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Music Reviews

Randy's Buttons

September 27, 1995

Barnyard Beat

Sesame Street (Sony Wonder 1995) -- One is never too young to be serenaded by music. Our preschoolers are the newest target market of the music industry. Sony Music Studios has created Sony Wonder, a division dedicated to producing entertaining and educational music for our children and teenagers.

One of Sony Wonders' newest releases is a collection of three albums from the ever-popular Sesame Street program. Big Bird's Favorite Songs -- The Bird Is The Word entertains the audience with Big Bird's energetic and lively versions of "Wonderful Me," "I Just Adore '4'", "What Makes a Fly Fly", and the well-known favorite, "Y'all Fall Down."

The Bird Is the Word's songs touch on subjects familiar to children of all ages, such as colors, animals, numbers and themselves. The songs emphasize rhythm, melody, and repetition to give children a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Sesame StrretAnother great release is All Time Favorites -- Sesame Street Platinum, which includes all your favorite characters: Elmo, Oscar, The Cookie Monster, and of course, Big Bird. They sing fun and happy tunes your child will delight in singing along with.

The voices of these characters are very child-like, which make these recordings a natural attraction for children. However, the songs don't skimp on vocabulary by oversimplifying. Instead, they're a great way to expose your children to new words and to encourage questions.

Another feature I appreciated about this release was the number of tracks, 20 songs. To name just a few; "'C' Is For Cookie," "We Are All Earthlings," "Doin' The Pigeon," and "Bein' Green" are all standouts. Extra thanks to Big Bird for not giving preschoolers a dose of hokey country.

The final release in this entertaining series is a play-along entitled Elmo And The Baby Animals. (For all you new parents, this is a tape that accompanies a book.) This tape isn't restricted to a read-along with the book; our family has listened to it often just because we like it.

And it has an all-time favorite -- "B-I-N-G-O!" Who hasn't sung this song at sometime or tapped a toe to this tune? The story begins with Elmo and the Sesame Street players riding a school bus down a little narrow lane to meet Mr. and Mrs. Green at Sunnyside Farm.

With a smile, Mrs. Green suggests that the group start its tour in the pasture by meeting the many baby animals. The story grows as animal sounds are added; Elmo and the class describe each animal they met as they moooove throughout the farm.

The Bird is the WordTo keep the listener's attention, a short segment of "farm songs" introduces each animal. If you want your child feel like he's on a farm, or if you like the tune "BINGO," this tape is for you and your family.

Kudos to Sesame Street for releasing music that captivates the preschool audience. Sesame Street's longevity is due to smart planning, teaching by a variety of methods, and song. Music and lyrics are an alluring scheme to increase children's knowledge of the world around them.

And children can remember songs with ease. I recently watched a documentary on Alzheimer's Disease in which many patients couldn't remember such simple things as the time of day or the names of family members but could sing the lyrics to their favorite song perfectly. Music may have more powers in our subconscious than people realize. Don't leave your children out -- help them enjoy the fascinating world of music.

Barnyard BeatBarnyard Beat (Kids Rhino 1995) -- Howdy partners, now gathers all those youngin's around for some toe-tappin', hand-clapping jams. Rhino Records has married a golden combination for your youngster, rock 'n roll and animals.

Yes, this parody CD contains such remakes as "Beat It," "Barbara Ann," Conga," "Wild Thing," and our son's favorite, "Wipe Out," all as performed by your favorite animals. The bands are many canines, felines, fowl and marine mammals that are near and dear to our hearts.

For example, "Born To Be Wild" features the vocals of Chickenwolf, Cuds N' Roses jam on "The Lonely Bull," Ewe 2 rocks "Barbara Ann," and of course "Wipe Out" (which I have heard soooo many times) drums to Duck Dale & the Pig Tones. Oink oink.

Animal lovers young and old will marvel at the talents these animals possess and will want to own Barnyard Beat. What better way to entertain your fellow ruminants?

This humorous album will rock your socks off or maybe just give you a good chuckle. So saddle up them horses, ride over to your favorite watering hole, and put Barnyard Beat on the old player and crank 'er up. Don't forget to bring the family. You'll be in for a good down-home, foot-stomping evening of Livestock Rock.

-- Randy Krbechek

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