recess radio program

Animal Crackers
    by John Cech

How's this for a buzz of toe-tapping nonsense, from the Wee Hairy Beasties on their CD, Animal Crackers, from Bloodshot Records.

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We'd better stop there, or the Ragtime Duck will have us all unpacking our kazoos to play along with the duck-billed platypus. That may be the least you'll be doing on this recording, which someone has described as a "Kids' hootenanny." Remember those? Someone started a song, and we all joined in. It's a little hard to do with the Beasties' songs, though, until you've heard them through once or twice.They keep going off in their own directions, even if they were inspired by some soaring figures from rock and roll history, like the master of it all, Bo Diddley, as the Beasties do to sing a new song about the A. N. T.

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The glue that holds the Beasties together is the sheer vertiginous joy they take in making music. In the process, they change the little creatures and fragments of life that children notice in their worlds into some big-time, fantasy-charged characters -- like those classic glow worms, and like Cyril the Karaoke Squirrel and Lightnin' the Turtle. And just listen as Kelly Hogan and Sally Timms take a lost sliver of something pretty unlikely to be sung about, and turn it into the quirky, magical space where all questions and contradictions seem to linger in the air.

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Copyright 2007 John Cech

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Monday, 28-May-2007 17:42:44 EDT

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