Blue Moo by Sandra Boynton
Sandra Boynton and Michael Ford do it again with this collection of songs with quirky humor and clever lyrics performed by first-class musicians. Where their first hit, Philadelphia Chickens, was an imaginary revue with lots of Broadway-style music, Blue Moo is an imaginary juke box of (mostly) 50s and 60s style music. Sha Na Na sings “The Gorilla Song” in which a group of gorillas sing about their favorite ice cream flavor, banananananana. John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting delivers a syncopated poem, mostly accompanied only by drumbeats, about his love for big band swing in “Big Band Sound”. “I sing ironic retro rock with just three other guys / But I’m thinking of a band of significant size/ I want a big (beat beat) band sound.” “Speed Turtle”, reminiscent of “Greased Lightning” and sung in classic Beach Boys style by Brian Wilson himself, would appear from the illustrations to be sung by a band of snails amazed at a turtle’s speed. “The One Shoe Blues” is sung in inimitable style by B.B. King. Though the kids won’t recognize the big names, the music is nuanced enough to be great fun for kids and adults alike. There are a few less well-known performers, including the composer Michael Ford, and a trio including Sandra Boynton’s daughter. Their take on classic Motown, while no less likely to get stuck in my head than any of the other songs, suffered slightly from the singers obviously never having smoked, and, my husband says, a too-modern recording studio. Every so often throughout the whole album, there is a short marching-band style piece by The Uninvited Loud Intruding Band, hilarious in and of itself and an idea I really hope actual marching students latch on to. You can get this fabulous collection as a CD by itself, or for a few dollars more, a picture book with CD, with Sandra Boynton’s full-color concepts behind the songs facing the lyrics in large print. In the back, there are full lyrics with music and chords, for those who’d like to sing along or perform on their own. You, too, could fall under the spell of the legendary Blue Moo.
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