Oh man. A friend gave me some Raffi CDs for my son’s enjoyment. For those unfamiliar with the children’s singer/songwriter superstar, Raffi is the musical equivalent of waterboarding. His rhymes come at you so fiercely that he makes Tupac sound like Mother Goose. Sample lyric:
Willoughby wallaby wustin, An elephant sat on Justin.
Willoughby wallaby wania, an elephant sat on Tania.
It just doesn’t let up. Before you know it you’ve got Raffi streaming out of your ears and nostrils.
Fortunately, my son was indifferent, and I was able to return to the ass-tastic rump-thumpers that make him shake his money-maker. (When he dances, Fox leads with his butt.)
So for anyone looking for music that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults, here are the songs to which we keep coming back:
Zungguzungguguzungguzeng, by Yellowman
Reggae is such a natural style for babies and kids. It’s uplifting, uncomplicated, and the grammar is strikingly similar to how children form sentences. The above song by Yellowman has been a huge hit with Fox since he was about three weeks old.
Also in the reggae section, check out these two standout tracks:
Pass the Dutchie
by Musical Youth
I Got You Babe (live), by UB40
Nothing too obscure there. Pass the Dutchie is sung by actual youth who display a striking familiarity with smoking cannabis. The UB40 song is a cover of Sonny & Cher’s classic (duh). I’m partial to the more uptempo version from UB40’s album CCCP – Live In Moscow. But the studio version has Chrissie Hynde singing, and you won’t catch me saying anything against Chrissie. Here’s a taste:
(If you’ll indulge me on a tangent: one reason we suspect Fox is partial to reggae has to do with when he was in utero. While pregnant, my wife would insist I talk to the fetal Fox. I hated being put on the spot (what are you supposed to say to someone’s belly?) and felt very self-conscious. So my mini-rebellion was to speak to our fetus only in Jamaican patois. Sure enough, the moment Fox was born and they put him, crying, under the heat lamp like an order of small fries, the doula recommended I speak to my newborn because he “knew” my voice. I was skeptical, but played along, leaned in close and – in my most earnest rasta inflected accent – said, “Dun ya wurry Fox-mon. Eva-ree-ting gonna be oo-key.” He relaxed and quieted down immediately. True story.)
If you absolutely abhor reggae, there will be additional posts on groovalicious tunes you can enjoy with your spawn. Keep your eyes peeled for some rap, bluegrass, disco, and soul.