Monday, February 05, 2007

Nursery Days


A while ago I was thinking how sad it is that my kids are growing up without listening to the folk music that I listened to and loved as a kid. I was raised on folk music. It helped to shape who I am today. When I was young I liked the songs just because I thought they were fun to sing along to. As I got older I started to think about what the songs actually meant and what that meant to me. It's not a stretch to say that the music I listened to as a kid helped to turn me into an adult who often looks at what's going on the world and says "What in the hell is all this about and can't something be done about this?".

So you can see why I would want to pass the gift of folk music on to my kids. I knew that an abrupt switch from what the kids usually listen to would not go over well. So I looked for something that would be a good way to ease them into how great folk music really is. And I found Woody Guthrie's Nursery Days.

Ok, I love Woodiy Guthrie. I loved him as a kid and I love him still. This cd is ...... not good. It sounds like someon's drunken uncle sittinng on the front porch and yelling out whatever comes into his head. How can I get my children to love folk music with this rambling/yodeling playing on the cd player?

The worst part is that the cd back cover says the cd comes with "Woody Guthrie's wonderful instructions about how these songs should be used by parents and children alike". The instructions read like someone's drunken uncle sitting on the porch and writing a letter to the editor of his local paper. Some parts are ok but some parts you almost can't understand. Like this: "Please, please, please, don't read nor song my songs like no lesson book, like no text for today. But, let them be a little key to sort of unlock and let down all of your old bars. I'm not trying to bait not trick the little fellers into tearing through all of their fun to my songs. I know the kids will blow their tops."

Huh, you don't say. So here's the question? Is it me? Have I been ruined forever by the slick, over-produced music of the Backyardagains and the Disney Channel? Have I lost some of the childish wonder and love for pure music that I used to have? Or is it possible that this really is a bad cd? All I know for sure is that this attempt to introduce the kids to the joy of folk was not succesful. My hope is that my next attempt goes better than the last one did.

4 comments:

Kel-Bell said...

The picture on the front of the album is pretty scary. I think it may just be a bad CD... try out some old Fred Penner, that Raffi-like fellow who had his own show when I was little. I'm sure you can find his music somewhere. It's folky and child oriented, perhaps a better choice than the scary Woodie Guthrie...

shyestviolet said...

wow... is that, like, a translation from english to some language, and then back to english again?

best of luck to you. it's hard to find kid-friendly music that adults can handle, too. I gave my goddaughter jack johnson's music from curious george, and tony bennett's playground. good stuff.

Jill said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. We really like Dan Zanes in our house... he takes folk songs and makes them fun for kids and easy for adults to listen to.

jj said...

check out liz mitchell - youaremyflower.org. she does a bunch of songs by guthrie, elizabeth cotten, carter family, etc.

hands down my favorite records for kids.