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Father Goose: 'It's A Bam Bam Diddly'


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

And now, we're going to spend some time with an artist of many names. Growing up in Jamaica, he was known as Wayne Rhoden. He's also known as Rankin' Don, a name he picked up as a D.J. in reggae dancehalls. Now he's teamed up with a popular children's musician, Dan Zanes, where he took on another moniker, Father Goose. And under that name, he aims his dancehall boogie at a pint-sized audience.

(Soundbite of "Sly Mongoose")

FATHER GOOSE (Musician): (Singing) Yeah, man, banana (unintelligible). (unintelligible) make me feel this fish. Replace some food, built (unintelligible). Sly Mongoose.

NORRIS: Father Goose's new solo album, "It's a Bam Bam Diddly," draws on the music he heard as a child growing up in Jamaica. He says he likes to take those traditional songs and add his Father Goose twist.

FATHER GOOSE: To add a few flavors, you know, my own seasoning.

NORRIS: Your own seasoning, huh?


NORRIS: Okay, what goes into that mix?

FATHER GOOSE: Well, I add some, you know, some nice lyrics, sometimes moods, attitudes and, you know, a few, little of the Goose special ingredients.

(Soundbite of "It's a Bam Bam")

FATHER GOOSE: (Singing) It's a bam bam diddly. Ah, diddly, hey. Bam bam. Well, latest craze today. Down here in Jamaica way. Is bam bam, the latest dance. It might even go to France. Bam bam. Celebration time. Work the body line. It's going around. Inna shanty towns.

NORRIS: Why did you decide to move into children's music? How did that happen?

FATHER GOOSE: It all started when I got a call from a very good friend of mine, Dan Zanes, to try something new. (Unintelligible) kicking and screaming, of course. And…

NORRIS: You didn't like the idea at first?

FATHER GOOSE: Well, it was new to me, so I was trying to start thinking first, I like the idea for recording, but not to perform in front of kids. I didn't know what to say or how to act.

NORRIS: So wait, you're a performer. You're used to - working in dancehalls. And that's a tough audience to make sure that the floor is always filled. You were concerned about performing in front of kids? Is that a tough audience?

FATHER GOOSE: Yes. It's a weird thing. It's easier for me to perform in front of, you know, thousands of people than to perform in front of two or three. You know, it's just a weird thing. I don't know. It's just - that's all I am, I guess.

(Soundbite of "Come Down The Line")

FATHER GOOSE: (Singing) Everybody, everybody, them a come down the line now.

NORRIS: You actually tour with Dan Zanes. And you - he often calls you out in the course of the performance. And people, as I understand, at his concert, the kids often sing along. They know the music. They've heard it. They all hear these songs over and over and over again. Your music is designed to get kids moving. It's really dance music. So what happens in that performance when you step on stage?

FATHER GOOSE: Well, basically, they call it the dance part of the segment. And that's all we do, just dance and have fun, you know? We come out to enjoy ourselves and just have a big party onstage. And that's what I love doing, you know? I love to have fun. The best thing for me is when people enjoying themselves more than anything else. I love to put smiles on people's face. And that in turn lets me feel good inside.

(Soundbite of "Come Down The Line")

FATHER GOOSE: (Singing) Let them do all the limbo. So make them do the Rukumbine now, inna de dance party. Everybody them a come down the line now.

NORRIS: How has it changed you as an artist?

FATHER GOOSE: Well, I'm more disciplined now and more mature, but still, I'm addicted(ph) to dancing. There's no way getting around that.

(Soundbite of "Come Down The Line")

FATHER GOOSE: (Singing) People always come tell me. How them love fe dance up inna de dance party. Make them do the limbo inna de dance party.

NORRIS: I want to ask you about one of the songs on the CD It's called "Music Man." And the first voice that we hear in this song is your mother?


(Soundbite of "Music Man")

Unidentified Woman: Imagine, you have been all over the world now with your music. You are not a little goose anymore. You are Father Goose, the music man.

FATHER GOOSE: (Singing) The goose is out the concert hour. I'm the music man. You know, that's what I am.

NORRIS: How did you choose that name, Father Goose?

FATHER GOOSE: It was the first track that we did called "Father Goose," that was the name of the track. It was a medley. And then the name stuck. I tried everything in my power to get rid of the name because it wouldn't work.

NORRIS: Why didn't you like it?

FATHER GOOSE: I don't know. It was just weird to me at first, coming from Rankin' Don. Father Goose? (Unintelligible). You know, I've got a lot of plugging and a lot of radio stations were like, you're what? Father what? Okay, you believe that the dancehall rude boy is now Father Goose? Come on. You know, so to me, I'm happy because then I bring something new to them.

(Soundbite of "Music Man")

FATHER GOOSE: (Singing) That's what I am. (Unintelligible). Music everyday, hey.

NORRIS: Have you always turned to music to express yourself or for comfort? Or what does music mean to you?

FATHER GOOSE: Music is like oxygen to me. I try to walk away from it, put it aside and it keeps pulling me back. You know, I just love music, everything about music. I just love to express myself. It brings my mood up, everything. It's so good. It's the tool to help me let people enjoy themselves on many levels.

(Soundbite of "Nah Eat No Fish")

FATHER GOOSE: (Singing) Worse than pee-rye, mama. Worse than pee-rye. Cumba cumba fish mama. Nah eat no fish. Worse than pee-rye, mama. Worse than pee-rye. Cumba cumba fish mama. Nah eat no fish.

NORRIS: Well, you know, I keep calling you Father Goose because I'm not sure if I should call you Wayne or Rankin' Don.

FATHER GOOSE: Father Goose is perfect. I love it.

NORRIS: Father Goose is perfect, Okay.

FATHER GOOSE: I love the name Father Goose.

NORRIS You embrace it now?

FATHER GOOSE: I embrace it with a lot of love.

NORRIS: All right. Well, Father Goose, thank you so much for coming in to talk to us.

FATHER GOOSE: Thank you.

NORRIS: That was Father Goose. His new album is called "It's a Bam Bam Diddly."

(Soundbite of "Nah Eat No Fish")

FATHER GOOSE: (Singing) Cumba cumba fish mama. Nah eat no fish. Cumba cumba fish mama. Nah eat no fish.

NORRIS: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.