After Camp Harmony I went and ordered all three of Bob Reid's CDs. Marz Barz and Abracadab came pretty quickly, but We Are the Children was back-ordered, so I only just got it. Good stuff. This is really how children's music ought to be. He's got fun songs and silly songs, and songs that convey really good messages for kids, without being overly preachy. And it's all really good music, with a great selection of other musicians. He also has elementary school kids sing on a lot of his songs, both solos and entire classes at once. I would have thought that would get old pretty quick, but it actually works really well. The entire third album is sung by kids.
The best things about Bob's music is that, while it is clearly written for kids, adults can still enjoy it immensely. I look forward to his Kid's Concert at Harmony every year, as do the teenagers who grew up on his songs, and the parents who take their younger kids to hear him. Part of it is the fun and happiness he puts into everything, and part of it is also just that it's wonderful to watch kids get happy and excited about music the way they do with him. I would tell anyone with kids to get his CDs.
Along the same line of "real" music for kids, I recently discovered another album while looking up various recordings of Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. It turns out they have an album called Not For Kids Only, with amusing songs for kids, plus some awesome playing by a great duo. I was especially interested to hear Three Men Went A-Hunting, since I remember singing that with Mom when Lacey and I were little.
And of course, we've got to work in They Might Be Giants as well. Their album No! is for kids, and they even have a book that goes with some of the songs. Again, the great thing here is that they don't compromise on musical quality just because they're aiming at kids. If you like their other stuff, you'll like this. Four of Two, for example, is one of my favorite of their songs (though admittedly, I tend to have lots of favorites).
TMBG also sing Why Does the Sun Shine? which is one of many science songs by Tom Glazer and Dottie Evans (thanks to a Rose-Colored Gloss for that link). Some of these can be considerably more on the corny side, but they're still pretty amusing in their own way. It's also interesting to compare the original version of Why Does the Sun Shine? with TMBG's on Severe Tire Damage, just to see the range of effects you can get from the one song.
I like music that makes it easy to be a kid at heart.