Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2015 Music
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
CD Price: $12.99

The Harmonica Pocket features the songwriting, singing, harmonica and guitar playing of Keeth Monta Apgar. Nala Walla joins him with shining vocal harmonies and a hula hoop (?). A fine roster of musicians, including his touring group of Jon Ryser on alto saxophone, and PK on standup bass, also adds to the fun. The CD includes ten original songs, a fine cover of Ari Lesser's "Sun Song," and a sweet rendition of the traditional "You Are My Sunshine." As one might have already surmised, this is a sun and weather inspired album, which was even recorded utilizing solar power.

Outstanding tracks include the breezy country folk of "Sing in the Sun," the Ray Davies-like soul of "Raindrops," and the winsome, harmonica-fueled title track. A child-like sense of innocence pervades Apgar's writing, as heard on tracks such as the playful "Are You A Monster Too?," the gentle hoe down of "Digga Dog Kid," and the innovative animal naming song "Surprise." Perhaps the album's highlight is the witty word play in "I Love Ukuleles," which has such great lines as "I love you-kules, I love you-nicycles, and I love you too."

Other favorites include the lighthearted jazz of "It's Gotta Rain (If You Want a Rainbow)," the lovely transformational tale of "Butterfly Away," and the blusey ending song "Getting Night Now." Apgar's lyrics and music are consistently innovative and pleasing; his voice is a gentle, uncomplicated mix of Donovan, the Incredible String Band, with occasional shadings of Kermit the Frog. The album comes in a nicely designed eco-friendly CD package; the "muchas muchas gracias" section is a who's who of the children's music world. The website sports a plethora of lyrics and stories behind the songs.

Lahri Bond   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

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