A fantastic new CD from Peter Combe and probably his most eclectic album yet! (see below for REVIEWS)
Featuring gorgeous melodies, lyrics that are both whimsical and beautiful, and Peter's delightfully eccentric vocals, the superb Quirky Berserky Band, a bluegrass group, the exquisite sounds of the Zephyr String Quartet, the debut of Peter's grandson Oli (possibly the best 3 year old singer in Australia!), 2 new Classic Fairy Tales songs, 2 children's choirs (Young Adelaide Voices and the Glee Club), lots of solos by different kids aged from 3-11 and a sooo...quirky cameo by ARIA winning jazz vocalists The Idea of North - this is probably Peter's most eclectic album yet!
Beautifully arranged and recorded with Peter's usual fastidious attention to detail and as always with his children's albums, very adult friendly.
Includes 12 page illustrated coloured booklet with all the lyrics.
CD Timing: 77'54"
(The Turkey from Turkey)
If you already love Peter Combe’s work or if you haven’t been introduced to it before (where have you been?), you are bound to enjoy this new album. “Quirky Berserky” is a truly delightful and highly engaging collection of new songs and stories for children.
There is quality musicianship throughout, with every track revealing a new array of instruments and fine performances. Peter’s voice is as rich and warm as ever and his vocal tones are balanced by the inclusion of some very young and talented singers. A vast range of musical styles distinguish this album which is full of musical surprises. Children will adore the groovy rhythms, beautiful melodies, poignant harmonies and full on fun. This is a generous mix of new classics for the next generation of Peter Combe fans to fall in love with.
Peter Combe has truly mastered the art of composing for children. The song lyrics are appealing, educational and relevant, ensuring that even the youngest listeners will be taken on a magic carpet ride of imagination and delight. The melodies are memorable and original, and importantly, are pitched at a suitable range for children’s voices, ensuring many happy hours of repetition.
Several short songs, eg.” Red Says Stop” and “Not Zee” are repeated between longer tracks. This clever device serves to engage the youngest of listeners and adds a familiar touch of whimsy to the collection. This album is also enhanced by the inclusion of several original stories, told with great gusto and character by Peter himself. In true Combe style, this album for children will also be enjoyed and appreciated by parents, carers and teachers alike. Australia is indeed fortunate to have a composer of this calibre working almost exclusively for the benefit and pleasure of our children.
Review in February, 2013 by Katharine Finlayson, Primary Music Specialist Teacher, Ngunnawal Primary School, ACT. Katharine received a National Award for Excellence in School Music Education in 2011
Here are Katharine's individual comments on the songs -
Quirky Berserky the Turkey from Turkey.
This is indeed a quirky song but my eleven year old students loved learning and performing it. The story is engaging and the repetitive melody is very catchy. The characterisation is fun and children can enjoy acting out the parts eg “I do!”. The list of names of countries is extensive and educational and would be a source of curiosity to younger children. The Turkish sound and instrumentation is unusual in a children’s piece.
Nod When It’s Yes.
I love this simple little song! The words are perfect for very young listeners as they are all about their hands, eyes, hair, brain etc. These are the everyday but fascinating things of early childhood and they are sung about with tenderness and respect. The children’s voices are beautiful and tuneful and the mood is gentle and delightful. It is so refreshing to hear a new song which demonstrates the composer’s understanding of his audience and his refusal to patronise his listeners simply because they are young.
Red Says Stop
This is a surprising little song and an absolute gem. The young singer is very expressive and remarkably tuneful. I can imagine this song will be a frequently sung favourite by the back seat crowd. I love it too!
This is a new song in classic Peter Combe style. The rhythms are engaging and slightly unpredictable and it has an important message that being an individual is ok. Children love and need the reassurance of knowing that being different is part of who we are. The melody is highly singable and totally catchy. The contrast between the verse and chorus draws attention to the theme of the song. This song manages to reassure, without patronising, the young listener.
Up Up Up Into the Sky
This may be my favourite song on the album. The music teacher in me loves the ascending melody and the words touch my heart. They evoke the freedom of childhood and promote the movement of the whole body in an expressive way. These features make it an ideal song for use in a Kodaly or Orff teacher’s repertoire but it is equally valuable for encouraging a toddler to spin, stretch and move at home in their lounge room! This is a very special little song.
This next song brings us back to earth with some important facts such as “If you eat too much, your tummy will get fatter!” Children will adore this upbeat little ditty of a song as they are experts on such life matters. Other pieces of advice include “If you stand in the rain, you’ll get a little wetter”. Actually, judging by the behaviour of otherwise intelligent children at my school this fact needs reinforcing! The style is pure bluegrass and it moves at a great speed. Lots of fun!
The Song About Captain Cook
This song has a special place in my heart. I enjoyed every minute of teaching it to my students and then recently watching them perform it with feeling and enjoyment. At the age of eleven they could thoroughly appreciate the strength of the words, the romance of the story and most of all the beauty of the melody. They felt the sway of the ¾ meter which is so appropriate to this tale of the seafaring adventures of Captain Cook and they grasped the long phrases which cleverly evoke the expanse of his journey and the wideness of the sea. The recording includes some fabulous singing by children in the last chorus.
Rock, Scissors Paper
This song starts with a very cool jazz mood, inviting listeners to focus on the words which are about such culinary treats as toast with strawberry jam and crackers and cheese. The beat then moves up a notch and the words are about the classic game of Scissors, Paper, Rock. This is a fun little song to sing along to and it is a great example of the range of musical styles on this album.
Never No Never No Never
This is a fun little song with a lilting ¾ meter. Young children will enjoy the nonsense style words but they will also enjoy feeling superior to the suggestion of such things as squashing three girls into an old paint tin! How silly! The language is ideally suited to preschoolers as it focuses on interesting subjects such as girls, boys, Mums and Daddies.
I Heard There Were Fairies....
This is one of my favourite songs on the album. The delicate arrangement, gentle singing and beautiful imagery create a special little world of wonder for the listener. The very young voices are precious and beautifully tuneful. The listener is completely transported to a fairy glade at the bottom of the garden!
Welcome to the Autumn
This is a lovely song with a simple, gentle jazz feel. Children will relate to the coming of Autumn and will be comforted by the words which give a sense of the natural flow of the seasons. Peter Combe has an obvious love of the natural world and seems to delight in helping children make sense of everything around them.
I agree !!
Rock This Little Baby
With a soft rock rhythm and cute words, this song with be appreciated by parents, grandparents and carers who have spent hours trying to put a baby to sleep. Something with a jaunty rhythm always works better than a traditional lullaby!
This little story song will appeal to children with its catchy chorus and slightly unpredictable rhythm. There is a lot to be learnt in childhood about telling the truth and telling a lie. This moral tale will engage young listeners and they will enjoy the children’s voices in the chorus. Thankfully Pinocchio makes a better choice and we can all enjoy the happy ending!
You Like the Blue Sky and I Like the Grey
This lovely song is classic Peter Combe. The signature intervals in the melody and the simple but strong lyrics make it a song to enjoy over and over again. The natural theme of the weather is easy for children to instantly relate to and there is the wonderfully reassuring idea that different choices and preferences are ok. There is also a peaceful assurance that all is right with our beautiful world. The harmony singing is a lovely addition and could be performed by young choirs.
Magic Carpet 123
This song is a flight of pure pleasure and imagination. There is a sense of adventure created in the ascending minor melody and the Eastern style instrumentation. Children will indeed want to hear it again!
Standing in the Shower
This catchy song tends to get stuck in your head! Welcome to the world of showering, gel, soap and other important choices. There is a nice “hurry-up” feel which children will relate to. This song may even encourage the reluctant washer as it has a great marching beat to get children to the bathroom. Peter Combe helps children to eat right, feel good and care for their world. He might as well help them stay clean too!
"His songs are almost Monty Python-ish...whilst 78 minutes of hardcore Combe can make even the happiest of adults a bit batty, this album is perfect to share with a new generation of Combe fans or secretly dance to after a rough day. After all, there’s no rush to grow up." - Tess Ingram, music.com.au