From a very early age, my son was interested in letters and numbers. He had no problem learning his ABC’s, relished in the discovery of identifying numbers and letters, and had a great memory. It was our go-to tactic at restaurants to draw letters and numbers on his place mat so he could guess them. He loved it. That little nerd of mine.
My daughter could not have been any more different. It wasn’t that she couldn’t learn her letters, she just didn’t care. She had a Zero Tolerance Policy when it came to letter and number identification. She would last all of three letters in to our restaurant game, and even then she just seemed to be guessing at random, pulling letters out of thin air just to get the game over with.
But once she decided she wanted to learn them all, BOOM! She knew them. Now that she’s mastered her letters, playing with the letters of the alphabet is something she actually relishes in and likes anything that draws on that newfound knowledge.
There are plenty of children’s musicians that have given awesome new twists to the standard alphabet song, like The Barenaked Ladies’ “Crazy ABC’s” (one of my favorites) and more recently Cat Doorman’s “So Many Words.”
Now I can add one of my favorite children’s musicians to the mix, Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke.
I’ve featured the amazing tunes of Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke on this blog many times. Their latest album Pleased To Meet You gets released today, bringing their distinctly eclectic sound back with an album that is filled with humor, vibrant characters, and sophisticated composition and lyrics.
I’m not sure if it’s Mr. Clarke’s charming accent, the provoking lyrics, or the infectious, edgy guitars, but I have yet to find a Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke song that my toes don’t automatically tap along to. I adore their versatility, rolling in to roaring, romping tunes one minute, then offering lilting songs with beautiful melodies and harmony the next.
Their songs tell uniquely odd but relatable tales that take you on a journey. Produced by Dean Jones, the producer with the magic touch for children’s music, Key Wilde and Mr. Clare’s new album provides songs that you’ll be pleased you’ve met.
The one you’ll want to introduce yourself to first is “Animal Alphabet.” With it’s keen use of alliteration, this new slant on the ABC’s is clever way to introduce the alphabet, and who knew there was an awesome animal for every letter of the alphabet?
Key Wilde himself does all of the illustrations for the CD and website, and as added bonus, he’s created a coloring page of the “Animal Alphabet” FREE for you to download here. Plus, check out the new video for “Animal Alphabet” below!
The album starts off with the title track “Please To Meet You”, a song that introduces a cast of characters of all ages, introducing themselves in smart rhyme. From there, the album rides through hills and valleys, sometimes at a slower pace with “Lazy Raisins” with its Caribbeanish pseudo-reggae beat, then revving things up with tunes like “Bigga Bagga” and it’s pretty rocking drums.
Perhaps one of my favorite songs on the new album is the traveling song “Wander Round the World” with its delightful, folky tempo, catchy melody and use of fiddle and mandolins. What’s great about this song is that it provides some geographical points of interest that can lead to some great discussions with the little ones.
“Raised By Trolls” is my seven year-old son’s favorite song of the album, in part because it gives him good excuses for bad manners. With it’s “Peter Gunn”-ish guitar hook to it, it’s a song about someone who can’t help his misbehavior and irrational screaming, because, you know, he was raised by trolls.
The witty brilliance of Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke can be best demonstrated in songs like “Eggplant Man” with it’s syncopated and complex rhymes, the unexpectedly elected “King of the Town” and the unseen legend, “Trondaxx Berserker”
Humor is certainly a strength of this duo, best heard in songs like “Chuckers”, a bluegrass tune about a cat so large it sounds like he’s eaten another cat and only comes out of hiding when it’s time to eat. I’m pretty sure I had a cat like this in college.
The album also features versions of classics like Reverend Gary Davis’ blues song “Candyman” and a medley of beloved train songs in “Railroad Medley.”
Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke are able to get in to the heads of youngsters and verbalize what they’re feeling, and they do this best in songs like “Conversations” (about a kid navigating the foreign terrain of adult conversations with a humorous “yap yap yap” backing track), and “Take Ten,” lamenting the need to take a breather every once and a while.
“Falling Star” closes out the album as an updated version of making a wish on that lucky astronomical phenomenon. And I absolutely love any song that takes advantage of the nostalgia an old school kid toy piano can provide.
To celebrate the release of Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke’s Pleased To Meet You today, I’m giving away a copy of their new CD! All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter widget below by Thursday, May 23rd at 11:59pm EST. Open to contiguous U.S. residents only.
I was provided a copy of this product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% completely my own.