Dan Zanes

Rocket Ship Beach

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AllMusic Review by

Rocket Ship Beach introduced Dan Zanes' special brand of children's music, which mixes well-known songs for kids, standards, and traditional country and folk songs with a hand-crafted sound and plenty of affection for both the music and its intended audience. The "friends" who help Zanes with Rocket Ship Beach include Sheryl Crow, whose duet with Zanes on "Polly Wolly Doodle" gets the album off to a strong start; Suzanne Vega, who lends a lilting guilelessness to "Erie Canal"; and the Wonderland String Band, who guest on several tracks and give an extra twang to "King Kong Kitchie," "Keep on the Sunnyside," and "Brown Girl in the Ring." From the British folk-tinged "All My Friends Live in the Woods" -- which features Simon Kirke -- to the vaudevillian "Sidewalks of New York" to the reggae-inspired "On the Sunnyside of the Street," Rocket Ship Beach is as diverse as it is charming; the storybook-like packaging and Donald Saaf's whimsical illustrations add to its heartfelt, homespun look and sound. Zanes' other albums -- Night Time! and Family Dance -- are equally delightful, and all of them emphasize how important it is to enjoy music together as a family.

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