"Thomas' intimate, downhome, bluesy performance and playful songwriting style make this collection a perfect teaching tool in both the classroom and at home...This is a great project from an artist who is a welcome addition to the kids' music world." Warren Truitt - Children's Music that Rocks (May 2008)
"Children get a toe-tappin' lesson in español with this bilingual acoustic rock album. The tunes are so irresistible, kids will gladly join in on the ode to "cucarachas," even (maybe especially!) after they figure out what those are." Parenting Magazine (August 2008)
"The arrangements and production have a bit of a G. Love/Jack Johnson/Ben Taylor vibe...this is the first kids' record I can remember that reflects the reality in many households of both languages intermingling. It sounds effortless but hits the spot." Bill Childs - www.sparetherock.com (June 2008)
full reviews below...
About the reviewer: Warren Truitt is the Children's Librarian at the Donnell Central Children's Room at the New York Public Library.
Usually I'll wait until an artist can send me a finished CD or at least a burned CDR of premixed tracks before I post a review of their work, but I'm gonna go ahead and review demos from this performer's website because 1) his songs are that good and 2) his material fills a need.
Will Thomas will release his collection of bilingual kids' tunes in August, 2008, on an album called The Spanglish Wrangler Sings Bilingual Songs for the Whole Family. The songs are fun and funny and witty, and, most importantly to adults, stand up to repeated listenings. While Thomas has recorded grownup albums at Birdland Recording Studios in Town Creek, Alabama (very close to my hometown), he laid down the basic tracks for Spanglish Wrangler at his home studio in Miami Beach.
You can practice your Spanish vocabulary by inference in the song "Emociones"; while "(They Call It) Spanish Monday", based on T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday Blues", helps you brush up on the days of the week. "Desayuno Boogie" is a celebration of breakfast, while the swampy funk of "Broccoli" describes a girl's love of that vegetable.
"Eres Mi Vida" is a Spanish-language version of "You Are My Sunshine", and the story of "Cucaracha" is set to the music of Earth Wind and Fire's "September". "Bailla Pollito" is a funny little tale about a reluctant dancer, while "I Love My Dog" is a little reminiscent of the old classic "Down By the Bay". Additional vocab practice is provided by "Gator and Bee" and "Bear's Picnic", directions en Espanol on the former and present tense verbs on the latter ("I sing, canto, y'all sing, cantais", etc.).
Thomas' intimate, downhome, bluesy performance and playful songwriting style make this collection a perfect teaching tool in both the classroom and at home. You're not smacked in the head with ridiculously bombastic production, and the lyrics don't make kids (or adults) feel like dunces. This is a great project from an artist who is a welcome addition to the kids' music world.
Warren Truitt - Children's Music that Rocks (May 14, 2008)
Now Miami-based Will Thomas performs relaxed alt-country with a blues touch, more or less, with lyrics in, as the title suggests, some Spanish, some English - Spanglish - in every song. The arrangements and production have a bit of a G. Love/Jack Johnson/Ben Taylor vibe, with a couple of songs based on classics ("Cucaracha" based on Earth Wind & Fire's "September," and "They Call It Spanish Monday" on T. Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday"). If you're looking for some Spanish language in your kids' environment, this is a great, accessible, non-cheesy record, with some gentle humor ("Broccoli," for instance, involves a kid's bargaining for more - yes, more! - broccoli). While there are a handful of songs out there with both English and Spanish (the Jimmies' terrific "Spanimals" comes to mind), this is the first kids' record I can remember that reflects the reality in many households of both languages intermingling. It sounds effortless but hits the spot.
Bill Childs is a law professor in western Massachusetts. He and his kids produce a kids' music radio show, "Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child," weekly; check it out at www.sparetherock.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him other artists he should know about.
Bill Childs - Little Rock Family (Jun 23, 2008)