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March 31, 2011

New Music: Grandkid Rock

It was a little alarming to realize that anyone from the current wave of kids' musicians had yet released enough music to compile a greatest-hits album. (Yet another sign I'm getting old, I guess.) But sure enough, Daddy a Go Go (a.k.a. John Boydston), one of the pioneers of tunes for children that sound good to their parents, too, has put out seven CDs in the last 10 years.

And so for his latest, Grandkid Rock, Boydston decided to take a look back, remixing, remastering, and reissuing 16 favorites from his previous output. Like most "best of" compilations, the result is an ideal way for the uninitiated to get a taste of what the artist is all about. In the case of Daddy a Go Go, that's good old classic rock-'n-roll with a decidedly southern bent, reminiscent of everyone from George Thorogood and Neil Young to early R.E.M and (I'm about to date myself once more) the Georgia Satellites, with tinges of '90s alternative bands like Cracker and Belly thrown in for good measure.

What put Boydston on the map originally—and has kept him there ever since—is that his guitar rock really, well, rocks; he was among the first to recognize that kids don't need this music to be watered down in the slightest. (I submit as evidence my own two-year-old, who immediately began grooving to the opening chords of the first track, "I Wanna Be an Action Figure.") It doesn't hurt that the musicianship and the skills throughout are (ahem) rock-solid, either.

The lyrics are the typical kid-topical, though Boydston keeps his tongue firmly in cheek throughout (e.g., song titles like "For Those About to Walk, We Salute You"). But whether he's keeping the kids happy by singing about finishing vegetables or embarking on a rockin' cover of "What a Wonderful World," parents will be thrilled to find that they're doing a little head-nodding to these songs, too.

[Image courtesy of Daddy a Go Go]

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