Whimsy in children's music is a precious thing.
Anecdotally, years ago I told a friend that I was reviewing children's music. He responded that one of his college friends was in a band that played children's parties and had put out a CD. I asked if they wanted me to hear and possibly review it. He said, "They have a fairly large following already," as if getting additional exposure was a bad thing. I found them on the Internet and discovered that their song titles included "Pick Your Friends, Not Your Nose" and "Know Your Body, Use the Potty." The cover artwork featured two guys scrunching up their faces. High comedy indeed.
So I'm doubly pleased to report that actual humor in children's music is alive and well in the hands of Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke. The duo has released their second CD, PLEASED TO MEET YOU, produced by the ubiquitous Dean Jones.
We saw the duo perform at Kindiefest (nee Stink) in Brooklyn in 2009, but were familiar with their work from Bill Childs' Spare the Rock podcast. It was great fun to sing along to their infectious "Favorite Names."
Texas-raised Key Wilde met U.K. native Mr. Clarke in New York in the 1990s, where they began their musical collaboration. They ultimately turned to children's music and released the fanciful RISE AND SHINE in 2009. The pair revel in wordplay and silly situations that confront kids in their real and fantasy lives. PLEASED TO MEET YOU includes "Bigga Bagga," a ska tune with lyrical allusions similar to the works of Lewis Carroll and A.A. Milne. I'd appreciate someone explaining the song to me. Or don't.
"Lazy Raisins" is a reggae ode to getting out of the sun before you transform (into a raisin or prune). "Conversation" gives the point of view of a child stuck on the fringes of an adult talkfest and attempting to get a word in edgewise. The bouncy "King of the Town" sounds like it came from Jones' WHEN THE WORLD WAS NEW, and is over before you know it. "Chuckers" tells the fable of a legendary obese kitty:
Here comes Chuckers, here comes Chuckers, hear that fat cat roar.
Thirty-five pounds overweight and there's always room for more.
The only time he's sociable is when he's being fed.
Anything you've got, he'll eat the lot, anything that he can get.
Other standout tracks include "Raised by Trolls," an apology for bad behavior of all sorts and "Wander 'Round the World," a self-explanatory description of places Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke have either visited or plan to eventually explore.
While we've already met Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke (literally and figuratively), it's a pleasure to introduce them to others through PLEASED TO MEET YOU. They're rock, they're folk, they're ska, they're funny.
PLEASED TO MEET YOU is available from the duo's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.
Here is the video for Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke's new song, Animal Alphabet:
And a video for their "old" song, Rattlin' Can: