02/06/02
Dan Zanes and Friends -- Rockin' Children's Music
    by John Cech

That 's Dan Zanes and the Rocket Ship Singers with Frank Loesser's old standard, "Bushel and a Peck" from the CD, "Rocket Ship Beach." If you want to bring the love of family music-making into your home this month, this CD, and another recording from Zanes called "Family Dance" will start your sing-along, strum-along, dance-along proceedings in real style. Zanes began his musical career in the 1980s with the Boston-based Del Fuegos, which he started, but his career took a new turn when he was looking for recordings for his young daughter. Nothing he heard quite fit, so he began making his own, hybrid versions of favorite game songs and show tunes, ballads and folk classics, enlisting the help of neighbors and friends like Suzanne Vega, Rosanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright III, and Sheryl Crow -- she's on the opening track of "Rocket Ship Beach" with a wonderful version of "Polly Wolly Doodle." Both CDs are inspired blendings of musical idioms -- songs from the Carribean islands from the Sandy Girls, rankin' don's rapped out nursery rhymes, and a moving version of the "Sidewalks of New York," which, after last September 11th, could well be heard as a poignant and joyful anthem of hope for the recovering city. Zanes wants to start what he calls "a family band movement." And when all the family members are as generous-spirited and talented as Zanes and his musical family are, it's a piece of fresh, delicious cake, on the back porch, between "The Hokey Pokey" and "Keep on the Sunny Side." If you want to find out more about that movement and that back porch, check out the Zanes Family website at www.festivalfive.com. Better yet, just buy these CDs and let their hand-made, heart-made music speak for itself.

Copyright 2002 by {John Cech

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Wednesday, 04-Sep-2002 22:21:38 EDT


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."