By John Wood
Music for children just gets better and better. We're delighted to be able to present winners that represent such a wide range of influences and styles - and thrilled that children everywhere can benefit from the diversity and excellence of performers who have their interests at heart!
Gold Award Winners
By John Wood
Not Naptime, by Justin Roberts, Hear Diagonally Records, 2003; $15.98; www.heardiagonally.com, 773-325-9259. While Roberts' voice and styling have been compared to James Taylor's, he has his own definitive voice that speaks to children. The 12 original songs on this new recording are clear and bright and directly hit the ups and downs of growing up.
Indian Elephant Tea, by Skip Ewing, Rounder Records, 2003; $14.98; www.rounder.com, 800-ROUNDER. One of Nashville's finest singer-songwriters turns his hand to some classic children's fare. This album has it all: inspired performances and juicy arrangements. You've just got to hear the "Itsy Bitsy Spider Took the 'A' Train." We think Duke Ellington would approve.
Uh-Oh!, by Peter Alsop, Moose School Music, 2002; $15; www.peteralsop.com, 310-455-2318. Respected songwriter, performer and educator Peter Alsop asks a peculiar question: What would happen if you could be magically transported back to preschool? Along with pals Bill Harley and Mar Harman, Alsop's hilarious 22-song collection boldly reverts to the world of diapers and innocence at breakneck speed with plenty of jokes for adults.
Fish Food, by Scotty & Lulu, Slurpy Sounds, 2002; $14.95; www.scottylulu.com, 877-429-5850. And now for something completely different - a little bit British music hall and a little bit off the wall, Scotty & Lulu never cease to surprise. Give it a go!
Watch Me Now!, by David Grover, Big Bear Music, 2003; $15; www.davidgrover.com, 212-421-0592. Great messages are wrapped up in this musical package that speaks to the heart and leaves you wanting more.
Amazing!, by Robin and Michael Goodrow, Goodrow Productions, 2002; $15; www.goodrowproductions.com, 707-584-5817. These crafty songs from experienced writers feature great players - including Tower of Power and Kenny Rankin among others - and terrific production. The result is, well - amazing!
Everywhere You Go, by Joe McDermott, True Blue Music, 2003; $14.99; www.joemcdermottmusic.com, 512-339-9528. A blast of fresh air out of Texas, McDermott's got the goods and delivers another splendid CD.
Moochas Gracias, by Anna Moo with Bo Diddley, Good Moo's Productions, 2002; $14; www.annamoo.com, 800-BUY-MY-CD; for ages 5 and up. This recording is a sweet surprise. Bo Diddley's still got it, and Anna Moo's spirit and sound production values make this CD a winner!
Honors Award Winners
Bad Mood Mom and Other Good Mood Songs, Jamie Broza, Good Mood Records, 2003; $14.98; www.badmoonmom.com. Four-time Emmy Award-winner Broza brings his songwriting chops and three-times-a-parent sensibilities and observations to 15 original and nicely produced tunes.
Bon Appetit, Cathy and Marcy Marxer, Rounder Records, 2003; $17.98 CD; www.rounder.com. Food never sounded so good! But in the talented and capable hands of Kathy and Marcy, it's just not surprising. Bon appetit, indeed!
Junior Jam 3, Jeff Eisenberg, Little Jems Music, 2003; $11.99 CD; www.juniorjam.com. ASCAP Award-winning songwriter, Jeff Eisenberg brings a '60s feel to his latest batch of original fast-paced tunes. Time to boogie down.
LollipopRock! 2, various artists, Lollipop Rock LLC, 2003; $14.99 CD; www.lollipoprock.com. This is a clever concept: Take some oldies, add kid-oriented lyrics, voices and talent, and the result is a catchy recording that both old-timers and youngsters will love.
The Magic Garden, Diane Tatum, Kidz 4 Kidz Productions, 2002; $14.99 CD; email@example.com. Truly magical. Charming performances by children, nicely crafted songs with excellent production. A treat for the entire family.
New Neighbors, Greggy Dee, Childlike Entertainment, 1996; $12.95 CD, $8.95 cassette; www.childlike.com. Positive themes are presented in an upbeat accessible style. Good vocals and production.
Pick Me, Pick Me, Jim Cosgrove, Hiccup Productions Inc., 2003; $14 CD; www.jimcosgrove.com. Cosgrove gives you the Jimmy-Buffet vibe that he's right there in your living room performing just for you.
Pick Me Up! Fun Songs for Learning Signs, Sign2Me, Northlight Communications, 2003; $36.95 CD and activity book; http://www.sign2me.com/shop/. Engaging original music teaches American Sign Language.
Put Your Groove On, Mr. Al, Child Like Consulting Inc., 2002; $14.95 CD; www.mralmusic.com. Mr. Al brings a variety of musical styles with a genuine rock feel to some familiar subjects - with a few surprises mixed in.
Rock the Day Away, Stephen Fite, Melody House, 2003; $14.95 CD; www.melodyhousemusic.com. Fifteen rockin' tunes with a fistful of activities for parent and teacher participation.
Song In My Pocket, Shana Banana, Big Cypress Records, 2002; $15 CD, www.shanabanana.com. These 16 original songs pulled from a magic pocket explore fireflies, popcorn, monkeys and "owies" - all in Shana's upbeat, inimitable way.
Why Can't I Be Normal?, Kathleen Gibson, Rompin' Records, 2003; $15 CD, $10 cassette; www.kathleengibson.com. Silly, sincere, and loving songs from an award-winning performer whose heart is in the right place.
To see winning albums for other age groups, return to NAPPA 2003 Award Winners: Music.
See also: NAPPA 2002 Award Winners: Music
John Wood is a veteran reviewer of music for children. You can read some of his past reviews at www.kidzmusic.com.