Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We Love Tom Chapin!

Grammy Award-winning Tom Chapin has long been one of our favorite family musicians. I can't remember how I discovered him, but I have always treasured his clever, funny, and touching lyrics...so much more memorable and creative than many children's musicians. He started recording children's music way back in '88, when Raffi was the major children's singer. Now the choices are far greater, but Chapin is still recording hilarious, and sometimes poignant, environmentally focused and progressive music. He also records music for adults, but we've listened to more of his family music. He's the brother of activist singer Harry Chapin of "Cat's in the Cradle" fame.



Chapin rarely travels to the West Coast (I know, because I regularly check his web site for tour dates), so when I saw that he was coming to Portland, I knew we had to go! He did a concert as a benefit for the Portland Cooperative School, and it was held at a church near our home.

The concert was wonderful, energetic, and very accessible for all ages. He performs and records with two other talented musicians, Michael Mark and John Cobert. I wish we had known that the concert included a reception afterward, because I would have brought my camera. Chris was THRILLED to be able to get all their autographs and talk to them in person. We bought a new CD (now autographed) and some wrist bracelets that say "Walk the World" (the title of one of his new songs). We were delighted to discover that he recorded "Walk the World" with our other favorite children's musician, Dan Zanes (who, incidentally, is also fantastic in concert)!


These are the lyrics of some of our favorite Tom Chapin songs:

Family Tree
Great Big Words
This Pretty Planet

And our all-time family favorite, perfect for those six boy cousins:
Cousins

If you have never listened to Tom Chapin and you love the earth, I highly recommend his music!!

Here's one final favorite, which I haven't been able to find on the web, but I included in a homemade songbook I made for Chris when he was 4 years old:

Homemade Lemonade

Shirley and Sue needed money for stuff/So they sat on the swings and they planned.
“When we pool our allowance it’s never enough.”
“Let’s open a lemonade, open a lemonade stand.”

They borrowed a table with one shaky leg
And lemons and sugar and water.
They turned on the hose and they mixed up a keg
And the price was a buck and a quarter.
They sang, “Homemade lemonade. Not from concentrate.
Fresh squeezed, straight from trees.
It’s really, really great.”

Tatiana Smolensk on her way from ballet
Was all plied out in her tutu.
She leapt to the stand, did a pas de bouree,
“Tatiana needs beverage from you two.
But I have no pocket, unfortunately.”
“That’s okay, you can have it for free!” (chorus)

A manhole flew open and out flew a man
In a wet suit, “I’ve come from Aruba.
I’m dry as a bone, can you help me?” “We can!”
And they poured it right into his scuba.
“But I have no pockets, unfortunately.”
“That’s okay, you can have it for free!” (chorus)

The basketball champions pulled up in a bus,
“The last shot was ours and we sank it!”
“They ordered up gallons and cheered,
“Yay for us!”
And they dribbled a lot as they drank it.
“But we have no pockets, unfortunately.”
“That’s okay, you can have it for free!” (chorus)

Along came a prince from his desert doman,
The size of Fort Knox, only richer.
“For a cup of your juice I’d give half my terrain.
I’d part with it all for a pitcher.
And I have deep pockets, as deep as the sea.”
“That’s okay, but unfortunately…”

No more lemonade.” “That is okay, I’ll wait.”
So they made more lemonade.
“Thank you, this is great!”

Now Shirley and Sue in their desert domain
Are the world’s biggest lemon importer.
They’re rich and they’re famous,
They’ve opened a chain
And the price is a buck and a quarter.

So if you open a lemonade stand,
Get out to the curb bright and early.
You might make lots of friends
And a few hundred grand
Just like our old friends Sue and Shirley.

Homemade lemonade. Not from concentrate.
Fresh squeezed, straight from trees.
It’s really, really, really, really, really, really
Homemade lemonade. Not from concentrate.
Fresh squeezed, straight from trees.
It’s really, really, really, really, really, really GREAT!
--John Forster, Michael Mark, and Tom Chapin

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