Waking hours music is no problem. He can listen to what I listen to. With all due respect to Dan Zanes -- who I know is passionate about old Jamaican 45s like I am; we used to buy rare gems from the same source -- there's just no need to bore the boy with modern kids music that is trying too hard and usually misses the mark (and makes daddy cringe while sending mommy leaping for the CD player's "stop" button).
After all, there's "All Together Now" by the Beatles, tons of great reggae and Italian folk records that have good tempos and bubbly verses and choruses, and is there anything more appropriate for kids than the funky organ and guitar jazz records of Jimmy Smith, Grant Green and the like? And since he can't understand the words yet, I still don't have to worry about parental warning stickers.
Sleep time is cagier.
We found one lullaby disc that wasn't entirely offensive, but it fast became tiresome because it sounded like a pre-programmed Casiotone keyboard. So, I dug through the music and found a Kenny Drew Trio disc from the '50s that was good, but a little too swinging in some spots for bedtime. For the past few months, baby boy has been dozing off to the sound of the more playful and mellow parts of French composer Erik Satie's oeuvre. But he can't only listen to one CD forever.
Luckily, today I discovered the catalog of Baby Rock Records, which has a series of discs, "Rockabye Baby!," arranged and performed by Michael Armstrong. I selected "Lullaby Renditions of Radiohead" and "Lullaby Renditions of Coldplay" and am pleased with them. Sure, the purely instrumental versions could be construed as baby Muzak performed on toy pianos, but the results are much better than that. The songs have a nice vibe and now junior can fall asleep learning, via hypnopaedia, the melodies of two bands that are among the most popular and influential at the time of his arrival!
Other discs in the series focus on the music of The Cure, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Tool, Bjork, Nirvana, No Doubt, Pink Floyd, Queens of the Stone Age, Smashing Pumpkings, The Eagles, Beach Boys, The Beatles and The Pixies.
Popping the Coldplay disc in last night, the wee man starting clapping after the first few bars of "In My Place." Parent-tested, kid-approved.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.