By Megan Romer, About.com Guide—
Kids love reggae music. It’s upbeat, danceable, and infectious… what’s not to love from a child’s (or adult’s) standpoint? From the parent’s side of things, reggae can be a bit tricky. With lyrics that address various less-than-child-friendly themes popping up all over the place, it’s hard to find good reggae that has kid-appropriate lyrics. It can be found, though, and here are some fantastic kids’ reggae CDs to get you started.
Exploring the music of Jamaica from a distinctly fun and child-friendly perspective, Putumayo Records once again makes a child-friendly slam-dunk with this catchy collection of reggae songs from around the world. With artists like ska legends Toots and the Maytals, Trinidadian kids’ music star Asheba, and Rita Marley (widow of Bob), this is an album that the whole family really can love, and is undoubtedly the best children’s reggae compilation on the market.
This children’s album from Ziggy Marley (Bob’s oldest son) is musically catchy, lyrically exuberant, and completely family-friendly. Named one of the Best Children’s Albums of 2009 by About.com’s Guide to Children’s Music, Warren Truitt, this CD is both an outstanding example of children’s music and an outstanding example of reggae music, and isn’t that exactly what we’re looking for?
Ziggy Marley remixed and compiled this collection of G-rated Bob Marley songs, to pretty good effect. It’s not as strong as Family Time, but it’s really not a bad release. If you’re not interested in remixes of all of these songs, check out a copy so you can see the track listings, and then compile your own album out of the original versions of the Bob Marley songs… they’re available anywhere you can purchase MP3s, after all!
Father Goose is perhaps the most luminous and entertaining of Dan Zanes’sregular sidekicks, bringing his dancehall stylings to many a Zanes record and live performance. Stepping solo (well, not really — Zanes, as well as Sheryl Crow and others, make guest appearances), Father Goose has made a really stellar kids’ album with a great deal of staying power.
This compilation was originally released almost 20 years ago, and has been re-packaged and re-released several times since then. Why? Because it’s a good CD. Real reggae artists (including Gregory Isaacs, Eek-A-Mouse, and Yellowman) take on a variety of children’s songs (“Puff the Magic Dragon” and “Over the Rainbow,” for example) and child-friendly reggae classics (including Bob Marley’s charming “Three Little Birds,” as performed by Freddie MacGregor), resulting in an album that’s all-around good fun listening.