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House Party

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Album Review

Former Del Fuegos frontman Dan Zanes is one of the few artists making children's music that appeals to both kids and their parents. House Party is his fourth kids' record and it shows no drop-off in energy or imagination. He and his band create lighthearted, easily rocking tunes with mostly acoustic instruments. Zanes has a great voice for kids' records; loose and light, he sounds more like an older brother than some stuffy old teacher. The tunes are a mix of traditional songs like "Old Joe Clark," "Down in the Valley," and "Hop Up Ladies" and Zanes originals like the fun "House Party Time" and the laid-back country rocker "Sunny Old Sun." A hallmark of Zanes' records is the wide range of guests who show up to join in the fun. Here, Debbie Harry lends some vocals to a stately "Waltzing Matilda," Bob Weir helps out on "Wabash Cannonball," Angélique Kidjo helps romp through "Jamaica Farewell," and Philip Glass plays pump organ on the sweet ballad "A Place for Us." A couple of the songs feature a group of kids known as the Dandelion Chorus adding vocals, and there is plenty of unique instrumentation to keep the recorded from sounding bland. House Party is a rare kids' record that doesn't condescend to kids; maybe that is why parents, and maybe even people without kids, will find it to be a whole lot of fun.

Customer Reviews

Thank you

Thank you Dan Zanes and Laurie Berkner for making music we can all like! And thank you Noggin for playing them! We've been having a "house party" to Dan Zanes albums and dance party to Laurie's new DVD "We Are the Laurie Berkner Band." Fun for the whole family!

Great for Kids and Adults!

We first saw Dan Zanes on Noggin, and from that point on, we were hooked! My daughter enjoys all these songs, but my husband and I enjoy them, too. We all sing in the car at the top of our lungs! Favorites include Sunny Old Sun, Waltzing Matilda, and Wabash Cannonball, but really, there's not a bad song on this album. This is more than just kid's music....it's music everyone can listen to and enjoy.

Might Take a Few Listens...

If you have young children, chances are you have already heard the songs House Party Time and Down in the Valley on Playhouse Disney. I don't think that those songs are representative of the entire album. If you like folk music you will definitely enjoy this CD. But, for someone like me who enjoys mostly hip-hop and some pop music, it may not be your cup of tea OR, like me, you may just need to give it some time. It took me quite a few listens, but now I enjoy listening to this CD as much as my two sons (ages two and four). Now we ALL sing along in the car. I'm especially fond of Queremos Bailar, Jamaica Farewell, and Tennessee Wig Walk. My boys love House Party Time, Down in the Valley, and Old Joe Clark.

Biography

Born: 1961 in Exeter, NH

Genre: Children's Music

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After years of rocking in the 1980s with the Del Fuegos, singer/songwriter Dan Zanes created his own band, the Dan Zanes Trio, in 1994. The group got started when Zanes was hanging out with producer Mitchell Froom in Lower Manhattan; after adding drummer Jerry Marotta, they began playing their sparse blues and folk-rock to small crowds in clubs like the CBGB Gallery. Produced by Froom, the trio's debut LP, Cool Down Time, a raw rock effort influenced by '60s-era R&B, appeared in 1995. In 2001...
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House Party, Dan Zanes
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