Crossing Over to Kids
While it is not new for traditional singers to release a kids-focused album--Peter, Paul, and Mary, Carole King, and Pete Seeger have, to name a few--record numbers of artists are putting out CDs and tapes for children. And the best of the bunch may not be goin' back.
Undoubtedly the most surprising of all the new kids releases is My Name is Cheech, The School Bus Driver (Ode 2 Kids/BMG Music, 1993) by Cheech Marin, of Cheech and Chong fame. Cheech combines his zany (albeit now clean) sense of humor with a South American cumbia sound, a seeming wedding of zydeco and samba. The polite swing of the accordion bolsters his torrential drypan throughout.
The disc opens with the title track, "My Name is Cheech, The School Bus Driver." Cheech relates the entertaining and educational adventures of a bus trip gone awry with too many wrong turns. Adults in the household may well find themselves humming this tune at the office.
The only other truly memorable tune, "Red and Blue and Yellow Too," follows. One of the kids on the bus is discouraged because he has only three crayons to color a school project, but Cheech comes to the rescue with a song about mixing primary colors. This song will help a child to learn the primary colors unwittingly.
"Trading Lunches" is another moderately funny tune. With "Courage" and "Mathematical Polka," Cheech tries to offer ethical and educational exercises, but he mostly fails in the attempt. "Tell Me How Do You Say...?" is a song about learning Spanish, but merely as a way to "get the girl." There's no real damage in any of these tunes, but no great contribution to the human struggle either.
Converted by Kids