Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kid Music For Adults - Z and I Bond With Dan Bern's '2 feet tall'

Dan Bern was already my favorite contemporary song writer/singer before I took his songwriting class last fall.  

At that time I bought his CD "2 feet tall" knowing I'd have someone to listen to it with.

It's his first children's album, inspired by his own daughter.

Z and I listened to it as much as I could get away with while we were in Seattle with her.  The music sounds simple, but the melodies proved tricky when I tried to sing along, or worse, sing them on my own.  And the lyrics are fine for a baby or three year old, but the parents will hear their own stories.  For instance  'Milk' - has a chorus for the baby and then there's more for the parents which the baby will eventually grow to understand.  Here's a bit:

milk milk milk milk
milk milk milk milk
just milk (slurp slurp)
just milk (slurp slurp)

there’s kung pao chicken and garlic naan
green beans, walnuts, custard, flan
fish that’s filleted and beef that’s ground
but for now you’re a milk hound
And I had great appreciation for this song on Z's 6th week birthday:
you never give me sass or walk out of the room
you never chase the kittens around with a broom
you never say, I’m not coming in from the cold 
perfect little angel
6 weeks old
you never talk back to me
or monopolize the phone
you never say go away leave me alone
you never demand slippers made of gold
perfect little angel
6 weeks old

The 12 year old was too old for this - "why are you listening to this stupid stuff about the monkey and the kangaroo going to tea?"  And Dan's Dylanish voice didn't appeal to him either.  But as I said, the music is surprisingly complex - just try to sing it.  Dan's a very talented, imaginative, and sly singer. 
You grew, you grew, 
You grew you grew you grew
You grew, you grew, 
You grew you grew you grew

No authorities were notified,
No papers were filed
We’ll keep it between us
We’ll keep it on the sly
 But you have to hear these words with the music, and you can listen to short clips here.

Every parent, when alone with their baby, makes up silly songs.  But when a talented singer, songwriter with a wicked imagination does that, it makes a great album.  These are his silly songs.

And there are a lot of songs on this album.  They're each my favorite when they're playing, but here are a couple that have particularly grabbed me:
  • 5 Things  - have you ever heard 1-5 sung so sweetly?
  • Perfect Little Angel - right through my heart
  • You Grew  - great for dancing with your baby to get the milk digested
  • Screamin Dreamin - another sweet song to sooth a baby/toddler and any parent or grandparent can appreciate

So, while other people are giving clothes and blankets and Good Night Moon, here's a great gift for new baby. 

And poking around to find the audio I also found out that Dan will be at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium in Anchorage on April 6.   For the rest of you, his schedule (at the link) includes Salt Lake City,  three Colorado concerts, two in Iowa, and Winnipeg

BTW, it seems I cut out some of the songs in the image.  Here are the rest:

Watchin Over You

Labor Day

Favorite Cat

Monkey and the Kangaroo

Naked Outside

8 Weeks Old

Tomorrow is Another Day

Lulu's Lullaby 2

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