I still don’t know what to call this thing, but I do think it’s a decent idea. In 2017, someone–my sister, a client, HAARP waves, I don’t remember who–gave me the idea to put together a record. On this record would be music. Music for everyone. Music for All Ages. Whimsical and light enough for children, interesting and intelligent enough for unchildren. I would take songs that I particularly enjoyed as a kid and rearrange them in my own style. I raised money to buy decent recording gear and pay some session cats, and began. As of this writing, the work is ongoing.
My philosophy with this is that kids deserve to be exposed to good music using real instruments played by serious musicians that believe in what they’re creating, with sounds they may never have heard before, that’s still appropriate for them. I want them to hear the sound of a lilting synthesizer, or a growling Hammond organ, or a hammered dulcimer, or a slide guitar, and be captivated. Maybe they’re not quite ready for Tom Waits’s Swordfishtrombones, but then, who is?
Conversely, adults should be able to enjoy something with a bit of fun and imagination to it. Most of the songs I’ve chosen were indeed aimed towards children in their original forms, but a good kid’s song can easily appeal to an older crowd. This is why I’m avoiding numbers that are too explicitly kid-oriented. Nothing that is going to make the grownups want to jump in a lake. Nothing from Barney & Friends, no “Baby Beluga”–though another classic Raffi tune did make the cut. The record also won’t insult youthful intelligence or emotional development; I didn’t want to dumb down the artistry of it in the name of supposed “kid-friendliness.” Kids want things that are new and exciting and different, and they ought to be able to listen to this into their adulthood. I didn’t want any titles that were too obvious or overplayed either. It’s a delicate balance to achieve all this: good, unique songs, done in a mature way, that don’t upset, patronize, bore, or annoy any certain age group.
I’m planning on ten or eleven tunes. Almost all of them are from film or TV productions, with a couple of exceptions. They’re also all varying degrees of esoteric. Again, nothing too obvious. The genres range from country to electronic to psychedelic to New Orleans. Some top players from LA and back east are gracing it with their presence, but I’m trying to do as much of the instrumentation myself as possible. I’m no Todd Rundgren, but I love building up an entire song from nothing using only the tools I have at my disposal, whether it’s a Fender Rhodes or a cheese grater.
Like I said, I don’t know what I’m actually going to call this album. I’ve been calling it the All Ages Record, which has a double meaning; it’s music for people of every age, and it’s music that will, I hope, matter to people for all time.
Two songs from this have been released already. See below. And stay tuned for the finished product.