Album Details

October 18, 2011
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Children, Children's Rock, Children's Songwriters, Children's Folk

Album Review

In recent years, songwriter Chip Taylor has been on a tear, releasing a whopping 19 albums (not including compilations) since he returned to recording in 1996 after a nearly 20-year break. His last few albums -- Yonkers, NY, New Bye & Bye (with Carrie Rodriguez), and Rock & Roll Joe: A Tribute To the Unsung Heroes of Rock N' Roll, mostly concerned themselves with rock and country nostalgia, and not in a bad way, either. And while it's true that Taylor has written all kinds of songs in his career: rock, pop, country, blues, ballads, Golden Kids Rules marks new terrain for the grizzled old veteran: an album of children's songs recorded with his three granddaughters, Riley, Kate, ands Samantha, and released on Smithsonian Folkways. According to Taylor (and his liner note-writing brother, actor Jon Voight -- also Taylor's real last name), he has a long history of writing songs for family members on special occasions. The last three songs on the album were written for his son Kristian's wedding; Taylor, his daughter, and his granddaughters -- Riley, Kate, and Samantha Ennis (ages 12, 10, and 8 at the time of this recording) -- went into a studio to record them just for the event. They are among the finest things here (especially "The Possum Hunter"). The other songs here walk the musical line between shuffling folk, country, and roots rock, backed by a professional studio band. In other words, the the music is vintage Taylor. Topically, these songs deal with the importance of common sense rules ("Golden Kids Rules"), a very humane and non-scary way of dealing with death ("Quarter Moon Shining"), the importance of goals ("Big Ideas"), environmentalism ("Kids Save the Planet"), and generosity ("You Can Come and Play wIth Our Toys"). These young women all sing in key (mostly) and give their all; they actually approach the sublime on "Magical Horse." "Did You Hear What Jennifer Did" would have been best served by just the kids singing. One other cut, "I'm Just Thinking About What I'm Thinking About," is a Hank Williams' derived country number that may have been better suited to one of Taylor's own recordings. This one reservation aside, Golden Kids Rules is a decent choice for the parents of younger children, say between the ages of four and eight (which says something about our cynical era more than it does these rather timeless melodies and rhymes).
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Golden Kids' Rules
  2. I'm Just Thinkin' About What I'm Thinkin' About
  3. Quarter Moon Shining
  4. Big Ideas
  5. Magical Horse
  6. Daddy Is a Red Sox Fan/Mommy Is a Yankee Fan
  7. Kids to Save the Planet
  8. Did You Hear What Jennifer Did?
  9. You Can Come & Play with Our Toys
  10. Introduction to Wedding Songs
  11. The Possum Hunter
  12. Happy Wedding
  13. Now That Kristian and Anna Have Wed
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