Sound Off!

Tunes for Little Ones

by Kathy O’Connell

San Francisco trio The Hipwaders’ Educated Kid is an entertaining, musically righteous collection from a band with a solid foundation in music for adults.

“I’ll always have your back if you promise not to squeal” from “Little Baby Brother” sets the tone for the CD. Educated Kid delivers on songwriter Tito Uquillas’ quest to “sing about things that I would have liked to hear as an 8-year-old.” The title song opens with “clown college” and expands into a litany of ways to “pursue your passion, do what you love, persevere, you’ll rise above” with a pop flavor kids will love.

I librarian-tested their song of praise to the “Dewey Decimal System” and learned the band did their research on how that system works. Check out the catchy refrain about the man who created it.

The key to appealing to little ones is to personalize information, like explaining the earth’s formation in terms ending with “then came you” on “The History of Declan Rae,” written for the composer’s son. I’ll overlook the odd spelling of “Geometrey” and applaud the song’s success in explaining “the shape I’m in, the shapes I see.” Good information plus good music equals a wonderful addition to any home or school. Find The Hipwaders at www.hipwaders.net

Info and Advice
Younger siblings of The Hipwaders’ fans will enjoy the world of Rocknoceros, another male trio with a great sound. Rocknoceros wins my “clever album title” award with their new Dark Side of the Moon Bounce CD.

“Blast Off!” in a “spaceship fit for tots” with some solid educational ideas for little ones. Rocknoceros segues from a Buck Owens-like guitar song (“These Hands’ that hang down from my arms”) to a Caribbean-flavored sea song about a captain whose only rule was “No Bananas on the Boat.”

A vaudevillian banjo backs up good advice on “Brush Your Teeth.” The mournfully lovely “Pluto” turns into a song about being left out. No time to stay reflective as a rocking celebration of space and “Apollo” follows. While the sound of the CD is sophisticated, the subjects never venture far from the young crowd, shown best in the outstanding samba on “We Go Potty.”

If there’s such a thing as a tuba fan, alert him to “(I Wish We Used) the Metric System,” which reasons “but we don’t, so we gotta learn the other one.” This album touches on science, math, and health for little ones. It’s a triple happiness. Find Rocknoceros at www.rocknoceros.com

Recess Time
With so much educational music, everybody needs recess. Rocker Joe McDermott brings the fun with Everybody Plays Air Guitar. The title song includes “your great old uncle who used to be a punk, hipster rads, balding dads.”

“Sport Comes to the Rescue” is a rocking love song to a dog that “helps me every day.” “Momma’s Gonna Have a Baby” is a richly orchestrated story of a kid who’s “been making some wishes lately, and one of them just came true.” You have to love McDermott’s doo-wop “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” He’s at www.joemcdermottmusic.com

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the award-winning Kids Co?rner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.