Recently Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom was blogging about Kiddie music that made her crazy. It started me thinking about the music my kids listened to when they were young. For the most part we insisted on control of the remote, particularly where a certain purple dinosaur was concerned. But we were gifted with several kidz Bop and Wee Sing Cd's that could easily make a mama crazy. But for the most part I was able to find fairly tolerable music choices for the kids and would like to share a few.
You can't ever go wrong with Sesame St, The Muppet Show, or Fraggle Rock, all aimed at kids but never boring. Seek out the early Sesame St when people like Joe Raposo were writing classics like Sing a Song and Its Not Easy Being Green. Another one we sang endlessly was I Don't Want to Live on the Moon. There is the added joy for parents of hearing the characters voiced by the original Muppet performers, but Elmopalooza is a nice compilation of human performers dueting with various Muppets. The Muppet Movie sound track has some great music on it, both fun and serious, and no child should grow up without The Rainbow Connection. If you want to get a little deeper, Fraggle Rock has some of the silliest, and some of the deepest, music ever made for kids. For the most part any show from Children's Television Workshop or Henson Associates usually has decent music.
Most of the music I played for the kids when they were small came from mainstream musicians who recorded kids albums or individual kid songs. We also put together cassettes and Cd's of singles when whole albums weren't available (this is what folks did in the days before MP3 play lists)
Kenny Loggins Return to Pooh Corner came out just before our son was born, so we acquired a copy. In addition to his rerecording of House at Pooh Corner (in which the boy from the original song finally gets back home after giving his bear to his own small child) it featured recordings of a number of classic songs suitable for children, including The Rainbow Connection,Pure Imagination from Willie Wonka (Gene Wilder even does a cameo as Willie Wonka), The Last Unicorn, Somewhere Out There, and John Lennon's Love.
Peter, Paul and Mommy (Peter,Paul and Mary) is maybe the best kids album ever. With a combination of folk songs and original pieces, the album deservedly won the Grammy for best children's recording. Admittedly too many choruses of "Going to the Zoo" on a trip to the zoo can make you a little squirrelly, but overall this album stands up to massive replaying. It was a favorite of mine as a kid also, and I have to say that I have owned copies of this album in every format except 8tracks. My kids favorites from the album were All through the night, Day is Done, and of course Puff the Magic Dragon. A favorite of my children that isn't on that album is Stewball. I have to add that most Peter Paul and Mary recordings are great for kids. This is where my kids first heard Blowing in the Wind, If I had a Hammer, and This land is Your Land among many other classics.
And some individual songs...
Baby Tree--I first learned this song from a guitarist friend who only later told me it was originally recorded by Paul Kanter and Grace Slick. It is one of the cutest baby songs I have ever heard though, and has a great melody to sooth a child to sleep.
Scarlett Ribbons--One of my daughters favorite songs when she was small, this ballad of a father who hears his daughter wish for ribbons in her bedtime prayer, and worries thru the night that he cant fulfill the wish, only to have her find the ribbons on her pillow in the morning . Harry Belafonte did a superb recording of the song, with a nice Caribbean flavor.
City of New Orleans--I traveled a lot by Amtrak when the kids were small and they loved trains so this song was a natural for them.
Wonderful Baby by Don McLean
Circles by Harry Chapin
The Unicorn by the Irish Rovers (The Irish Rovers have a lot of songs that are great for kids, by the way, including The Biplane Evermore, and Stop, Look, and Listen, but this is the classic. Other people recorded it too, but theirs is the best.
So these are some of the songs I sang or played repeatedly to the kids without losing my mind. What songs did you play?