CD Review: Ga Ga James “Black Cherry Soda”

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Music
Tags: , ,
When you think of music for children, people like Raffi and Sharon, Bram and Lois are two of the first artists you think of. You can now add Ga Ga James to that list.
Ga Ga James is the name of a group comprised of James and Robin Gaul. Together, the Gauls have taken many of their original songs and a few favorites and created an album that both children and their parents will find entertaining. That album is entitled Black Cherry Soda.
Black Cherry Soda from Ga Ga James begins and ends with the track “Ga Ga James Theme- Come Along”. This bookending of the album makes the release feel like your family is listening to the soundtrack to a children’s television show. The variety in the songs also reinforces that feeling, as you get to experience many different styles of music with different influences to the tracks that make up the release.
The album really begins with the track “Airplane”. “Airplane” is a track in which your child experiences some idea of what a ride in a “flying machine” is like. The sound effects on the track help give a feeling of being on an airplane trip for the first time.
After taking that flight in the “Airplane,” your child can take time to enjoy a treat. The second song of the album is the “title track”. “Black Cherry Soda” makes you feel good as you listen to the track about enjoying that refreshing beverage. Kids will love the rhyming pattern that is used in the lyrics and the adults will enjoy how much the song sounds a lot like “Octopus’s Garden” off of Abbey Roadfrom The Beatles.

As this is an album for children, some of the tracks are really aimed at the young audience. One song on the album, “Sometimes I Like to be Alone,” is a song that kids can really relate to as the narrator of the song describes the fun he can have just using his imagination while by himself.

Another track on the release, “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,” is a song that helps stimulate the mind of the child. The repetition of the song lyrics will help your child learn the days of the week. If the song featured only the days of the week, the song would be a very good, and yet unusual, jazz song; as it is, the song is a very useful teaching instrument for your child.

While not really educational, “Goldilocks Meets the Three Bears” is yet another song for the children in the audience. Imagine taking this tale and telling it in the span of only two minutes and get some idea of what you can expect from this track.

While most children’s albums are written specifically for one demographic, Black Cherry Soda from Ga Ga James takes into consideration the fact that mom and dad will also be listening to the music. Because of that, the album has several songs in the playlist that are aimed more at the older members of the audience. One such song is “I Am Nobody”.

Taken from the poetry of Emily Dickinson, “I Am Nobody” is built around both stanzas of the poem and the tune that was composed to put the poem to music helps add depth and emotion to Dickinson ’s words. it also makes the track one of the most interesting of the album.

Another track on Black Cherry Soda that adults will find more interesting than children will is the song “A Whaler’s Life”. “A Whaler’s Life” is one of the best sea shanties to be written in a long time. The song about the son who was raised in the inn and tavern run by his family sounds as authentic as any shanty that was written over two hundred years ago. The inclusion of the accordion and mandolin give the song a very authentic feel.
The Black Cherry Soda release from Ga Ga James is one of the best albums for children to be released in a long time. Not only does the album make for good entertainment for young children, but James and Robin Gaul did not forget that there are adults who will be listening to the album, as well. The songs for children like “Airplane,” “Sometimes I Like to Be Alone,” and “Shampoo,” as well as the songs for adults such as “Barnyard Dance,” “Kicking Up Our Heels,” and “A Whaler’s Life” all combine to create an album that can truly be referred to as “family entertainment”……..and isn’t that just what you’d be looking for when spending time with your kids?
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