The Year in Music for Kids

fromWXPN

Kids' music is like any other kind of music: It comes in virtually every style and stripe, and it varies wildly in quality. Not coincidentally, the best kids' albums of 2007 have appeal for kids and adults alike, and are suitable for listening even while the whole family is trapped together during a long car ride.

Kathy O'Connell, host of WXPN's Kids Corner in Philadelphia, chooses her favorite kids' music of the year, starting with an inventive collection by a band called Recess Monkey.

Recess Monkey

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  • "Pool"
  • Album: Wonderstuff
  • Artist: Recess Monkey
  • Released: 2007
 

A brilliant, multilayered concept album of stories and songs heavily influenced by '60s rock. If Brian Wilson had written for kids, he would have created "The Pool," a song of yearning for time to pass while waiting to jump back in the water after lunch. (from Wonderstuff)

Candy Band

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A nice rhythmic mix of original and classic songs, performed by punk-rock moms with candy-bar names. These women avoid cloying sweetness by sounding like real moms. (from Calling All Kids)

Down at the Sea Hotel

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  • "Midnight Lullaby"
  • Album: Down at the Sea Hotel
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Secret Mountain
  • Released: 2007
 

A beautiful collection of lullabies based on a Greg Brown song, this book/CD package combines songwriters (Brown, Tom Waits, Billy Joel, Nanci Griffith) with folksingers (John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, Guy Davis, Eliza Gilkyson) in a match made in heaven. (from Various Artists, Down at the Sea Hotel: Singer-Songwriter Lullabies)

The Asylum Street Spankers

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  • "When I Grow Up"
  • Album: Mommy Says No!
  • Artist: Asylum Street Spankers
  • Label: Yellow Dog
  • Released: 2007
 

A varied mix of musical styles ranging from hard-rock screaming ("Mommy Says No!") to jazz ("Everybody Loves My Baby") to twang. As an added bonus, this CD includes one of the most disgusting songs ever ("Boogers"). (from Mommy Says No!)

Buck Howdy & BB

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  • "Wiggle, Waggle, Wave"
  • Album: Chickens
  • Artist: Buck Howdy/BB
  • Label: Prairie Dog Entertainment
  • Released: 2007
 

Bird-themed cowboy twang from the leading proponent of cowboy music for kids. The friendly clarity of Grammy-nominated Howdy's voice reaches young voices with humor that never gets too silly.

For the Kids III

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  • "Poopsmith Song"
  • Album: For the Kids III
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: RCA
  • Released: 2007
 

For the Kids III is the third in a series that features independent artists playing a unique take on music for kids. This one includes Dar Williams, The Sippy Cups, Moby and Over the Rhine, whose song offers useful instructions on where poop goes. (Hint: It goes in the potty.) (from For the Kids III)

Peter Himmelman

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  • "Have You Ever Really Looked at an Egg?"
  • Album: My Green Kite
  • Artist: Peter Himmelman
  • Label: Rounder
  • Released: 2007
 

An outstanding collection of kid-friendly music with rock leanings from the Grammy-nominated Peter Himmelman. Any album that includes the word "schmendrick" (in "My Feet") is worth finding. "My Father Is an Accountant" teaches that heroes can be found in every profession. (from My Green Kite)

Sweet Honey in the Rock

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  • "Do What the Spirit Say Do"
  • Album: Experience...101
  • Artist: Sweet Honey in the Rock
  • Label: Appleseed
  • Released: 2007
 

These women perform inspiring vocal miracles. Experience...101 is aimed at a middle-school-aged audience, honoring the elders while looking toward the future. (from Experience...101)

The Dream Jam Band

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  • "Brush Your Teeth"
  • Album: Dream Jam Band
  • Artist: The Dream Jam Band
  • Released: 2007
 

The freshman production by this collection of rockers offers a hint of greatness. The band sounds more tart than sweet as it laments the habit of "Jumping to Conclusions." Meanwhile, "Bike" mixes a classical melody with two-wheeled joy. (from The Dream Jam Band)

Father Goose

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  • "Bam Bam"
  • Album: It's a Bam Bam Diddly
  • Artist: Father Goose
  • Label: Festival Five
  • Released: 2007
 

A solo recording by Dan Zanes' cohort, this island-influenced collection of rhythmic tunes gets silly and profound at the same time. It's a Bam Bam Diddly smartly responds to kids' natural appreciation of reggae rhythms. (from It's a Bam Bam Diddly)

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Down at the Sea Hotel

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  • Album: Down at the Sea Hotel
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Secret Mountain
  • Released: 2007
 

Mommy Says No!

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  • Album: Mommy Says No!
  • Artist: Asylum Street Spankers
  • Label: Yellow Dog
  • Released: 2007
 

Wonderstuff

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  • Album: Wonderstuff
  • Artist: Recess Monkey
  • Released: 2007
 

Chickens

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  • Album: Chickens
  • Artist: Buck Howdy/BB
  • Label: Prairie Dog Entertainment
  • Released: 2007
 

For the Kids III

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  • Album: For the Kids III
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: RCA
  • Released: 2007
 

My Green Kite

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  • Album: My Green Kite
  • Artist: Peter Himmelman
  • Label: Rounder
  • Released: 2007
 

Experience...101

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  • Album: Experience...101
  • Artist: Sweet Honey in the Rock
  • Label: Appleseed
  • Released: 2007
 

Dream Jam Band

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  • Album: Dream Jam Band
  • Artist: The Dream Jam Band
  • Released: 2007
 

It's a Bam Bam Diddly

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  • Album: It's a Bam Bam Diddly
  • Artist: Father Goose
  • Label: Festival Five
  • Released: 2007
 

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