# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Farmer Jason - Rockin' in the Forest

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 22 / 4 / 2007

Farmer Jason - Rockin' in the Forest
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


Irrestible second album of children's songs under his Farmer Jason moniker, for former Jason and the Scorchers leader Jason Ringenberg, which will be enjoyed equally by adults

It must be one of the hardest things to do; make an album of what are essentially children’s songs that parents are not just going to tolerate but actually enjoy. To make an album of such songs that actually gets played when the children are tucked up for the night or in a car full of ‘adults’ without being embarrassed is a rarity. There are those novelty songs we can all remember from our early years that we still get pleasure from but that’s more to do with nostalgia than any real love of the music and would we really play them in a room full of people of the same generation without cringing with embarrassment? Farmer Jason has now produced his second album of songs that should be played to get any party going, whether it’s a six year olds Saturday afternoon party or a Friday night get together of sixty year olds. Just try to sit still to this collection, or try not to raise a smile at the lyrics. It is simply irresistible. Farmer Jason is, of course, Jason Ringenberg, the highly acclaimed leader of country punk band Jason and the Scorchers who went on to a successful solo career. So it’s really no great surprise that given his country roots he should create this character. And with his excellent track record it shouldn’t be any great surprise that Ringenberg excels at making music that although aimed fair and square at children actually appeals to the older music fans but Ringenberg is the only one who is actually making this kind of music and who had the vision, talent and nerve to carry it off. To think many of us had to endure Saturdays and Sundays of cassettes of ‘Sooty’, ‘Mr Blobby’ and all the rest. Ringenberg, where were you when we needed you? One of the songs, ‘Arrowhead’ neatly wraps the tale of Shawnee Indians in a sweet tune complete with harmonica and violins which makes you want to sing along. The children will meanwhile be singing and learning about history at the same time. How many songs appealing to very young children do that? For us adults, of course, it gives a chance to sing along without feeling stupid! With the exception of that first Farmer Jason album from 2003, ‘A Day At The Farm With Farmer Jason’, this is a pretty unique collection of songs. It’s superbly produced by George Bradfute and obviously given Ringenberg's past achievements also superbly played. But the most appealing thing is that this group of musicians are obviously having so much fun playing this music. It shows in each and every song just how much these guys are enjoying making this music. It might be aimed at children but the lyrics are both informative and humorous and the music is pure good-old fashioned country full of life which is impossible to ignore. Even the grumpiest of old men are going to have trouble not to be moved by this glorious sound. ‘Punk Rock Skunk’ is a prime example of how Farmer Jason mixes what is a serious subject with humour and a killer tune; to a familiar cowpunk melody Jason sings, “I have a leather jacket, my jeans are full of holes, If I lived in England I would be on the dole” while the ‘Little Farmers Chorus’ add background vocals which convey just how much fun they are having making this record. Strip away Jason’s introductions to the songs and even the educational and amusing lyrics, and you are left with an outstanding collection of instrumental tracks which could be played anytime and anywhere to get the feet moving. The music stands up on its own, no question. Ringenberg could have added lyrics about almost anything and the album would still have been great. But, never one to take the easy route, he chose to set the melodies to lyrics that would, on the surface, appeal to children; no easy task. The fact that these songs also appeal to the more mature among us just confirms how talented Ringenberg is. But more than anything this is a fun album. I’d put money on the artists involved laughing their way through the making of these eleven songs. Is it just me or is Todd Snider trying his best to stifle a laugh in the introduction to ‘He’s A Moose On The Loose’? But it’s not an album that has been thrown together to make a quick buck. For all the humour it’s more than obvious that Ringenberg made this album with the love and care he approaches all his work with. Take a look at the CD cover. While designed to appeal to children it’s hard to put the thing down, if only all CD booklets and inlays were made with so much thought these days. So Ringenberg has produced another superb album, one that just might elevate him beyond cult status this time. While it is not easy to produce an album of songs for children that will appeal to their parents as well Ringenberg has gone one step further; the usually dismissive mid-teens that I know who have heard this, while not admitting to liking it (do we like anything at that age!) can’t put the package down and are often to be found listening to it and enjoying it… just don’t tell anyone!

Track Listing:-
1 The Forest Oh!
2 Punk Rock Skunk
3 Ode to a Toad
4 Mrs. Mouse
5 Forest Rhymes
6 He's a Moose On the Loose
7 Arrowhead
8 Catfish Song
9 Opossum in a Pocket
10 A Butterfly Speaks
11 The Old Oak Tree

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