Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Took the 2-year-old to a kids’ music concert on the recommendation of a friend yesterday. Elizabeth Mitchell has a lovely voice and sings with concentrated sweetness and robust tenderness, accompanied by some fine finger picking and jumpin’ rhythms from her husband Daniel Littleton on guitar, and some sweet violin by a woman named Jean whose last name I’ve forgotten. Elizabeth and Daniel’s 3-year-old daughter played the gig too, singing surprisingly in tune, audible much of the time.

My 2-year-old was rapt.

With a couple exceptions, the repertoire was notably devoid of children’s songs. Elizabeth and Co. opted instead for folk and rock songs with strong melodies -- Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train,” Bo Diddley’s “Hey Bo Diddley,” Gillian Welch’s “Winter’s Come and Gone,” the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On.” The VU and Diddley songs really got the kids bouncin’. Two of the songs typically ID’ed as “kids music” were among my faves in the show -- Woody Guthrie’s “Little Sack of Sugar [I could eat you up],” which I’d never heard before, and the old Schoolhouse Rock number Three Is a Magic Number. I’d forgotten this verse, and the diaphanous arrangement and performance brought a tear to my eye:

A man and a woman had a little baby,
Yes, they did.
They had three in the family,
And that's a magic number.

You’re shocked at my sentimentality, I’ve no doubt, but you won’t be once you know that my birth song is “It’s My Party [and I’ll cry if I want to ]”. I’ve always been a cryer. (My spouse’s birth song is “Big Bad John.”) (Thanks to Alex Ross for the popstrological tip.)

Thanks to Elizabeth and family and friend for the lovely show.
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