It’s that time of year again. Time for the “Best of…” lists to start appearing. First up in the land of children’s music is the 14th annual Fids & Kamily Music Awards. Voted on by a stellar collection of folks familiar with the fantastic offerings from the children’s music industry, this list of the Top 12 albums of 2019 for kids and families is a list of “must haves” for every collection. Don’t forget to take a look at the Honorable mentions, they are great ones to have as well. Keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks for our Kids Rhythm and Rockbest of the year list as well. Also on the horizon, the GRAMMY nominations for Best Children’s Album on November 20, followed shortly thereafter by School Library Journal’s “10 Best Children’s Albums.” Are there any albums you wished had made the Fids and Kamily 2019 list?
Thank You Mister Rogers: Music & Memories is a tribute to the incomparable Fred Rogers. Featuring twelve of the over 200 songs that Rogers wrote during his lifetime and performed by a wide variety of stars from yesterday and today, this album is filled with nostalgia for those who spent their formative years wishing they could visit that most famous of neighborhoods. “Some Things I Don’t Understand” was originally performed by Mister Rogers in episode 1101: Death of a Goldfish (1970). During the episode, Mister Rogers discovers that one of his goldfish has died. Throughout the episode, he demonstrates ways to deal with grief including acknowledging that it is ok to be sad, and the importance of sharing happy memories of those you lose. The episode concludes with “Some Things I Don’t Understand” which emphasizes the importance of talking about your feelings when you are happy, sad, mad, or just don’t understand.
This new version of “Some Things I Don’t Understand” is performed by Tom Bergeron. Initially Bergeron, the former host of America’s Funniest Home Videos and current host of Dancing with the Stars, was brought on board as the host and narrator of the project that included music and interviews with fans of Mister Rogers. However, with so many artists interested in participating in the project, it soon turned into a full-length musical tribute album. Luckily, it turns out that in addition to his hosting skills, Bergeron also is a delightful crooner.
Originally performed with much gravitas by Fred Rogers, Bergeron’s version of “Some Things I Don’t Understand” maintains all of the original lyrics but is given an updated jazzy feel that still treats the wonderances seriously, while giving them a more lighthearted melody to be posed against. Bergeron sets the perfect tone of a child’s inquisitive mind with his lively lyrics that move from topic to topic, but much like Mister Rogers, never just gives us the answers. “Some Things I Don’t Understand” also includes a rather impressive whistling solo by Bergeron. As the album’s producer, Dennis Scott, tells it, “I learned that not only did Tom enjoy singing, but he is an outstanding whistler. So at the session we tried having him do a jazz flavored whistling solo. Everyone liked it so much that it became the centerpiece of the song. ”
Thank you Mister Rogers, and thank you Tom Bergeron for giving us this wonderful tune. Please take a listen to “Some Things I Don’t Understand” below. Thank You Mister Rogers: Music & Memories is out this Friday, October 25. Watch a preview for the album here. To learn more about the project, or to share a memory of Mister Rogers, visit www.thankyoumisterrogers.com.
Full disclosure – Halloween is kind of a big deal at my house. New decorations started arriving in June this year. First it was a couple of blow mold black cats in the living room, then it was black cat pumpkin figures peering from unexpected places (and often getting mistaken for our actual black cat) when the Grandin Road fall catalog appeared in July. As we slowly cruised into autumn, it was a few Halloween goodies from the local grocery store on the kitchen table soon to be followed by bowls and plates and platters as prices were slashed to make room on store shelves for the Christmas decorations. Plans are being made for our annual Halloween costume party with evening discussions often surrounding what the lighting should look like, what theme we should go with throughout the house this time, and what creepy food we should serve. And then there’s the outside decorations. Did I mention that work on the light show began back in January? January!! It’s going to be amazing.
Decorations aren’t the only thing essential to Halloween. So is a good soundtrack. After all these years of celebrating All Hallows Eve, I have a pretty prolific collection of Halloween themed music, but as with any holiday, there is always room for more. So what better way to start off the spookiest of seasons than with a brand new song from Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats? Released last Friday, “Flick of My Wrist” is a fantastically orchestrated tune that allows Kalantari’s rollicking vocals to dance around the lyrics as they describe the exploits of a young witch whose use of her power leads to unexpected results. It would be absolutely ghastly if you dared to leave “Flick of My Wrist” off of your Halloween playlist! Take a listen, and Happy Haunting!