Ralph's World

Peggy's Pie Parlor

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Chicago singer/songwriter Ralph Covert is the Jonathan Richman of the new millennium, recreating the childlike whimsy of Richman's classic late '70s albums with an even more obviously toddler-centric worldview. Like Richman, Covert's not afraid to spice his playground ditties with a little rock and roll ? "Banana Seat Bike" has the loosey-goosey groove of a classic NRBQ rocker, and "Peggy's Pie Parlor Polka" would sound natural coming from either Texas eccentrics Brave Combo or an early They Might Be Giants b-side. He also appreciates his forebears in the children's music genre, covering the elementary school music class favorite "Yon Yonson" alongside the bluegrass novelty hit "I'm My Own Grandpaw" and even a song from Walt Kelly's 1952 album of songs inspired by his Pogo comic strip, the deliriously tongue-twisting "Go Go Pogo." The production, by indie-rock mainstay Brad Wood and featuring a who's who of the Chicago rock scene, isn't twee in the least, and Covert never talks down to his young audience, making Peggy's Pie Parlor that rarity, a children's music album that appeals to adults who don't even have kids.

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