Feature: A View from the Id

KidTunes: Groove Kid Nation The Wheels on the Bus

Author: Bob Etier
Published: March 06, 2011 at 5:12 pm

“If you like funky music clap your hands,
“If you like funky music clap your hands,
“If you really feel the groove
“And it makes your body move,
“If you like funky music clap your hands.”

Let me tell you, the hands are still clapping at my house. The new CD from Groove Kid Nation, The Wheels on the Bus, is a funky take on traditional children’s songs, updated and brought to life for twenty-first century kids. It’s “a fun groovy way to learn about musical instruments,” but the learning is subtle enough that The Wheels on the Bus is entertainment, not academics. (And 10% of the wholesale price goes to CARE, which means The Wheels on the Bus is good for all of us.)

If kids listen to The Wheels on the Bus and they don’t get up and dance, the volume has got to go up; this is an album that invites movement. Old and new lyrics combine irresistibly in standards all parents should recognize, including “Wheels on the Bus,” “Froggy Went a Courtin’,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “The Alphabet Song,” “The Inch Worm,” and “Three Blind Mice.” Rodney Lee provides original arrangements that evoke memories of New Orleans and Motown. Lee also wrote two songs for the album, “Bud the Bird” and “Soul Clap.”

Vocalists Jeff Robinson, Wade Durham, Janelle Saddler, Malloy, Brenna Whitaker, and Cynthia Felton lend the songs a measure of soul that makes them dynamic. Illustrations by Nica Brooke and graphic design by Lynde Hopper reinforce the joyful theme of The Wheels on the Bus in a ten-page booklet.

Of all the performers on The Wheels on the Bus, the absolute best has to be baby Razz, whose delighted giggle closes the album. While the songs in this way-cool collection support number and alphabet skills, the real emphasis is on fun. (Release date: March 8, 2011. Visit Groove Kid Nation to hear album cuts.)


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Article Author: Bob Etier

Two words describe Bob Etier: "female" and "weird." Like many freelance writers, there's something about her that isn't quite right. Read her stuff and find out what.

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