Top 10 Kids’ CDs

April 19, 2009

By Lou Carlozo


Here are 10 CDs for kids you'll fall in love with too…

Once upon a time, buying children's music meant you had just condemned yourself to hours of insipid songs about dancing bears and fuzzy-wuzzy kitties.

Thanks to a wave of cool kids performers and record labels, those days have passed. Now, we have an opposite problem: With so many artists for the wee set, how do you find the best stuff?

As a parent with a low tolerance for cringe-inducing choruses (and a side gig as a studio musician), I recommend these 10 releases.

•Gustafer Yellowgold, "Mellow Fever" (Apple-Eye Productions, CD and DVD). Morgan Taylor's fans include Wilco and the Polyphonic Spree; his acoustic songs recall '70s soft rockers Bread. His alter ego, Gustafer, is from the sun; catch his odd adventures on songs such as "Melter Swelter."


June 22, 2007

Morgan Taylor strikes Yellow gold

By Louis Carlozo


“Gustafer Yellowgold has made kids’ music so cool that teenagers and ultra-hip bands such as Wilco want to get in on the act…A shiny blend of pop art and pop tunes.”

These days it seems hip for kids' musicians to tell adults, "This is music your tots will love, and that you can actually tolerate without pulling your hair out." Then there are fellows like New Yorker Morgan Taylor, who makes children's chamber pop so sophisticated, he counts the members of Wilco and the Polyphonic Spree among his fans.

It's not unusual for teens to crash his shows, singing along to songs such as "I'm From the Sun" and "I Jump on Cake."

On the Town caught up with Taylor -- the multi-talented popmeister and artist behind the pointy-headed character Gustafer Yellowgold -- in advance of his shows at the DuPage Children's Museum Sunday.


Q: Where did Gustafer Yellowgold come from?

A: I used to work at Jump City Records in Dayton, Ohio, my home town. One of my jobs was to decorate the market board with the new releases and I started drawing this character spinning a record on his head, cooking reptiles on a range, and it was Gustafer -- but long before I ever knew what I would do with him. He was bobbing up in my subconscious for a long time. He'd make an occasional appearance on a bar napkin.

Q: Tell us about the connection to the Polyphonic Spree.

A: [An animated] DVD came out in July 2005 and I printed up a dozen copies. I thought I would try to sell it at gigs. But this is the crazy thing: By October, we had a TV guy from L.A. wanting to produce it into a TV show and a guy from the [symphonic rock group] Polyphonic Spree got a hold of it and wanted us to come out and play in their big holiday extravaganza. ... The teenagers were just hanging out there with their mouths open. We played in this 2,000-seat theater and people were shouting out song titles. I was a rock star for a night.

Q: What can people expect from the live show?

A: We do it two different ways. We have bass, percussion, me and Rachel my wife, who sings and runs the projection. And depending on the show, we might play with the backing tracks and me strumming and singing along. I prefer the [totally] live version of the show because I can stretch things out a bit, do sing-along versions of the choruses.