Walnut Valley Occasional, December, 1998
Tom Chapin, In My Hometown
Sundance Music, 15 selections
This recording is the seventh and latest installment in what has become an extensive body of music for all, but especially for kids. In "Gertie's Birdseed Diner," Tom Chapin and Michael Mark have observed the backyard bird feeder found at so many of our homes and then imagined what the birds might be thinking. Near the end of this tune, the sounds of traditional, Dixieland jazz is apparent. This is a really fun number and will be enjoyed by parents and children alike.
The fifth cut on the album, "A Mozart Duet" is an absolute must for music teachers and especially piano teachers. Anyone who has ever struggled to learn a piano selection for a recital will fall in love with this number. Imagine Mozart sitting down with you to help you learn his Sonata #3.
As the album points out, Tom has used reggae, Celtic, ska, mariachi, classical, ragtime, folk, rocknn'roll, boogie woogie and doo wop music in this album. Every one of the selections makes a point, conveys an idea or just plain delights the listener. "His Name is Ty" reminds many of us of the day we first went to a new school. P.S. Ty does overcome his shyness.
The story of the old fashioned street fair is told in "Street Fair" and includes all the elements of the fair. It is light, lively and an accurate account of the celebration so well known in small towns across America. We have often heard the term "melting pot" when referring to an area where persons of many different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds are settled. In "My Town is a Salad Bowl" we find 'salad' used in the same manner. The style is definitely mariachi.
Mr. Chapin's wealth of children's music has certainly enhanced our appreciation of his wonderful contributions to the world of music. Parents, this is music your children will enjoy for years to come. Thank you, Mr. Chapin!