The Grace Harwar Sailing in a Storm - by Alan Villiers, 1929 (WikiMedia Commons)

Current Play List: January 2008

I’m cycling through some new and old music. It was easy coming off the saccharin of Christmas music, and I had some particular morose sea and seasonal sea songs! Unfortunately, my children (through me) were introduced to a phenomenon called Crazy Frog, which has led us into a lot of older club-ish recordings from the early ’90s.

Morose Mariners

It’s not all plum duff and grog at sea!  Tom Lewis sings a great version of Christmas at Sea, of a ship battling its way out of port on Christmas day.  I’d not realized Robert Louis Stevenson had written the words until I heard this recording (on a recording from the 24th Annual Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport).  Another downer – but enjoyable nonetheless – is John McCutcheon’s rendition of Christmas in the Trenches (Listen) on his Winter Solstice recording from 1984.  [Children’s picture book]

I also rolled out a more obscure CD – Music of the Great Lakes – and a favorite on that, Stan Rogers‘ White Squall.  It was put out by the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor North as a fundraiser and has a great mixture of Michigan and Great Lakes music.

World Music

I’ve been hitting up the Toronto Public Library again for world music.  The Rough Guide series may be a bit too mainstream for some folks, but I find that they have a pretty good sample of music if you’re trying to get a taste.  The Rough Guide to Calypso and Soca is a great compilation of artists, and so(ul) ca(lypso) is not a style I’d ever listened to before.  The Rough Guide to Bhangra Dance was a nice surprise.  It strays far from the more traditional bhangra recordings I’ve come across, and really emphasizes the mixture of traditional and modern – rap, r&b – styles emanating from the UK.

Crazy Frog

I took a recommendation from a fellow parent at a Scouts meeting about this thing.  The kids love it!  It’s a bunch of late 80s / early 90s dance (?) music that’s been overlaid with sound effects from this . . . frog thing.  If you’re a purist, then you may want to stay away from the versions of Axel F and Pump Up the Jams (Salt n Pepa).  But after the kids went to bed, it encouraged the nostalgic playing of EMF’s Unbelievable, The Soup Dragons Divine Thing, The Farm’s Groovy Train, and other EP club mixes I’d picked up in the early 90s in Sheffield.  See Crazy Frog on Youtube!

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