Is anybody under five ALIVE out there!!
September 16, 2014 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Am I missing a major children's music artist?

I feel I have a pretty darn good childrens music collection.

My upbringing has me favor folk, Guthrie, Seeger, The Weavers, Ella Jenkins and through that I have found some other interesting artists like Sam Hinton. I think I am covered in that area.

Of course The Point

When Dan Zanes started putting out children's CD, I went whole hog, saw him every year with my kids at Royce Hall, UCLA, own pretty much all the CD's, that lead to wonderful discoveries such as Elizabeth Mitchell, Lisa Loeb's collaboration, They Might Be Giants, and more recently Renee and Jeremy. Of course there are also some good one offs like Mary Had a Little Amp, Ziggy Marley's children album, etc.

But alas, I am pretty worn out on these discs and wonder if there is something I am missing. "I", yes "I" much prefer the Renee and Jeremy discs to anything more "loud" and kidderish.

Thanks All!
posted by silsurf to Media & Arts (64 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
Under the "one offs" category, Snacktime by The Barenaked Ladies.
posted by GuyZero at 3:07 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Raffi and Laurie Berkner.
posted by Biblio at 3:07 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Okee Dokee Brothers. Their first cd "Can You Canoe?" is based on their canoe trip down the Mississippi River, and won the Grammy for Best Children's Album. They recently released "Through the Woods", based on their walk on the Appalachian Trail, which my daughter and I have really enjoyed listening to and singing along with.

In the less folk-y, more pop category, there's The Pop Ups, which are also very enjoyable.

Have you heard Trout Fishing in America? A friend gave us "Big Trouble" as a baby gift and we've listened to it quite a bit.
posted by mogget at 3:17 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Honestly haven't heard much of the kids stuff they've done this millennia, but there is no greater kids album than Big Trouble. Featuring Big Trouble, When I was a Dinosaur, Lullaby and of course Proper Cup of Coffee.

They're getting creaky, but you might also be able to find a video of their version of Dueling Banjos where Keith holds his double bass over his head.
posted by theweasel at 3:17 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Caspar Babypants
posted by Diddly at 3:18 PM on September 16, 2014 [6 favorites]

I was also going to mention Raffi. There's a ton of these. Wikipedia category, Children's musicians.
posted by Jahaza at 3:19 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's a one-off, but if you don't have it already: Medeski, Martin & Wood's Let's Go Everywhere is fantastic.
posted by usonian at 3:20 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seconding The Okee Dokee Brothers.

Katryna and Nerissa Nields

Mr. G
posted by carrioncomfort at 3:21 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Raffi is the best.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:24 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Big Trouble" also features the delightful nursery rhyme polka song, "The Window".
posted by mogget at 3:26 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 Raffi! My spouse and I can't really tolerate children's music, but Raffi's all right. Though Bananaphone is a hell of an earworm.

Hap Palmer is also worth a listen.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:28 PM on September 16, 2014

Alastair Moock! My kids have loved his music. It's fun, playful, and steeped in the folk tradition.

Also look for Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem's kids album Ranky Tanky.
posted by SobaFett at 3:32 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

You should also check out Carol King's Really Rosie.
posted by nalyd at 3:33 PM on September 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

Laurie Berkner was tops in my family.
posted by AMyNameIs at 3:33 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really love Lullatone.

Not dissimilar from They Might Be Giants and some Barenaked Ladies, a lot of I'm From Barcelona is kid friendly too... Songs about having to wear glasses, getting the chicken pox, having a bad day etc. (mostly cheery though!).
posted by jrobin276 at 3:45 PM on September 16, 2014

Caspar Babypants! And pirate music! Captain Bogg and Salty! If you like that stuff, they (Loren Hoskins and Kevin Hendrickson) star as Sharky and Bones in Disney's Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and the soundtracks are pretty solid.
posted by maniactown at 3:48 PM on September 16, 2014

OMG Steve Songs!
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:51 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by tristeza at 3:55 PM on September 16, 2014

Raffi brings back such memories!
posted by radioamy at 4:16 PM on September 16, 2014

If you want to check out more kids music, WTUL has a kids show with lots of good stuff on Saturday mornings. Uncle Chris is a great guy. It looks like you can access his playlists as well.
posted by radioamy at 4:19 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's the For the Kids compilations (1, 2, 3).

We also enjoy The Sippy Cups; they tend to be mostly (all?) covers, sometimes modified to fit the younger audience... like "I Wanna Be Elated".

And the Imagination Movers are more rock, but huge with the almost 5-year old resident here.

All are things I enjoy as well as the kids...
posted by neilbert at 4:24 PM on September 16, 2014

Wee Hairy Beasties:
'No one has ever accused the Mekons of being an especially "family friendly" ensemble, but two longtime members of the Leftist Punk Band That Refuses To Die -- guitarist and singer Jon Langford and vocalist Sally Timms -- have decided to take a stab at the children's music market, and the result is an unexpected delight. As the Wee Hairy Beasties, Langford and Timms team up with alt country chanteuse Kelly Hogan and the rollicking acoustic trio Devil in a Woodpile, and on Animal Crackers they've cooked up 14 tunes lively enough to please even the most fidgety youngster, and which are also witty, swinging and guaranteed to make the grown-ups in the room tap their toes.'
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:24 PM on September 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure I understand the parameters of your question but Sharon, Lois, and Bram (best know for Skinammarink and One Elephant Went Out To Play) and Anne Murray (Hippo In My Bathtub) were the records of choice in my (Canadian) childhood.
posted by hydrobatidae at 4:29 PM on September 16, 2014

Jason of Jason and the Scorchers fame, grew up, became a dad, and bought a farm, or something like that. It's some of the few kids' music I actually like. He has his own website - Farmer Jason, where you can purchase music or you could take a listen to some of his music on youtube. He definitely isn't that well know, but totally worth it for A Day At The Farm With Farmer Jason (2003). We also like Rockin' In The Forest With Farmer Jason (2006), which has the song, Punk Rock Skunk, which is pretty darn fun. Okay, so not major, I guess, even in Nashville, but trust me and give him a try.
posted by dawg-proud at 4:31 PM on September 16, 2014

Members of the now disbanded Girlyman recently recorded a delightful children's album as Django Jones.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 4:40 PM on September 16, 2014

Malvina Reynolds
posted by fourpotatoes at 4:42 PM on September 16, 2014

You say you're set with folk, but have you heard John McCutcheon yet?
posted by lakemarie at 4:47 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mike and Michelle Jackson were huge in Australia in the 80s, if you're looking for something a little different - Bunyips, Bunnies and Brumbies is a good album to start with.

The current hotness among the under-fives here in the UK is Justin Fletcher - Hands Up and We're All Friends are the albums.
posted by goo at 5:07 PM on September 16, 2014

In more "punk band turns to kid's music out of exhaustion" news: The Get Up kids became the Terrible Twos.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:17 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is great affection in this house for The Biscuit Brothers.
posted by Kangaroo at 5:18 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Michael Franti!
posted by punchtothehead at 5:25 PM on September 16, 2014

Oh yes the Imagination Movers! So much fun. I babysat for a 4-year-old who LOVED them.
posted by radioamy at 5:25 PM on September 16, 2014

Sesame Street has popular guest artists sing kid versions of their popular songs that are actually quite entertaining: Train, Destiny's Child and NSync.
posted by FiveSecondRule at 5:32 PM on September 16, 2014

Response by poster: AWESOME
posted by silsurf at 5:42 PM on September 16, 2014

Also check out the Greasy Kid Stuff archives. WFMU.
posted by Mothlight at 5:46 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Aquabats. In addition to being a band, they're also superheroes.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:54 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Peter, Paul and Mary?
More local to my neighborhood - Mister Stinkyfeet and The Doo-Dads (sorry, you'll have to Google, links from my phone are a PITA.)
posted by jferg at 6:38 PM on September 16, 2014

posted by bibliogrrl at 6:48 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and also The Bottle Let Me Down - Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides. It's a one off, but oh man is it an excellent album.
posted by bibliogrrl at 6:49 PM on September 16, 2014

In the kiddie folk vein, do you have Tom Chapin or Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer?
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:54 PM on September 16, 2014

Just here to second Captain Bogg and Salty as the best pirate band for kids ever.

It's a terrible, terrible shame that Disney tore the band apart when they offered Loren an offer he couldn't refuse while refusing to take the rest of the band for the show. Makes my blood boil.
posted by umbĂș at 7:04 PM on September 16, 2014

seconding the aquabats. I went to a show on their last tour and there were approximately eleventy million kids there.

their opener was koo koo kangaroo and a lot of the kids really seemed to like them.
posted by kerning at 7:23 PM on September 16, 2014

Not a major artist in this area, obviously, but we play Los Lobos' "Papa's Dream" regularly.

The Folksways catalog includes loads of wonderful, life-affirming, little-known children's music.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:28 PM on September 16, 2014

Rick Charette is awesome. Also Laura Veirs put out a good children's album.
posted by unreasonable at 7:28 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

In case you missed it somehow: Caspar Babypants is Chris Ballew, formerly of The Presidents of the United States of America, a band which was already producing music just a few lyrical changes away from danceable silly kids' tunes. I don't own any Caspar Babypants albums but I have sampled a few tracks and I'm confident in saying that I could listen to one all the way through without losing my mind, which is more than I can say for most other "kids music" to which I've been subjected.
posted by komara at 7:51 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love Charlotte Diamond still!
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:26 PM on September 16, 2014

My toddler is obsessed with Kate Rowe at the moment, particularly Fred the Dog and Space Rabbits of Brocklevoons.
posted by gnimmel at 1:11 AM on September 17, 2014

Kimya Dawson - Alphabutt
posted by stinker at 1:39 AM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

The legendary band NRBQ made one amazing kids album, "You're Nice People You Are."
posted by jbickers at 5:47 AM on September 17, 2014

Justin Roberts has a bunch of albums and is awesome.
posted by kestrel251 at 6:28 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sugar Free Allstars - Songs I remember are Disco Dance Party and Rock Awesome. Also enjoy TMBG and Kimya Dawson.
posted by mgogol at 6:40 AM on September 17, 2014

I love Phil Rosenthal's folk albums for children.
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:19 AM on September 17, 2014

This was on NPR a few days ago and may point you in the direction of at least two new artists you've never heard of before.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 7:54 AM on September 17, 2014

Animal Alphabet Songs is the greatest. The artist is Dan Polansky, with some other singers on there as well.

I don't really care for his other CD but AAS is wonderful.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:58 AM on September 17, 2014

Two Feet Tall by Dan Bern.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:43 AM on September 17, 2014

Another wonderful "one off": Let's Go Everywhere by Medeski Martin & Wood.
posted by mefireader at 8:56 AM on September 17, 2014

Tom Paxton? We had the album Goin' to the Zoo when my kid was little, but there are other kids' albums by him. Schooner Fare has a kids' album. Jerry Garcia and David Grisman - Not for Kids Only.

I discovered Trout Fishing in America while driving off the road laughing listening to WXPN's Kids' Corner - probably they are a good resource. (It was The Window that did it.)
posted by you must supply a verb at 9:58 AM on September 17, 2014

Robbie Shaefer!
posted by bondcliff at 11:08 AM on September 17, 2014

Response by poster: Great suggestion one and all, thanks to you from me and my children!
posted by silsurf at 11:22 AM on September 17, 2014


Our SteveSongs phase is long past, but I was singing the Water Cycle song to one of my kids -- in relation to their science class -- just last week!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:28 AM on September 17, 2014

Barry Louis Polisar
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:00 PM on September 17, 2014

Our toddler enjoys Sandra Boynton's music. Try out "Tickle Time" and "Snoozers"
posted by xorry at 1:03 PM on September 17, 2014

Caspar Babypants, seriously worth fourthing or however many time he's been mentioned.
posted by safetyfork at 9:01 AM on September 18, 2014

Is there a reason you're focusing on music classified as children's music? I ask because my 3 year old son enjoys a broad range of music. His favorite artist (at the moment) is Johnny Cash, and he likes Dolly Parton, The Clash, the Thompson Twins, Lorde and The Bombay Royale, plus songs from musicals like Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music. Of course, the trick is to make sure the songs are kid-appropriate, so we don't listen to The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas soundtrack any more, after kiddo started singing "Texas has a whorehouse in it" (that was adapted as "Texas has a horse house in it," and we told him that meant a barn, but I think he realizes we're singing a different word).

Because of that, pop/top 40 radio is not that reliable, but 80s stations are pretty good (that's where he heard the Thompsin Twins and The Clash), and classic Country stations are good, too. Then there are oldies stations, as those songs are generally quite safe (except for innuendos) and the songs are mostly fun and upbeat.

In this general vein, here's a previous question.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:50 AM on September 18, 2014

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