R. C. Cole and Deena Cole are a husband and wife song writing team based in Nashville. Robert has been writing songs and playing in bands most of his life. Deena began working with kids in her teens. When the two married and started a family, the kid's songs came naturally.
"After the kids went to bed, we write songs instead of watching TV. The result was this collection of little songs written for our kids," says Deena.
These "little" songs however, ended up getting them some big jobs writing for Sesame Workshop and The Jim Henson Co.
They have written songs for the hit shows Bear In The Big Blue House and Book Of Pooh on the Disney Channel. Their songs have been included on the Chicken Soup For Little Souls CD, by the authors of the well known book series, as well as Bear In The Big Blue House CDs, videos and live performances.
They are on the Playhouse Disney 2 CD and have been busy preparing It Takes all Kinds for release. "These are the songs that started it all. They're like our babies," says Deena.
"We're very lucky to have so many talented friends here in Nashville to help bring these songs to life in the studio," said Robert.
The Cole Kids, Robbie and Melody have also contributed to the project. The song "Have You Ever Wondered" was co-written by Melody when she was only seven. Both Melody and Robbie, along with some of their friends, sing backup vocals on some of the tracks. But most importantly, both kids served as the inspiration for It Takes All Kinds.
Read what people are saying about this music:
Music for the whole family
By Fred Koch
(Chicago Parent Magazine)
Last month's column was a spring-cleaning simply because there are so many children's and family music CDs that come my way that deserve recognition. As I have mentioned before, the children's music market is completely saturated with products and I literally get dozens of CDs a week sent to me in hopes of a review. The drill is pretty much the same with most CDs-after hearing a few tracks, I realize I can't listen to any more, let alone write about it.
But this month I have a new CD so outstanding that it deserves a lot of attention. In fact, by the time I finished writing about "The Coles, I didn't have room for any other reviews.
Once in a while I run across a CD that has such great songs that I'm singing along with the first listening. Why does this happen with some songs while others are forgotten as soon as they are done playing? The answer, of course, is some songs are written with artistry, but too many are without. And this is a rare family music CD in which almost every song is outstanding.
A recent Saturday morning while I was serving as taxi dad, I popped this CD into the player. It was a sunny day so I was already in a good mood. The funky little guitar riff that starts the first song and the opening lyric for "It Takes All Kinds" grabbed my attention: "Isn't the world a remarkable place with all its variety?" Sure, the message is a simple one-our strength comes from our diversity-but these simple messages are often the hardest ones to articulate artistically in song.
The songwriters, the husband and wife team of Robert C. and Deena Cole, from Nashville, Tenn., have created a family recording with danceable and eclectic musical styles along with memorable songs that only get better with repeated listening.
Figuring I had heard the best song of the CD, I was skeptical when I saw the title for the second song, "Put Your Happy Face On." But the bouncy percussion introduction kept my interest even though I still wondered how they could pull off a song with such a title. By the time the chorus came around again I was singing, "put your happy face on," along with them. It's more proof that good songwriters can take the simplest and most basic ideas and present them in new and fresh ways.
Next up is "Sophie's Song," a fun guessing game inspired by the family dog. Verse one starts with, "My name is Sophie/I like to bark/I chase a Frisbee," and ends with, "Can you tell me now what I am?" Sure our kids will know the answer quickly, but there's nothing wrong with that. Other verses in the quiz include a cat and a fish and it ends with a young boy named Robbie. On the surface, these seem almost too juvenile to be interesting, but the Coles make the simple pleasures come alive.
I've heard about a dozen too many songs about grandparents. Most are so sappy that I can't believe anyone would even buy the message. But I keep listening to CD after CD with hope I will hear a song that says something that hasn't been said before. Finally, I have. "My Grandpa" is sung with the voice of an adoring young child and, as with all of the songs on "The Cole Family Album," it has a catchy and memorable melody. The song celebrates the times this child spends with her grandpa because, "He comes to see me with a smile on his face/and takes me fishing in his favorite place/I think he lets me win when we race/he's my Grandpa." It really is a precious, tender song and maybe it touches me especially because my son wasn't born in time to meet either of his grandpas. I think the Coles saved the best verse for last: "He's probably 'bout a hundred years old/Grandma says he's got a heart of gold/and I'll remember every story told by my Grandpa."
The mood changes completely with "Yucky Dinner Again" and you will probably reminisce, as I did, thinking about all the yucky stuff your parents made you eat.
In the "don't take my word for it, check it out yourself" category, one of the greatest things about technology and the Internet is that we can preview music that might interest us before we buy it. So visit the "The Coles' Web site (www.smallworldsongs.com) and listen to samples of each song from the CD and read all the lyrics.
It is so refreshing to come across such a well-written and produced family recording. Let's hope they have another batch of songs ready for us soon.
Reviewer: Joan Haznaw
I love this CD! I'm a parent as well as a young children's music and movement educator. The music is fresh, lively and has such wonderful lyrics. I can't stop singing It Takes All Kinds - what a wonderful message to give our world!
My 6 month old twins LOVE it, and so do I!
Reviewer: Toni Schab
I ordered this CD after reading a review about it in our local paper and I'm glad I did. The songs are fun and catchy...we end up singing them throughout the day. My 6 month old twins just light up when the music comes on or someone starts singing one of the tunes. I highly recommend this CD for anyone with kids and plan on giving it as a gift to my family and friends.
Loved it! Reviewer: L.A.
Love the sound and variety. The calypso sound of Good Feeling will be the start of everyday in my second grade classroom!
The Coles Rock... And I don't even have kids!
Reviewer: Karen Staley - Award winning multi-platinum selling songwriter.
Finally, a children's record that I listen to over and over again and never tire of ! And I don't have any children! When my friends R.C. and Deena played me several of the songs they were planning to record for The Cole Family Album I begged to be a part of it! The music was so catchy that " It Takes All Kinds" , " Good Feeling" or " Me & My Dog" would not leave my head! And being a successful songwriter and performer for almost 20 years myself, I knew a good song when I heard it. The lyrics are fun, entertaining and often poignant without "dumbing down" to the everyday children's fare we have all grown weary of. R.C. and Deena Cole should be commended for the undeniable quality of this project. I, for one, can't wait to sing on the next one ! Karen Staley - Award winning multi-platinum selling songwriter and recipient of The Academy of Country Music's Song Of The Year for Keeper Of The Star's
Reviewer: Lorraina Scholten Ed.D.,MSSW
Finally, a collection of songs that appeal to children of all ages. What the Coles have put together is really much more than just a collection of songs. These songs truly capture the spirit of childhood, the fun of learning, and the importance of family all while entertaining us with clever lyrics and friendly melodies. The messages within the music promote tolerance, optimism, fond memories, and fun. This is one family album that definitely has something to offer everyone. - Lorraina Scholten, Ed.D., MSSW