Reviews of Yes!
Review by Warren Truitt on About.com. 4 and 1/2 stars. Wayne Potash's seventh kids' music release might surprise longtime listeners, but it certainly won't disappoint. Whereas his last CD, A Day in the Life (5 stars), was steeped in classic rock influences, Yes! has a definite alt country feel, with touches of modern bluegrass. One thing that makes Yes! work is that Potash performed and produced the album in a way that all the songs mix and meld into a cohesive sound. No genre-jumping was needed to create this great album! Yes! kicks off with a pretty straight bluegrass version of the traditional tune "Old Dan Tucker," inspired, according to Potash, by Pete Seeger's recording. The loping country tune "I Like Trucks" sounds a little like a Roger Miller song, while "Bold Beaver" tells the story of a brave rodent via a super melody and catchy chorus that'll remind you of a John Denver pop song. The chorus of "Allis Chalmers" sounds vaguely like "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" and tells the story of the tractor Potash used as teenager, and "Sleep in a Tent" is a wonderful tune about the outdoors that has a feel similar to the organic country sound on The Okee Dokee Brothers' latest album Can You Canoe? Originally released on Don't Forget the Donut, "Seven Nights To Rock" introduces young listeners to Moon Mullican's classic rockabilly tune written by Buck Trail, Louis Innis, and Henry Glover. "Flying in an Airplane" has a smooth, organic sound similar to The Doobie Brothers' mellower stuff, while Potash and band play a chugging version of the blues song "Rock Island Line," a tune made popular by Lead Belly. Skiffle artist Lonnie Donegan, a favorite of the young Beatles, recorded his version in 1954, so Potash and band included a tiny snippet of "Get Back" in their recording of "Rock Island Line." Lucy Sollogub wrote the folk tune "Underneath It is Me," a song about the real you sung by Hannah Lizotte. I wouldn't even have to tell you because it's so evident, but Potash channels Led Zeppelin through "Yes O Yes," a song that is heavily influenced by that classic band's manic backwoods bluegrass tune "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" from Led Zeppelin III. "Penguins Attention" is an audience participation song recorded at a live concert, while the environmental song "I Wanna Be Green" sounds a little like The Monkees' tune "Zor and Zam." "My Name is Joe" is another classic audience participation song that includes lots of sound effects to accompany each line of the tune. Potash and band play a nice bluegrass version of the traditonal "I Had a Rooster." The album ends with a treat, the original 1983 version of "Dogs in Outer Space," a New Wave-ish rocker by Potash's former band X-Dreams.
The Verdict: Wayne Potash has been in the kids' music game for a long time now, so it's to his credit that his albums keep getting better as he goes along. Yes! is a great little chunk of alt country for kids, introducing children and their families to traditional tunes and original songs, all performed with an organic warmth unique to Wayne Potash and his musical friends.
Stefan Shepherd, Zooglobble Boston-area musician Potash has always been a little retro in his approach -- no revved-up post-ironic alterna-pop for him, nosiree. When I reviewed his 2005 album Don't Forget the Donut, I praised his goofy lack of pretense, and time has not changed Potash's approach much. You’ll find some great preschooler tracks. "I Like Trucks," for example, is a slow-moving country-folk song that is so ear-wormy and familiar that I could've sworn I'd heard it on a previous record. I hadn't. It is an instant transportation song classic, and "Allis Chalmers," a love song to a tractor with a great singalong chorus, is almost one as well. Listen to clips from the 46-minute album here. Rootsy originals and traditionals with a dash of classic rock, gentle and empathetic, Yes! is a sweet album for the wee ones. Recommended.
Paul Shackman, Booklist This collection of 15 songs opens the doors to New England performer Wayne Potash’s music, which encompasses, with no incongruity, the natural world and machines. Potash easily extols the prowess of a “Bold Beaver” and the versatility of “Allis Chalmers” farm tractors, and he skillfully packs in a lot of information. It’s fun to camp out and “Sleep in a Tent,” yet there’s no shame in admitting “I Like Trucks.” The album is a mix of 7 Potash originals and 8 covers, including the rockin’ “Rock Island Line” and old-timey “Old Dan Tucker” and similarly authentic “I Had a Rooster.” There’s a lot more here, from “Flying in an Airplane” to “Dogs in Outer Space,” and every song gets a solid, entertaining treatment, whether country or rock or an adept combination of styles. Potash knows his young audience, and his music mirrors their likes and stirs their enthusiasms.
Parent Review: I just wanted to say that your new album Yes! is AWESOME! Great stuff. Kudos.