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Goody Goody Gumdrops

Children's music should embody all the things we love about our kids. It should capture their childlike spirit. It should be positive and uplifting. It should make you want to dance, sing, smile, giggle and ultimately make you feel good.

Rhythm Child does just that.

magine if Bob Marley, John Lennon and Otis Redding held a family music festival on Sesame Street. This is the same kind of atmosphere created on stage by The Rhythm Child Network, a family-oriented entertainment company that promotes positive music and world culture for kids. Rhythm Child is a modern-day "Partridge Family" featuring award-winning songwriter/performer Norm Jones along with his sons, 9-year-old Bailey and 3 1/2-year-old Andre, wife Heather as business manager and family friend and co-writer, Duane Neillson.A tight-knit family of musicians, Rhythm Child incorporates pulsating rhythms and movements that encourage parents and children to sing, drum and dance together.

Their previous album, Drum Circle Sing-A-Long, released in 2003, has garnered numerous awards such as the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize for the track "Jammy Put On" and two Children's Music Web Awards for the songs "Learn From Nature" and "Bird & The Dragon". They were also one of only three American artists invited to contribute to the internationally-renowned Putumayo Kids' Picnic Playground album, which I had the pleasure of reviewing several weeks ago.

Eat A Bowl of Cherries, their newest release, features 10 energetic songs and is actually up for Grammy consideration for "Best Musical Album for Children". What an achievement!

Track Listing:

1. Riding on the Bus

2. Sam the Lamb Blues

3. Bowl of Cherries

4. Everybody is the One

5. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

6. Misunderstandings

7. Oh Susanna

8. Shaker Song

9. I Can't Play Today

10. Can We Still Be Friends?

The moment I played the first track, Nate got the biggest smile on his face, as did I. The genre is an undefinable blend of pop, reggae, rock and ska - with drums, guitar, tambourines and horns providing the instrumental delight. While Norm (the dad) provides the vocals, I loved the chemistry he shared with his 9-year-old son, who accompanied him on several of the tracks.

There were modern interpretations of classic songs such as "Riding on the Bus" (a much less irritating, reggae version of "Wheels on the Bus") and "Sam the Lamb Blues" (a southern blues take on "Mary Had a Little Lamb") and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (a folksy sing-along about the Mary Poppins tune). There were also an array of original songs, each containing a positive message. From embracing uniqueness and unity in the rock/ska-tinged "Everybody is the One" to resolving conflict peacefully in "Misunderstandings" to change and growing apart in "Can We Still Be Friends?", there are important lessons to be learned for children of all ages.

It's an incredibly engaging, feel-good album that Nate and I danced hand-in-hand to from start to finish. It is a welcome addition to our playtime music collection.

BUY IT

You can preview or purchase Eat A Bowl of Cherries on www.rhythmchild.net (ARV $15.00). You can also print out a variety of coloring pages, view Rhythm Child's performance schedule or view videos of their past performances.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the above CD from Eva at Damore PR to facilitate my candid review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The opinions expressed are purely my own. You may have a different experience upon listening to the album.

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