Sing Along! by Caspar Babypants is a fun album, which had its genesis in Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew) exploration of the call and response folk tradition, inviting kids to interact with these 20 songs. But this only one facet of the music here. “Bad Blue Jay” gets things started with a silly dialogue with a loud hungry bird. From there the album moves to the boogie woogie rhythms of “Wild Wild Time” and the fun tunes “Crawl” and “I Wanna Be A Snowman”, with its catchy polka-rhumba bongos and great lyrics, “I’m just a flake falling from the sky/But I wanna be a snowman”.
One of the great thing about a Caspar Babypants album is that not only are the songs entertaining and fun for kids, but that the music is inventive and never just settles for the easiest arrangements, with the instrumentation and styles containing a degree of complexity that keeps the music from getting stale for those repeated listenings (and there will be repeated listenings). Additionally, there are a myriad of guest performers lending a creative hand, which keeps things fresh from album to album. On Sing Along! there are guest vocals from the amazing Frances England on two songs, one of which is one of my favorites “Sun Go”, an appearance from Outtasite on the call and response of “Them Bones”, an impressive accordion solo by Weird Al Yankovic on “Long Long Dream” and bongos from Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard on several songs. One of the finest tunes is the final one, “Baby Cloud”, which features the vocals of Rachal Loshak and an acoustic guitar solo by Pete Droge, which both elevate the haunted melody like an old Scottish Aire. Among the great original tunes on Sing Along!, there are the aforementioned traditional folk melodies, which Caspar Babypants has given his genius turn in interpreting in new ways, including the banjo-driven “Ring Around The Rosie”.
This music is entertaining but at the same time does not settle for the easy way of same old, same old, proving that the best children’s music should possess a creative intelligence, not a dumbing down, because overall Sing Along! demonstrates once again that Caspar Babypants is one of the best children’s music artists out there these days, creating music with which kids (and parents) can find joy and grow.
Sing Along! by Caspar Babypants is out now.
A CD was provided for review.