Laurie Berkner Sings Kids Songs for the Ages -- All Ages

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Laurie Berkner Band Critical Blast Dennis Russo

Okay, here’s the deal. I have been around a long time, and have seen many of the greatest musicians and bands from multiple genres live many times over. I have over 2000 LPs and 500 CD’s and listen to music dedicatedly every day. And I am also a bona-fide Laurie Berkner fan!

It started several years ago when my now teenage daughter was in single digits. We bought her many children’s music CDs from many artists, some with words, some without, and there was one artist in particular that rose to the top of her/our playlist: Laurie Berkner. Her music was/is so catchy, so upbeat, so tuneful that it didn’t matter if you were a kid or an adult, it sticks in your head and you can’t help but sing her songs to yourself. Then we’d see her videos on Nick Jr and that just let us enjoy her music all the more, because you could see just how much she enjoyed playing it.

Laurie’s arrangements are so different from all the others children’s musicians out there. The band is tight and the arrangements run the gamut from fairly simple to complex jazz-ish -- yet they fit the lyrics perfectly and are always easy to follow along. They don’t “dumb down” the musical experience just because the music is geared towards kids. We’d drive down the road, pop one of her CDs into the car stereo, and we’d all sing along -- and have a great time together doing it. And that is what music at its core is supposed to do, make us feel good, make us feel happy.

Fast forward a couple of years and the daughter is now listening to music of different sorts -- some I approve of and some I don’t even consider music by people I don’t even consider musicians (which sad to say is most of “pop” music today and has been for years). That aside, along comes this opportunity to review 6 digital albums from Ms. Berkner that will be released on June 16th.

Each album is themed and remastered for these digital albums. And while some “albums” have a song or so that appears on more than one, most are all different and each one has at least one of our (okay, my) favorite Laurie songs on it.

The albums are:

Laurie Berkner’s Animal Songs

Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)
The Goldfish
I Know A Chicken
Mouse In My Toolbox
Pig On Her Head
Party Day
Last Night I Had A Dream
We Are The Dinosaurs
Lots of Little Pigs
Fast And Slow (The Rabbit And The Turtle)
Do The Dragon
Farm Song (That's What I Did On The Farm)

Laurie Berkner’s Classroom Favorites

Bottle Caps
These Are My Glasses
I'm Me and You're You
My Family
The Story Of My Feelings
One Seed
I'm Not Perfect
What Is The Color Of My Dreams?
Clean It Up
I'm Gonna Catch You

Laurie Berkner’s Food Songs

Victor Vito
Fruit Salad Salsa
Where Is the Cake?
I Feel Crazy So I Jump In the Soup
The Pretzel Store
Choc-o-lot In My Pock-o-lot
The Valley of The Vegetables
The Cookie Bakers Of The Night
Popcorn Calling Me
(I'm Gonna Eat) On Thanksgiving Day
Rhubarb Pie (Hot Commodity)
Ice Cream Cone

Laurie Berkner’s Movement Songs

I'm Gonna Catch You
Monster Boogie
Shakin' Down The Sugar
All Around My Room
My Energy
Let's Samba
Balance Beam
I Really Love To Dance
Song In My Tummy
Shake Your Body Down
Five Days Old

Laurie Berkner’s Nature Songs

One Seed
Moon Moon Moon
Walk Along The River
In The Clouds
What Falls In The Fall?
Stars Are Shining
Just Like The Sun
All The Planets
After It Rains
Can You Imagine?
Like A Seashell
Running Down the Hill
Under A Shady Tree

Laurie Berkner’s Transportation Songs

Rocketship Run
The Airplane Song
Fast And Slow (The Rabbit And The Turtle)
Drive My Car
Magic Box
One More Stop On The Train
Blow A Kiss

I was wondering how the family would react when I cranked up the songs on my laptop. Would the missus and the offspring even remember the songs? Would they think me a silly old fool wanting to rekindle the simpler days of child rearing? I wasn’t sure, but it wasn’t long once I started before I got my answer.

The first song I cued up was “Victor Vito.” The wife was in the kitchen and the daughter was doing homework at the kitchen table. No sooner did the music start than BOTH of them got this big smile, and I heard a collective “Awwwww, it's Laurie Berkner!” And they, and me, started singing along to it, and all three of us had that familiar left-to-right head bopping to the tempo action going on.

Thus is the infectiousness of Laurie’s music.

Each of the digital records sound as good as digital can in this day and age, which means to say for my ears, while it is most definitely Laurie, digital music (even remastered music) robs us of the humanness to voices that is found in vinyl records. Not that I’ve heard any of Laurie’s music on vinyl, but all digital music sounds artificial to an extent. I never get the “you are there” feeling.

Playing against music memory of the CD’s, the remastered songs seem cleaner with a more balanced sound that the originals. But this isn’t about the technical aspects of recorded music and how “live” it sounds. Most people who are going to listen to Laurie’s music are not going to give a hill of beans about that. This is about Laurie Berkner’s music and the impact it can have on your children’s (and your) lives as they grow up -- even after they’ve grown up, somewhat, Laurie’s music stands the test of time in that it doesn’t sound childish to where you’d be ashamed if someone heard you listening to it. Chances are if they had kids (and were cool) they too would go, "Hey I know that song! It’s, it’s…” and you’d go “Laurie Berkner,” and they’d go “Yeah! That’s right! I love her!” Then you’d all start singing “Boots” together!

I encourage, nay implore, if you have kids and they like music, then get them these digital albums. If they don’t like music, they just may start. These are wonderful and tuneful and you won’t feel silly listening to them, unless you tie silly to the word happy.

There may be some people out there who may say I’ve now lost all credibility to review adult music by saying that I really enjoyed each one of these albums. But… who cares? Certainly not I, for thanks to Laurie and her music I can always find a couple of minutes of fun and happiness in a dreary world. So I’ll just hum to myself and keep collecting bottle caps, bottle caps, bottle caps, everywhere I go.

Joyfully recommended.

5.0 / 5.0