released 14 May 2013
I suppose this album is my best Pete Seeger impresssion. Many of these tracks are directly inspired by his versions of these songs. As early as I can remember listening to music, I remember hearing “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” and “If I Had a Hammer.” Many people heard those songs from Peter, Paul and Mary, but I’ve always known them from Pete Seeger. Many children know “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and it was Pete Seeger who made a point of crediting Solomon Linda as the author (and seeing to it that he received his proper royalty payments.) Pete’s nearly ninety-five years old as I’m writing this, and has inspired everyone from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Bruce Springsteen. In my house he’s held in the esteem often reserved for popes and presidents, gurus and grandmothers.
In its many forms folk music teaches song structure, fueled by repetition, clever rhymes and the collective joy that urges us to sing along. Those component parts are found in every great bit of music I can think of.
Through my recent experiences singing with kids, primarily at the Tribeca Community School in New York, I’ve been sharing songs I grew up with. And as I’ve become an uncle, I’ve written some of my own songs for kids. It’s funny to call them “Kids Songs”, since most of the people who sing these songs are grown-ups. I’ll be surprised if some of you grown-ups don’t sing along to a few. It’s all right – these songs belong to all of us. If your toes start tapping, see if your shoulders want to get in on the action.
I highly encourage you to listen to the childrens music available through Smithsonian Folkways – it’s a vast resource of old recordings that have been crucial to me – as a child, as an artist, and as a teacher. They contain a wealth of knowledge and a level of skill – eloquently offered by Ella Jenkins, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Johnny Richardson and more – that is simply unparalleled today, and downright rare in history. And, it’s so much fun! The simplicity of my recordings here are a tribute to those old records. I hope we can sing these songs together sometime. If you pick up a guitar or a shaker or a tambourine and sing them your way, even better….
Til next time,
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Brian Speaker at SpeakerSonic
Artwork by Preston Spurlock
Dan Costello – Vocal, Guitar
Rock ‘n Roll ABCs written by Dan Costello / RDC ARTS, LLC
Five Little Apples written by Johnny Richardson / UNKNOWN
Cry Cry written by Dan Costello / RDC ARTS, LLC.
You Are My Sunshine written by Jimmie Davis / PEER INTL CORP.
I’m A Little Cookie written by Larry Penn / TRO – DEVON MUSIC INC.
Sittin’ On The Floor written by Dan Costello / RDC ARTS, LLC.
This Land Is Your Land written by Woody Guthrie / LUDLOW MUSIC
All songs used by permission.
Many traditionals inspired by Pete Seeger, some with new arrangements or lyrics by Dan Costello.
“Five Little Apples” was adapted from the Folkways album Oh Come Along Children and Sing With Me by Johnny Richardson. Effort was made to locate the writer via Smithsonian Folkways. The family or estate of Johnny Richardson is entitled to royalties and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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