Non-annoying Traditional Kids CD's
July 8, 2008 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a recording of good traditional (American) children's songs.

You know, stuff like "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" and "Five Little Ducks." My definition of "good" is that my two-year-old can enjoy it and learn the songs, but it won't drive me crazy to listen to. No silly sound effects, just decent music. Do you know any anything that might fit the bill?
posted by Pater Aletheias to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Shameless self-link. We still have some of these. MeMail or order per website.
posted by nax at 10:28 AM on July 8, 2008

There are a ton of options at the Folkways website, although you'll have to click through on some of the more promising ones to see if they have the songs you want.
posted by OmieWise at 10:28 AM on July 8, 2008

We have this one, which is pretty good. The singing voice is a little high and chirpy, but it's one of the least annoying CDs we have. Now I would like to pimp Philadelphia Chickens and Blue Moo, which you should own if you don't already.
posted by peep at 10:30 AM on July 8, 2008

Best answer: I'd reccomend Pete Seeger's children's albums, among them the Concert at Town Hall and American Folk Game and Activity Songs for Children.

This is not an endorsement of those particular retailers.
posted by Jahaza at 10:32 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You Are My Flower, by Ida.
posted by god hates math at 10:37 AM on July 8, 2008

Best answer: Sam Hinton's releases on Folkways, especially "Whoever shall have some peanuts."
posted by expialidocious at 10:42 AM on July 8, 2008

Best answer: Not For Kids Only by Garcia and Grisman is nice. Don't let the connection to The 'Dead turn you off, it's just real nice folksy kids songs. Like if your aging hippie uncle and his pal drank a few beers at the cookout and pulled out their guitars.

It's all traditional stuff like Freight Train, Ain't no bugs on Me, and Shenandoah.
posted by bondcliff at 10:45 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: god hates math kind of beat me to it, but here's the link to Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton's (aka, Ida) official site for their albums for kids.

Also check out Dan Zanes and Friends. It's not traditional kid's songs, but really cool, new original songs for kids. Dan Zanes' is the lead guy from Del Fuegos. And drummer Colin Brooks used to play in Sea Ray.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:46 AM on July 8, 2008

I would second the Pete Seeger recommendations above.

Far from traditional, but potential "future classics": I bought They Might Be Giants' Here Come The ABCs for a friend's daughter when she was three and she loved it, and still loves it at six years old.
posted by Shepherd at 10:50 AM on July 8, 2008

Also, a good mix of traditional and originals (that sound like traditional) is Songs for Kids Like Us, by Robbie Schaefer.
posted by bondcliff at 11:01 AM on July 8, 2008

Willie Nelson did this children's album with renditions of various old and new children's classics. Of course, towards the end of the album, he either ran out of children's songs or lost focus, because he inexplicably launches into a number of tracks which are totally not for children (e.g. "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"). Oh well, that's sort of fun too.
posted by Wavelet at 11:08 AM on July 8, 2008

I'd second Sam Hinton, Pete Seeger, and the Folkways collections - I remember growing up with these and Ella Jenkins' records (my folks just gave us "You sing a song, I'll sing a song" for our baby-to-be). Also, didn't Leadbelly do a kids' record?

Hinton, by the way, has some lesser-known child-and-adult-friendly songs he wrote while working at the Scripps Aquarium in San Diego (he was director in the 60s, I think)... if you or your kid are a marine science nerd (like me), you might look for them on iTunes.
posted by paselkin at 11:25 AM on July 8, 2008

seconding Pete Seeger (my guy loves "Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Fishes") also seconding Garcia & Grisman.

Jeanette Lambert's 'BeBop for Babies 2" is another great kids record (maybe 1 also, but I haven't heard). All traditional songs in a jazz arrangement.

Non-traditional or future classics: "The Bottle Let Me Down: Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides" a compilation of original & some classics for kids and "Really Rosie" by Carole King.

Can't wait to check out some of the recommendations on this thread.
posted by askmehow at 12:35 PM on July 8, 2008

Best answer: Oh boy, I grew up on Mike and Peggy Seeger's (half-sibs to Pete) American Folksongs for Children and loved it. It was my favorite album, period, between the ages of 2-5 or so.

I also really loved They Might Be Giants when I was a little older (not their music for children though, they didn't make that yet).
posted by bubukaba at 1:03 PM on July 8, 2008

Response by poster: Lots of great stuff here so far! Thanks. I'm sure I'll get a lot of these, especially Pete Seeger. And I love the albums by Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton. Finding them is worth the price of the question!
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:14 PM on July 8, 2008

My kids love Raffi, he does traditional and original music and I like dancing around to him.. I also really like Turkey Rhubarb.
posted by saucysault at 1:17 PM on July 8, 2008

Seconding Dan Zanes - tending towards traditional American music rather than classic kid's songs, but my little one loves it. Traditional and folk music are generally very accessible to kids.

There was a great album of music for children put out by the public radio program Sound and Spirit called Welcoming Children Into the World. Again, not classic kid's tunes but appropriate for child listening. You can get it direct from WGBH (link on the page I noted) or from Amazon etc. Nice because it includes cultural music from around the world.

I participate with my child in a program with materials from an organization called Music Together! - one of the perks is we get CDs of music with each class session. It doesn't look like they sell these CDs but they do have some collections for sale with their store (I'd guess the family favorites CD would be a good bet). More "classic kids tunes" with this material and very tolerable recordings with talented adult and child singers performing.

Pop and non-traditional but my kid also loves a compilation album by various current-day pop and other- artists called For the Kids.

I have found all of these very tolerable for repeated listening (and have been know to listen to Dan Zanes and Welcoming Children to the World simply for my own pleasure).
posted by nanojath at 1:50 PM on July 8, 2008

There's this one group that did nursery rhymes in the style of rock/pop bands. It's hilarious.
posted by divabat at 2:33 PM on July 8, 2008

Anything by Trout Fishing in America; hilarious and catchy tunes.
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 2:34 PM on July 8, 2008

Woodie Guthrie has some great children's music which my whole family loved when my children were smaller. The Trout Fishing in America video is very, very good. Beyond that, they start to get on my nerves though.
posted by keith0718 at 3:02 PM on July 8, 2008

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