"Randy Kaplan has a new children’s CD! This is big news at our house... He’s obviously having a great time writing these hugely entertaining, goofy, offbeat, and truly wonderful songs. He’s an incomparable storyteller, and each song is its own little world... My only complaint about this new CD is that it is kind of driving me nuts. The grownups in this house want to hear the whole album over and over again, whereas Jasper wants to hear each song over and over again, so that it takes approximately 3 hours to finally hear them all!"
-Laura Lucanidae / Stag Beetle Power!
Randy’s 3rd not-JUST-for-kids CD is here! It features all-time classics like Forever Young (by Bob Dylan), I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’ (from Porgy & Bess), The Money Song (the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis gem), and The Derby Ram (George Washington’s favorite folk song) along with original songs like The Hebrew-Speaking Bear (based on a true story), The Kid Is All Id (brush up on your Freud, this kid is not ‘alright’), Little Bee (watch out mosquitoes and roaches – here comes the queen!), and Is She a Girl or Is She a Monkey (in which Randy’s pet monkey Kqxhc – of Sirius-XM Radio fame – gives Randy a piece of his mind). There are also three songs based on or inspired by the classic picture books of Ezra Jack Keats! The CD includes an 8-panel fold-out with song notes, photographs, drawings, prints, and even a Hebrew-Speaking Bear glossary! The Kids Are All Id won the NAPPA Gold Award and was a top-5 finalist in the Nickelodeon Parents' Pick Awards.
The Kids Are All Id was produced by bluegrass, blues, and country master Mike West at his 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor studio in Lawrence, Kansas. Personnel includes Mike on banjo and mandolin, Katie Euliss (of Truckstop Honeymoon) on upright bass, Colin Mahoney on drums, Bradford Hoopes on piano and chimes, Tom Johnson on trombone, Nate Craft on tuba and trombone, John Thompson on accordion, Erica Jolene Brandt on the saw, and a chorus of kids whistling, guffawing, and even screeching when called for. The Fiordafreakos make appearances and, by special arrangement, so does Randy's pet monkey, Kqxhc!
In his songs for children and their families, Randy Kaplan blends American Roots, Country Blues, and Comedic Storytelling. “He doesn’t dumb it down for the kids… He just expects them to come along for the ride. And they do” (TIME OUT NEW YORK KIDS). Randy started his children’s music career in Brooklyn, New York where he was a music teacher at Beansprouts preschool. He now lives in Los Angeles, California. “One of the most exciting newcomers to kids’ music since Dan Zanes” (PARENTING MAGAZINE), Randy has also released seven not-REALLY-for-kids CDs with another one due out later this year. But, back to them family albums...
FIVE CENT PIECE (2006) features all-time classics like “Over the Rainbow” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (a good first mantra for children) along with original songs such as “Shampoo Me” (the account of the friendly but demanding shark in the bathtub) and “Roaches” (they’re tryin’ on your underwear, checkin’ out your grocery list, readin’ your copy of Metamorphosis). The record was labeled “a masterwork” by THE BROOKLYN PAPER and praised as “gloriously wacky” by NEW YORK MAGAZINE.
LOQUAT ROOFTOP (2008) also contains classics like “Move It On Over” (Hank Williams) and “Tomorrow” (from Annie) as well as originals such as “No Nothing” (the tale of the depraved cat “Nothing” and the hungry monkey “Kqxhc”) and the eponymous ballad “Loquat Rooftop.” The album appeared on numerous national Top Ten lists, notably NPR’s. The single “No Nothing” became a SIRIUS-XM RADIO hit and was nominated for Best Children’s Song of the year by JUST PLAIN FOLKS. MINDSMACK TV created an animated video for the CD’s second single, “The Ladybug Without Spots,” which can be viewed on Randy’s YouTube channel.
Excerpts from Reviews of The Kids Are All Id:
"I like getting press releases with the CDs I receive for review, but sometimes they'll hype the CD too much. In the case of family musician Randy Kaplan’s The Kids Are All Id, however, the press release is right on the mark. No, wait, I take that back. It should have gone on and on even more about what an awesomely fun-for-all-ages CD this really is.
"A while back, I reviewed Kaplan's Loquat Rooftop and immediately added it to my then 2-year-old son's CD collection. It became an instant favorite. The Kids Are All Id tops that CD and then some! Whimsical, rootsy, imaginative, and funny, Kaplan somehow crawls inside the minds of children and hones in on what they want to hear and what will make them laugh.
"The opening track, "My Little Laugh," is a bluegrassy tune with a simple message that all parents should take note of: If you laugh when your little one takes a tumble, there is a good chance he or she will laugh, too. Crisis averted!
"Kaplan also does a beautiful job on the three original songs based on or inspired by the picture books of Ezra Jack Keats, author and illustrator of The Snowy Day, among other classic children's books: "Whistle for Willie" (inspired by the book of the same name), "Dream Hat" (inspired by Jennie's Hat), and "I Like Cacti" (inspired by Clementina's Cactus).
"And Kaplan serenades and entertains listeners with classic songs as well, including covers of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" and the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis number "The Money Song."
"There are no weak spots on this CD or on any of Kaplan's past CDs nor will there be, I predict, on any of his future CDs. This guy is what makes children and family music listenable and cool."
-Charlotte Bohn / BALTIMORE'S CHILD
"What kid hasn't experienced the getting-left-with-the-babystitter blues? A story-song with humor, vivid imagery and a teenage girl’s voice so spot-on you’ll spit coffee the first time you hear it, “Don’t You Leave Me Here” may end up being as beloved a tune as “No Nothing” in Kaplan’s impressive all-ages oeuvre. Prepare to have the the song title’s melody and the accompanying ‘wah-wah-wah-wah’ of the trumpet stuck in your head for days.
"Sure, it’s the theme song for NBC’s Parenthood, and Pepsi adopted it for a recent (and pretty stellar) ad campaign, but Kaplan is still able to make Bob Dylan’s culturally saturated “Forever Young” shine (video proof below). His creative guitar arrangement provides for enough of a unique spark that this simple blessing can once again be sung to kids at bedtime or anytime, with or without a soda in hand.
"The “Loquat Rooftop” (the song, not the album) of this new disc is the banjo picked "Joe and Finn". It’s a sentimental tune meant more for the grown ups than the kiddos. “Joe and Finn” may get your emotions going as you think back to your own childhood or reflect on those gone-forever stages in your own kid’s adolescence. Written with a wink and a smile, this beautiful melancholy tune includes one of the best lines of the entire set in “Finn and Joe in case you didn’t know / were the best of friends that three year-olds could be / they’ll maybe even stay a sliver in each others memories”.
"A 5-year old who’d rather play outside then accumulate more plastic crap is at the center of Kaplan’s adaptation of “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’”, a George Gershwin number from Porgy & Bess. Kaplan seamlessly converts this 1930’s showtune into a kid’s song by sliding in the story of a wise-beyond-his-years child who excitedly tells Randy about getting zilch for his birthday.
"Fans of Kaplan’s “No Nothing” will be pleased to hear the return of KQXHC, Randy’s pet monkey, in “Is She A Girl Or Is She A Monkey”. Randy Kaplan’s finest vocal performance comes here, with the soulful “She’s got scrapes on her knees / from scaling trees / And brushing against those branches / Like a leaf in the wind / she shakes and dances”. After hearing this song performed live, I wish that Kaplan would’ve extended the conversation between he and KQXHC on the album. There was some funny left on the cutting room floor that would have enhanced the recorded version of “Is She A Girl Or Is She A Monkey”.
"Okay, Time to Wrap it Up with a Nice Little Bow: Always one to sprinkle in familiar covers (“Tomorrow”, Over the Rainbow”), Kaplan digs much deeper into the Great American songbook for “The Kids Are All Id” with cuts from Porgy & Bess, Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, and an 18th-century drinking song retro-fitted for the juice box crowd. Add the trio of Ezra Jack Keats inspired tunes, all of which shine, to the rest of his clever originals and “The Kids Are All Id” is a masterful work of family music that earns, and more than deserves, it’s ‘all-ages’ label; my 3-year old laughs, my 6-year old repeats the stories and my wife and I sing along. With ample imagery, storytelling, humor, grace and genuine emotion, “The Kids Are All Id” is about as close as a piece of polycarbonate plastic can come to being musical theater. It’s hard to imagine “The Kids Are All Id” being more superb. With his 3rd “not-just for kids” album, Kaplan has nailed it."
-Jeff Bogle / OWTK
"The fanciful stories sprung from the conjoined heads of Shel Silverstein and Bob Dylan are Kaplan's calling card, and he's very, very good at them. His third album for kids, The Kids Are All Id, is to my mind, his most story-intensive collection yet. From the get-go, Kaplan tells inventive stories in folk songs about characters you haven't heard from -- "The Hebrew-Speaking Bear," an Elizabeth II-aping queen bee on "Little Bee," or his monkey Kqxhc, who makes a return appearance on "Is She a Girl or Is She a Monkey."...
"The album is titled The Kids Are All Id on purpose -- there are lots of characters here who are somewhat exasperating -- Joe, of course, the title character in the folk-punk "The Kid Is All Id," Kaplan's younger self in his rreworking of "Don't You Leave Me Here," or the toddler who responds to every joke setup line with "This Guy." The first ten or so songs are, if not frenzied, at least active. As a result, the trio of Ezra Jack Keats-based songs about two-thirds of the way through the disk come like a soothing balm. "I Like Cacti" is a sweet, sweet song -- I can't get over the line "What attracts us / About a cactus?" Indeed, while I've been focusing on the words here, Kaplan writes some great musical bits (there's a part in "The Kid Is All Id," in which the adult supervisor breaks free with a plaintive, soaring chorus) and he and his producer Mike West give the album a natural, expansive sound... The Kids Are All Id is Randy Kaplan's best album yet, and shows Kaplan's greatest strength -- his ability to listen to and interact with the kids who are his audience and to turn that into stories in song."
-SA Shepherd / Zooglobble
"Randy Kaplan has a wonderful way of spinning a yarn that the kids just eat up, and then smoothly transitioning that story into a catchy song that sticks with you. His facial expressions are priceless, and as my 12 year old put it, "He wasn't just little kid funny. He was funny funny." The songs are like a cross between They Might Be Giants and early Bob Dylan, and friends, you know there is no higher praise coming from me. Quick digression: There is actually a Bob Dylan song on the album that Randy performed at the concert: "Forever Young." (NOT to be confused with the Rod Stewart song!) My senior year of high school, I printed out the lyrics of that song and pasted it into my friends' yearbooks. It has tremendous sentimental value for me and I will readily admit I teared up during that performance."
-eltonmom / Moms Like Me
"Though New Times is typically not known for writing about things good for the under age 10 crowd, we do appreciate it when people who play "kids" music do an interesting job... Like, for example, Randy Kaplan, who is known for both his adult and his children's songs, and his sound has been described as, "Tin Pan Alley meets Shel Silverstein meets Dylan," by local children's music super-blogger Stefan Shepherd. He'll be playing on Sunday, June 13 at the much lauded Children's Museum of Phoenix. While he's got several fan favorites, I included his "I Like Cacti" for our desert-dwellers. (Plus, you've gotta respect any out of towner that refers to them as "cacti" rather than "cactuses.")"
-Sarah Ventre / Phoenix New Times
"Randy Kaplan has a new children’s CD! This is big news at our house... He’s obviously having a great time writing these hugely entertaining, goofy, offbeat, and truly wonderful songs. He’s an incomparable storyteller, and each song is its own little world... My only complaint about this new CD is that it is kind of driving me nuts. The grownups in this house want to hear the whole album over and over again, whereas (my son) wants to hear each song over and over again, so that it takes approximately 3 hours to finally hear them all!"
-Laura Lucanidae / Stag Beetle Power!
"Randy Kaplan’s quirky, whimsical repertoire enchants parents and kids alike. Given a typical CD of children’s music, many parents are ready to toss it, pull their hair out—or both—after just an hour or two. But roots rocker Randy Kaplan offers parents a welcome break from the monotony of so many children’s albums. Drawing inspiration from blues, folk, alternative and pop, Kaplan boasts a musical repertoire that adults will love as much their kids do... Kaplan’s latest album, “The Kids Are All Id,” (is) a fresh dose of brassy, folksy fun for moms, dads and kids alike."
-Brittany McNamara / New York Family
"I consider Kaplan a singularly unique voice in the kindie music community. The uniqueness comes not only from his layered, slightly complex tales that tend to work on multiple levels at the same time... He seems fully aware that to capture and keep an audience in the all-ages space, it helps to make the moms and dads smile a little bit along the way. He does not, however, pander to the grown ups at the expense of younger ears, which is why he is proving to be one of the truly great songwriters in the children’s music community... One of the ways Kaplan engages parents is by selecting eclectic covers for his albums. The songs that Kaplan turns into kiddie fodder may crumble in the hands of others, but on "The Kids Are All Id" alone he manages to pull off Bob Dylan's "Forever Young", "I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin'" from Porgy & Bess and a youthful adaptation of a centuries-old drinking song "The Derby Ram". Kaplan is once again giving the grown ups some meat with their mashed potatoes. For the kids, Kaplan is probably best appreciated for injecting hilarious voices into his story songs. On "The Kids Are All Id", he works in a British Queen bee and a Hebrew speaking bear, along with a monkey named Kqxhc (a returning character, from Loquat Rooftop's "No Nothin"). While the adults are nodding with significant approval, the kiddos will be chuckling mightily."
-Jeff Bogle / Out With The Kids (Preview)
"The Kids Are All Id is a family-friendly CD by Randy Kaplan, designed to appeal to listeners of all ages. Some of the tracks are timeless classics; others are original storytelling-songs; all blend delightful adventures with playful rhythms and flippant humor. Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy the clever compositions. The Kids Are All Id is especially fun to listen to on car trips or other excursions with young ones."
-Midwest Book Review
"My five year old son was in a bad mood, upset that I wouldn’t let him wear dress shoes with shorts to go to the park. Then, he stopped to listen to the title track of Randy Kaplan’s The Kids Are Al Id CD. 'That’s a funny song,' he said as he laid down on his back to listen to more. A couple of minutes later, my middle child came in, just in time to hear Kaplan’s version of the traditional "The Derby Ram," and he commented (to me), 'Write this down. My son said that is really good music.'
"I must tell you that my kids product test a lot of the music I review, but this time was different because they floated in without invitations and had immediately positive reactions. Frankly, you shouldn’t need more convincing commentary from here on out, but I’ll deliver a little more because this album of original songs and cover tunes has the effect of a Sunday sidewalk performance that becomes an afternoon’s highlight for normally jaded pedestrians.
"Playing off the success of 2008’s Loquat Rooftop, the singer-songwriter culls 17 pieces of music from the various levels of his and his family’s consciousness (thus the reference to the “id”). From the folk friendliness of “My Little Laugh” to the wacky grooviness of “Is She a Girl or is She a Monkey,” Kaplan keeps the playful vibe going throughout. Much like his kid radio hit “No Nothing” from the Loquat recording, “Don’t You Leave Me Here” is a star track for the way Kaplan turns the traditional blues composition into a comedic play about a kid being left with the babysitter (complete with the character voices of a mom, babysitter, and child).
"The diverse treats on this album never end. Kaplan offers up a language lesson in a story song on “The Hebrew Speaking Bear,” brings the books of Ezra Jack Keats to life on three tracks, including the linguistically clever “Dream Hat,” and beautifully personalizes the Bob Dylan classic “Forever Young.”
"I often get carried away in calling albums one of the best of the year, but for all of its ability to capture children’s perspectives and parents’ experiences this one is one of the best I have ever heard. You need to hear it too."
-Gregory Keer / Family Man Online
"Randy Kaplan is the thinking kids' musician. The Kids Are All IdSuper storyteller/singer Randy Kaplan is no ordinary kids' music performer. Oh, sure, he may sing about monkeys, bears and queen bees, but on his latest CD he also has my kids asking me to explain Freud, the definition of Hebrew terms, and even why someone might be happier with no money. In other words, if you've got a precocious, question-everything kid, meet the perfect CD to get them thinking while they sing along.
"Following up his much-beloved Loquat Rooftop, The Kids Are All Id kicks off with the bouncy banjo-y My Little Laugh about a kid who laughs at adversity and cries when happy. From there, the CD covers everything from The Herbrew-Speaking Bear who can kibbitz with the best of them, to Is She a Girl or Is She a Monkey, a smooth-as-silk song that describes my middle child to a T. Randy sings and talks his way through an hour-long potpourri of music and stories.
"My favorite song on the CD, The Kid is All Id, is a sort of parental rap for anyone who has lived through the toddler years. It includes the best, most-surprising reference to weaning that had me spit-laugh the first time I heard it.
"And I love his imaginative trio of songs Whistle for Willie, Dream Hat and I Like Cacti which are inspired by the lovely Ezra Jack Keats' picture books. It all ends with a wistful cover of Forever Young which is the perfect closing for a CD that appeals to the smart side of kids, as well as their parents."
-Christina / Cool Mom Picks
"Late 1960's hippies (mostly in their early-to-late sixties) will enjoy their grandchildren’s new Randy Kaplan CD, The Kids Are All Id. The first song¸ “My Little Laugh,” immediately brings Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” to mind, a fond reminder of a long-gone time and a fun lesson about being responsible for our own feelings. Randy Kaplan is not Arlo Guthrie, and doesn’t try to be. Folksy (“The Derby Ram”) and bluesy (“Dream Hat”) songs are sung, along with other influences, all performed with the sensibility of a Catskills comedian, if you can imagine that. Kaplan’s songs are stories, and he includes charming narrative with which kids can identify. Employing a variety of voices and clever lyrics, he thoroughly entertains throughout the CD's 17 songs.
"The Kids Are All Id (the title track could be the anthem of frustrated parents everywhere) includes songs inspired by books by Ezra Jack Keats. With a few minor lyric changes, it also contains the Gershwins' “I Got Plenty of Nothing,” Dave Van Ronk’s “Don’t You Leave Me Here” (bringing back Greenwich Village memories), Harold Rome’s “The Money Song,” and one of my favorites—Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.” George Washington’s favorite song, “The Derby Ram,” has undergone some modernization to appeal to twenty-first-century kids. Whether or not Kaplan has been influenced by “Weird Al” Yankovic, his “The Kid Is All Id” sounds like it could have been ripped from Yankovic's songbook (this is high praise).
"Known for his cover of the Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” which is a rambling story with a rock song thrown in to shake it up, Kaplan captivates with his not-quite-perfect voice and somewhat-off-center sense of humor... The Kids Are All Id hits the mark with a selection of songs that won’t drive parents to distraction. You won’t hear Barney singing them, but that’s a good thing... The Kids Are All Id (is) funky enough and just far enough out there that I can enjoy it without disturbing the kids with whom I’m supposed to share it."
-Miss Bob Etier / Kiddie Korner
"Kids who laugh at bee stings, a Hebrew-speaking bear who eats shoelaces, a monkey-like girl and George Washington’s favorite giant sheep inspire the songs on Randy Kaplan’s third not-just-for-kids music release, The Kids Are All Id. The Parent Picks poll on Nickelodeon’s Parentsconnect just named it as one of five Best Kids’ Music CDs of 2010. From the first song, “My Little Laugh,” in which a kid’s emotional responses are all topsy turvy, it’s apparent that Randy Kaplan’s slant on life is a little different. Offering a Woody Guthrie-esque style that blends a chatty kind of storytelling with an eclectic range of rootsy music, Kaplan paints a humorous and poignant picture with every track. Highlights include his takes on all-time classics: “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’” from the Gershwin musical Porgy & Bess, “The Money Song” (a Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis gem), “The Derby Ram,” an old British folk song which was supposedly George Washington’s favorite. The CD ends with “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan, which Kaplan says “is as much of a blessing as a song.” Other original songs demonstrate Kaplan’s empathy with the plights of childhood. “The Kid Is All Id” explores the psychology of tantrum-throwing, self-absorbed kids, and their maniacal genius. Any kid with a babysitter will relate to “Don’t You Leave Me Here.” Kaplan’s interview with a toddler named Julian (after they watch the entirety of Wagner’s Das Rheingold together) becomes “This Guy.” And “Joe and Finn” celebrates the simple playtime joys of a friendship between 3 year olds."
-Andrea / Mommy PR
"Randy Kaplan goes about (kids' music) in a slightly different way and I'm a big fan of this. The songs may be written with kids in mind, but there's a little kid in all of us and that's who it's aimed us. Not little kids, but all kids. So there's no real concession to age. Take 'the Hebrew Speaking Bear (Heave Ho)' which I'm sure I've heard on a Tom Waits album. Sort of an Eastern European Praguean device. 'Little Bee' has comedy Bee voices set against a jazz pavement cafe orchestra and a tall tale about the Queen Bee who can sting more than once. 'The Kid is all ID' goes all Freudian on a toddler and ends up Emineming on the kid... The lovely 'Whistle for Willie' is a one-man-and-his-dachshund song which will have your kids whistling all over the place (or laugh trying)... The last track is a lovely take on Dylan's 'Forever Young'. Sometimes context is key. The song doesn't normally float my boat but here, as a closer to an album aimed at kids, it finaly makes sense to me... Americanisations put aside - I like this a lot - and so does my boy Bear, and that's the important part."
-Andrew Williams / Americana-UK
"Part rockin' jams, part comedy act, Randy Kaplan is hilarious! The title track of this CD will make you LOL with lyrics like "You've been a little tyrant since you've been off of the boob. ..." It's a song every parent of a toddler (and beyond!) can relate to! (Oh, and the kids dig him, too!)"
-Nickelodeon Parents' Pick CD Review