I was outraged. Furious. Irate. Peeved. Not to go all Commodus on you, but it vexed me. I was terribly vexed! How dare they put my daughter in a washing machine! Why, I should go down to that school and give them the old what for! I huffed and puffed my way through a rather impressive rant and then tried to get a little more information out of my precocious three year old. As you might guess, it turned out that she had not, in fact, gone through the spin cycle of a washing machine. Instead, she had simply acted out the motions while singing a song.
And that was how I first found out about Jim Gill.
Jim Gill returns to SJCPL on September 15th as part of our Open Book celebration and my family will be in the front row singing and dancing along. Over the last three years Jim’s music has become part of the soundtrack of my daughters’ childhood. We listen to his albums in the car. We listen to them at home. I even learned a few of the songs so I could play them on guitar for my daughters – but that was quickly shot down. My oldest daughter channeled Lloyd Benson and coolly told me, “Um, Daddy – you are not Jim Gill.”
I may not be Jim Gill, but I have become, if I may be so bold, an expert on his music – a Gillpy if you will. (Please don’t.) So, in preparation for Jim’s show next month, I thought it would be fun to rank my five favorite Jim Gill songs. But then I ran into a problem. Picking just five Jim Gill songs is really, really tough. Jim’s made six albums over the last 18 years – each one chock full of great and catchy tunes. Heck, I had a hard time making top lists on each album! So, I opened it up a little and made a Top Ten list. Why? Because I can! Here we go:
(As always, click on any of the links to check on the availability of the CD at SJCPL.)
10. “All Filled Up” (from the album Jim Gill Makes it Noisy in Boise Idaho)
I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard the entire song. By the time we get to the scones that fill up Jim’s bones my daughters are rolling with laughter. Every time.
9. “Face the Facts” (Moving Rhymes for Folks of All Stripes)
Call me crazy, but I think this one would have been a great Monty Python skit.
8. “Silly Dance Contest” (The Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes)
I don’t like to brag, but I flat out dominate the Carpenter family Silly Dance Contest. Jumping. Fast. Slow Motion. It doesn’t matter. I think I’m ready to start entering some regional competitions.
7. “Oh Hey Oh Hi Hello” (Makes It Noisy)
Jim’s ode to the great state of Ohio. Hey, speaking of Ohio, did you know that the Cincinnati Reds have the largest division lead in all of baseball? That’s right folks. Team of Destiny! And there’s still plenty of room on the bandwagon!
6. “The Tempo Marches On” (Do Re Mi on His Toe Leg Knee)
I’m a sucker for songs that (a) are a play on popular songs (in my world, Al Yankovic is a genius) and (b) gradually speed up.
5. “It Takes Some Friends” (Music Play for Folks of All Stripes)
And (c) hand clapping. And (d) feet stamping. And (e) sing-a-longs!
4. “Stick to the Glue” (Makes it Noisy)
My youngest daughter’s name rhymes with “glue” (that’s right, you guessed it, it’s Gnu) so we add an additional verse where you stick to the Gnu. High comedy.
3. “May There Always Be Sunshine” (The Sneezing Song)
Really beautiful song that’s even more memorable live when Jim asks children to offer suggestions for what they hope there always is. Also, Jim made a wonderful book based on the song that your children will love. Or heck. Your adult will love it too!
2. “List of Dances” (Makes It Noisy)
In case you’re wondering… Yes, I can do the tall. I can do the small. I can hop. I’m really good at the stop. I can do the slow and the tiptoe. I’m working on the curl and I’ve almost nailed the twirl. I’m really good at the hide and I’m so-so at the slide. The sleep is probably my best dance but I’m not very good at the creep. I can slump and I certainly can jump. I’m okay at the sway but my stay is nearly perfect.
1. “Took a Bath in a Washing Machine” (The Sneezing Song)
The first and still the best.
Those are mine. What are yours?