number Count-- I don't like the more funky songs on the set, such as Stevie Wonder's completely out of place verison of 1-2-3 where he does the voice synthesizer. You expect Frampton to come on the show and do a wah-wah voice number next. But this one is by the Pointer Sisters, and is better than that. I don't know if kids like it though.

Nasty Dan-- You knew damn well at some point Johnny Cash would have to stop by and sing one of his novelty songs to Oscar the Grouch, and here it is. As with Pete seeger, it works great.

Sing After Me-- Madeline Kahn showing off her pipes with Grover repeating. One of my favorites.

C is for Cookie--This song has a message my daughter can get behind, a real kid pleaser. By Cookie Monster, of course.

Kiko and the Lavender Moon--Substituting "Elmo" for Kiko, Los Lobos do the most atmospheric number on the cd.

The Batty Bat-- This is a surprisingly good song by The Count, with gypsy style music that could have been done by Camper Van Beethoven.

Mah Na Mah Na-- a classic, all ages song that still works. Not originally by Muppets though everyone thinks that.

I Don't Want to Live On the Moon-- I always want to listen to this one but get "mo"-ed because it isn't peppy enough for Allie. Probably not enough to do for Aaron Neville, but he and Ernie make a fine team. I say lose one of the other Nevilles when they do the family albums and put Ernie in there.

Much of this third cd is stuff from the last ten years with the repurposed songs I was complaining of, like freaking Spin Doctors trying to foist Two Princes on us again. I have a lot of fatherly pride though once Hootie and the Blowfish try to come on and I hear a loud "MO!" give me clearance to advance the disc. Monster in the Mirror by Grover is good though, and we all like the Bert and Ernie But I Like You which lets Jill and me take parts. And Bert professes his love for lentil soup. Also has the overly catchy Put Down the Duckie by Ernie and Hoots the Owl--even more enjoyable if you see the video version with predictable guest spots by entertainers from the mid-80's like John Candy, PeeWee Herman, Danny DeVito, Jeremy Irons, etc. Also, Allie would probably like to put in a vote for Elmo's Song, la la la-la.

Yeah, you armchair parents, I hear you out there. "My kid is going to listen to stuff I like". Well then you better start liking Frank Oz' voice, bigshot. It's a compromise. Though I do get away with singing "Panic" by The Smiths to her at bedtime.


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