The Curly Cousins
It has become a bit of a tradition for us to give books and music to our young friends for Christmas. We have a fair few littlies to give presents to so our December shopping turns out to be a bit of a survey of what is available for children in the festive season.
This year we went for a mix of old an new: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Little Prince, Slinky Malinky, Kids’ poetry collections and The Legend Of The Golden Snail by Graeme Base, which is so amazing that we had to buy two copies: one for our Godson Leo and one for little Layla.
As for music, we headed to the ABC Shop thinking we could not go wrong and we bought what we thought was an excellent selection: theme songs from old children’s shows, Christmas songs for kids, and minor actresses’ forays into children’s music… And the Curly Cousins of course from Mullumbimby bookshop, our very own “private Wiggles”. We were keen to sample our musical booty and we popped the CDs in the car stereo one after the other and were gob smacked by the difference in quality: the ABC stuff was dull leaning towards patronizing; flat and almost devoid of fun. Truly disappointing.
Thank the Lord for the Curly Cousins! We knew the Cousins are good: we have been to their concerts in town, own and love Rochelle’s (the Cousins’ Sunshine) “Jambu Tree” CD and my son and I have been regulars at Mandy’s (alias pigtail-Coco) Singing by the Sea weekly gigs for kids. Their CD is just as good as their live performances.
What sets the Curly Cousins apart from the more commercial releases is that they sound like they like using their brain, have a flair for irony, the right mix of talent for success and, most important of all, they sound like they are having fun. Their CD is – as stated on the cover – “parent friendly”, which is no small bonus if you re going to play it a gazillion times for your young ones.
My three-year old LOVES the Curly Cousins and I like them too because they remind me of the “Lorraine Bowen Experience”. Lorraine was the main act at Club Montepulciano, which was roaring in London’s Camden Town in the late Nineties. It was a quirky club: it had a barber’s chair for late night haircuts, a green table roulette where one could win chocolates (or just get some from the glam-croupier if luck did not smile at you on the night) and had an octogenarian Argentinean singer serenading the crowd with intense, over-dramatic tunes. And then there was Lorraine, who came on stage dressed in a sixties’ dress (what mum would have called a “scamiciato”) and an ironing board where she rested her electric piano. She played hits like: “Sunday Afternoon Sex” and “Everybody is Good at Cooking Something, I am Good at Cooking Crumble”. She was nothing short of fantastic and the Curly Cousins – to my mind – are a G-rated new and improved sort of Lorraine Bowen: funny, clever, lovely, talented musicians.
My personal favourites? “Coconut Woman” and “Fruit Salad” got me roaring like a lion and singing about groovy pomegranates. I can just about see their videos on MTV’s top-ten charts.
If you have a long car trip planned for the New Year, pack the Curly Cousins’ “A Day in the Life” and Rochelle Wright And Rob Shannon’ “Jambu Tree” CDs, you won’t regret it.