15 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Just the thing for those old punks who’ve procreated: tongue-in-cheek songs about bugs, squirrels, ducks, and turtles, cheerfully delivered in a ragged, back-porch blend of 20s jazz, country, blues, ragtime, and old-timey swing. Heck, the kids oughta like it too. As Wee Hairy Beasties, Sally Timms and Jon Langford (formerly of the Mekons, currently insurgent country’s den mom and dad) plus Kelly Hogan (alt-countrypolitan diva) join forces with the Chicago acoustic-blues outfit Devil in a Woodpile to create children’s music adults can listen to without shame—or seppuku. As the title suggests, there’s a loose animal theme at work here, which is fun for the juice-box demographic and provides ample opportunities for music-geek in-jokes along the way. “I’m an A.N.T.,” for example, is an inspired pastiche of Muddy Waters’s “I’m a M.A.N.,” complete with someone yelping “woo” in the background just like Johnny Winter. Best of all, though, are 16 of the most sublime seconds in lizard-themed music history: “I’ve got a newt called Tiny/ I call him Tiny because he’s my newt./ I haven’t had him long/ I found him by the pond/ breathing through exterior fronds.” How might your life have been different if someone had played you this when you were little, instead of, say, Raffi? We’ll never know.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Just the thing for those old punks who’ve procreated: tongue-in-cheek songs about bugs, squirrels, ducks, and turtles, cheerfully delivered in a ragged, back-porch blend of 20s jazz, country, blues, ragtime, and old-timey swing. Heck, the kids oughta like it too. As Wee Hairy Beasties, Sally Timms and Jon Langford (formerly of the Mekons, currently insurgent country’s den mom and dad) plus Kelly Hogan (alt-countrypolitan diva) join forces with the Chicago acoustic-blues outfit Devil in a Woodpile to create children’s music adults can listen to without shame—or seppuku. As the title suggests, there’s a loose animal theme at work here, which is fun for the juice-box demographic and provides ample opportunities for music-geek in-jokes along the way. “I’m an A.N.T.,” for example, is an inspired pastiche of Muddy Waters’s “I’m a M.A.N.,” complete with someone yelping “woo” in the background just like Johnny Winter. Best of all, though, are 16 of the most sublime seconds in lizard-themed music history: “I’ve got a newt called Tiny/ I call him Tiny because he’s my newt./ I haven’t had him long/ I found him by the pond/ breathing through exterior fronds.” How might your life have been different if someone had played you this when you were little, instead of, say, Raffi? We’ll never know.

TITLE TIME
3:00
1:39
2:07
2:10
3:08
0:16
2:40
1:59
2:47
1:08
1:49
4:43
3:55
1:36
0:28

About Wee Hairy Beasties

Chicago-based children's act Wee Hairy Beasties consist of Mekons members Jon Langford (billed as "Cyril the Karaoke Squirrel") and Sally Timms ("Monkey Double Dippey"), singer/songwriter Kelly Hogan ("Marjorie the Singing Bee"), and the acoustic blues trio Devil in a Woodpile (Rick "Cookin'" Sherry, Joel Paterson, and Tom Ray). According to legend (aka, their press release), they showed up for their first gig at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago under the impression that they would be playing for the animals and had therefore written songs about animals. As it happened, children and parents were also in attendance and seemed to appreciate the music as well. This led Bloodshot Records to commission an album, Animal Crackers, released October 24, 2006. ~ William Ruhlmann

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