By Al Kaufman
Here’s why Atlanta’s John Boydston, AKA Daddy A Go Go, is important for America. While the tinny tunes of Kindermuusik and The Wiggles prepare our little ones for the sexed up, but equally soulless, Rebecca Black or Justin Bieber, Daddy A Go Go plays rock ‘n’ roll. He plays real guitars, and his sidekick, Rev. Walt Brewer, bangs on actual drums instead of producing a beat out of a computer. Daddy A Go Go introduces kids into the wonder of rock ‘n’ roll. It helps them to appreciate real music. And while a lot of other musicians, such as Peter Himmelman, They Might Be Giants, Jason Ringenberg and Asylum Street Spankers, have since joined the bandwagon of creating music that doesn’t talk down to kids musically, Boydston’s been doing it for 13 years. And for that, all us parents, who would rather staple our ears shut rather than listen to another Raffi song, owe him a debt of gratitude.
Grandkid Rock is a greatest hits album. It is titled as such because Boydston wanted to show some “grandparental love.” Yet only a few songs on here deal with the elder generation, including a reworking of “I Caught My Daddy Watching Cartoons,” which is now “I Caught My Grandad Watching Cartoons,” but he still watches the same Sponge Bob and Powerpuff Girls.
Of course, Powerpuff Girls has been off the air for some time. It is one of the problems with Boydston’s timely songs that tend to be infused with pop culture references. Will kids today know who the Powerpuff Girls are? Even more so, will they know the Backstreet Boys, whom Boydston references in “I Wanna Be an Action Figure”? Will they know what PF Flyers (“I Got My PF Flyers Workin'”) were? The answer is a resounding, “Who cares?” Most kids will be too busy grooving to the beat. Plus they’ll be laughing along to lyrics like “I gotta woogie, I gotta noogie, I think it’s time to boogie” on “Ants in my Pants.” The surf guitar on that number will keep parents listening, too. And who can resist a title like, “For Those About to Walk, We Salute You,” even if it comes nowhere near the metal fury of AC/DC?
Boydston throws a couple of covers on here. He speeds up Allan Sherman’s camp classic, “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah,” and his reading of “What a Wonderful World” is much closer to Joey Ramone’s version than Louis Armstrong’s. Both covers may upset purists, but the kids, and the parents with open minds, will dig ‘em.
This is great stuff that will make kids want to pick up a guitar rather than watch High School Musical for the 95th time. And for that, John Boydston, parents everywhere say, “Thank you.”