OWTK Kindie Album Reviews

OWTK NCAA Kid’s Music Tournament – Harmonica Pocket vs. Johnette Downing

Here we have the first game from The Singin’ in the Rain Region. This first contest pits two very different albums against each other, which is always fun to watch in the NCAA basketball tourney.

(2) The Harmonica Pocket “Ladybug One”

A common misconception among many parents and other adults with kids in their immediate family is that children’s music is bland, formulaic and generally mediocre (at best). For these poor souls, kid’s music brings to mind only the gimmick-filled antics of Barney and The Wiggles and that being the case, it’s no wonder they look down on the genre. Of course this assertion is utterly preposterous. There are more quality kiddie acts (successfully) working today than ever before – just think about the names one could spit out without even thinking too hard about it…They Might Be Giants, Dan Zanes, Justin Roberts, Elizabeth Mitchell, Gustafer Yellowgold just to name a few…it is a great time to be a music loving kid and parent. While most of us know modern kid’s music is anything but vanilla and cookie-cutter, it is not every day we come across a record like The Harmonica Pocket’s “Ladybug One”. This record is a trippy, mellow affair from start to finish that is best enjoyed in your pajamas while eating a big bowl of cereal (or a granola bar) on a Sunday morning. That is the essential vibe of this quiet album of insect-themed originals and reworked favorites such as “Twinkle Twinkly Little Star” and “O Susanna”. The gem of the disc is “Ladybug 123” which is featured on “Ladybug One” twice, once acoustic and again as a dub version (listen to it here!) – you don’t see that every day on a kid’s release!

Harmonica Pocket employ terrific artwork and cover layout on “Ladybug One” (love the font and text positioning, the weathered/wood-worn look of the background and of course the lovely ladybug) which, along with 50+ minutes of excellent music that was recorded “green” in a solar powered studio, complete a very cool package. Anyone who digs the Jack Johnson soundtrack to the Curious George movie will love this album. Listen to “La Luna” here.

Pick up a copy of “Ladybug One” from The Pokey Pup!


(5) Johnette Downing’s Dixieland Jazz for Children

Johnette Downing’s music, while new to me, is certainly not new to the global kid’s music industry. Rarely do you see someone bring to the table more awards, reviews and accolades than Ms. Downing does. Her new release sees her teaming up with Jimmy LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band (established 1916!) to produce an ode to Dixieland Jazz featuring original tunes and lyrics written especially for children. The disc is meant to serve as a child’s introduction to the musical traditions and dances, like the Charleston, of jazz – Dixieland style. With a song about the Charleston, it is fitting that this disc would be in the Singin’ in the Rain region. The Bear loves this track (link to listen below) and dancing the Charleston around the house. While this record is tailored for kids, “Dixieland Jazz for Children” is truly an authentic jazz record with an upbeat, happy spirit that will surely have any toddler or older child strutting around the house. A really fun collection of tunes!

Listen to “Got To Have That Swing” and “Do The Charleston” from “Dixieland Jazz for Children”. You can also get a good feel for Johnette Downing’s music here.

Vote for either The Harmonica Pocket or Dixieland Jazz for Children by midnight ET on Wednesday 3/26. Your comments will help decide the winner. Everyone that leaves a comment during the Tournament will have a chance to win the Final Four CDs. Comment on as many “games” as you wish, including the “Very Helpful Songs” vs. “Mr. Oscat Says…” and Thaddeus Rex vs. Gunnar Madsen contests, and increase your odds of winning. Thanks!

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