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And Some Other Catchy Little Numbers

I always thought I was good with kids. I love kids and look upon them as individuals and go out of my way to listen to them as if what they say has the greatest importance because, in truth, to them it does. But for all I can give them in terms of that little bit of respect, it pales next to what Linn Brown gives them. She gives them music, and not just music that they can hear. Music that they can relate to.

I chuckle inside when I read And Some Other Catchy Little Numbers because it is typical and fitting that songs for kids should have a learning curve, if you will, and learn they will, without even realizing. Songs like Ten Little Honeybees and Three Part Harmony and Eight Notes In a Row will have them counting and more, and most in learning 'bytes.' The very young are notorious for short attention spans and Ms. Brown serves up 21 songs in short form, the longest tapping out at 2:34 and most in the under a minute range. No time to get bored here, by gum, and in my mind's eye, I picture kindergarten classes the world over bouncing from song to song like relay sprinters at a track meet. Fun? Well, I was three once and I have to say that I tired of Ten Little Indians but looking back I think it was more because it went on forever, a child's version of 99 Bottle of Beer which to my mind most children are too old for at birth. Had I been handed Five Big Dump Trucks and The Worms Are Working in its stead, I could possibly be a rock star today, or at least an accountant for a rock star.

By now you have gathered that this album is an album of numbers. If you think that is all there is, you're mistaken. After the 21 kid-oriented gems, Ms. Brown ends the album with a, ahem, rock opera. That's right, a rock opera. Well, a rocket opera, if you will. Using a playful little rocket as lead character, 3-2-1 Rocket Opera takes us on a musical voyage to the stars, and even better, to an intergalactic concert by The Shooting Stars, the little rocket's favorite band. I am well past the three year old mark, but even I get the appeal. Little Rocket gets an opportunity for grownup work and schedules rock concert on the side. Sounds like Broadway, you say? Indeed, it does. From the first notes of Overture to the visit to the moon (The Big Sneeze) to the concert (The Shooting Stars) to the finale (aptly titled Finale), this is Oklahoma for toddlers but good enough, musically, for adults. It is Little Musical Theater at its best, in fact. Complete with story line aided by narration (supplied ably on the album by one Kathy Kennedy), it encapsulates the modern with the fairy tale, with outstanding music a plus. Having trouble getting your kid to bed? Play this before lights out. The kid will love it and it is a perfect setup for Dreamland.

This is not 's focus, though maybe it should be. Not writing for kids, but writing for the stage. Her other albums are packed with outstanding songs of the adult variety, but many of them could easily make the transition from music to musical with very little to no alteration. Broadway could use the fresh blood and I wouldn't mind padding the old bank account. My version of a rocket opera. Yeah. If I had money and she had the inclination, I would invest. Of course, as Momma used to say, rest her soul... “If wishes were horses...”

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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