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'Pat a Cake' Has Never Sounded So Good

Morgan Taylor's Gustafer Yellowgold hails from the sun, but he recently moved to Minnesota.
Morgan Taylor's Gustafer Yellowgold hails from the sun, but he recently moved to Minnesota.

Gearing up for a long holiday drive with the kids? Stuck inside on a cold day? Stefan Shepherd, of Zooglobble, recommends some kids CDs that won't drive parents crazy.

Dean Jones is a member of a band called Dogs on Fleas that makes music for kids. Napper's Delight is his first solo CD. Here he takes the eclectic approach of his band — in the liner notes Jones is credited with playing spools, conch shells and the balafon — and applies it to an album of not-quite lullabies. The music is perfect for reading a book on a cold winter day or for hanging out in the quiet late afternoon time.

Gustafer Yellowgold was created by New York musician Morgan Taylor. He's an animated character from the sun who moves to Minnesota — kind of a reverse snowbird. Have You Never Been Yellow? is Gustafer's second CD/DVD of soothing music videos and music by itself. The videos use a calming animated style that fits very well with the indie pop tunes that Taylor writes, but Shepherd thinks the way the music tells stories holds up on its own without the animation.

Recess Monkey is a trio of elementary school teachers in the Seattle area who hold an annual summer camp that teaches kids about music – how to make it, how to record it – and this year at the camp they worked on their new album, Wonderstuff. You can hear the kids singing on some of the tracks, and the kids wrote some of the lyrics.

Medeski, Martin &Wood is a well known jazz trio. Shepherd thinks their album Let's Go Everywhere, which comes out in the beginning of January, is great. It's accessible to all sorts of listeners, not just people who are fans of their adult stuff.

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