This collection of children’s songs from Bruce Watson reflects his action-packed children’s concerts. There’s a little bit of the child in all of us, and when Bruce’s inner child comes out to play, the fun is on for young and old! With four young children of his own, Bruce has endless inspiration! Also available words and music – 101 Songs by Bruce Watson TN523 $25
About the artist: A much loved icon of the Australian folk scene, Bruce’s songs are sometimes hilarious, sometimes confronting, sometimes both, but always entertaining and full of surprises. Eric Bogle, Joe Dolce, and Blackwood sing them and he has received a swag of awards. The Bruce Watson Trio joins Bruce’s talents with the musical genius of Lyndal Chambers and Brian Strating, adding richness and punch.
CD review by Tony Smith
An old show biz maxim advises against working with children and animals.
Bruce Watson shows the limitations of this advice in his 21 track album of songs for and about children, many of which have animals as topics.
Watson is perhaps best known as a writer of songs of political satire and protest.
His ‘Amazon’, for example, is among the very best songs about environmental issues.
To demonstrate his versatility, occasionally he puts aside his guitar and leads the Zamponista Bolivian marching band with pan pipe and poncho.
While most of the tracks on ‘Are We there Yet?’ are arranged simply so that children can comfortably join in the choruses, a few have instant appeal to adults.
‘Toddler With Attitude’ and ‘Real World Lullaby’ will give parents a wry smile, as will indeed the title track.
The choruses for kids are sometimes of a totally free form, so that children are not deterred because their language skills are rudimentary.
So, for example, in ‘Spooks’, the children scream to frighten the monsters away from their bedrooms and in ‘The Pirate Song’, a lengthy ‘argh’ is sufficient.
Other choruses require a range of memory skills from the basic ‘Goo goo goo goo gah’ of ‘I’ve Got a Brand New Baby Brother’ to the nicely repetitive ‘Tomato Sauce’.
Supporting musicians include Watsons Andrew, Geoffrey, Rowan, Alistair and Jill (backing vocals), and Claire Peters, Helen Wright, Meg MacDonald and Jenny Simpson (vocal harmonies).
Instrumentalists include Janine Lancaster, Chris Lazzaro, Brian Strating, Lyndal Chambers, Ellen Hundley, Gus Rigby, Neil Adam, Stephen Wright, Gavan McCarthy, Peter Vadiveloo, David Diprose and Dave Alleway.
Watson’s arrangements always seem just right.
He lets the lyrics dictate the tunes and the style of accompaniment, from rhythm and blues to reggae, to folk ballad and Vaudeville.
Guitar chords are supplied with the lyrics.
These songs meet children at their interest and skill levels.
There are quite a few about music and instruments, ‘Short Song’, ‘I Wish I Could Play the Didgeridoo’, ‘The Slow Song’, slipping a little education in with the enjoyment.
There are several about animals, ‘Don’t Give Your Hat to the Hairy-Nosed Wombat’, ‘Henry the Hippopotamus’, ‘I Like Animals’, ‘Twinkles the Elephant’, and ‘A Pig That Sings Is A Happy Pig’.
Some even mention bodily functions, about which kids are quick to give an innocent belly laugh, ‘My Pussy Cat Keeps Peeing on the Carpet’ and ‘Mummy Says You Can’t Do That’.
It is important that children are encouraged to be part of folk festivals.
They are, after all, the future of these events.
Bruce Watson’s accessible and relevant songs make a gentle introduction to the forms and content of folk singing.
What is more, they are great fun.
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