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FAME Review: Various Artists - We're Not Kidding!: A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar
Various Artists - We're Not Kidding!: A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar

We're Not Kidding!:
A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar

Various Artists

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Following hot on the heels of the A-1 kids' CD, Move Your Boots by the Bramble Jam (here), comes this super-delightful two-fer by a legion of musicians and groups who have long dug the sonic and writerly output of Barry Louis Polisar, a gent whose oeuvre is rather astonishing, prolific. Having printed up 9 volumes with such titles as Peculiar Zoo and The Snake who was Afraid, most of them carrying the ultra-cool cartooning of David Clark—a hilarious amalgamation of Shel Silverstein, Ronald Searle, and Hunt Emerson—Polisar abetted the whole schmear by cutting 7 music discs, this being #8.

*We're Not Kidding!* is kinda like that disc put out long ago that tributized Saturday morning cartoon themes, in that case wrecked, sent up, and lovingly mangled by a gaggle of punkers, new wavers, and assorted other new school genre-mongers. Kidding isn't exactly a punkorama, but it oft has a lot of the same energies, lampooning jocularity, and, here, top drawer production values and creativity. Yeah, things are rocky enough but they readily jump into jazzy, swingin', folky modes too, then turn right back to the raucous and brash (Donuts, The Alfabet Song, etc.). Toss in Spike Jones, the Limelighters, Devo, slinky cabaret...and, yow!, even klezmer and Danny Elfman influences by such eclectic ensembles as The Space Pirates, Ham & Burger, Kid Kazooey, The Radioactive Chicken Heads, and, hm, this guy named Barry Louis Polisar, and you have a potpourri of eclectica and polish.

The subject matter throughout pulls no punches, speaking to kids on a level most adults don't quite understand is their natural patois, and in such endearing selections as Never Cook Your Sister in a Frying Pan, I Don't Brush my Teeth and I Never Comb my Hair, I Wanna be a Dog (hey!, didn't Iggy already nail that one?—yep, and the very savvy Radioactive Chicken Heads even cover Barry's ditty like the Stooges), and various other gulp-inducing poetry guaranteed to make the dinosaurs around the house blush and fidget. But there's likewise quite a few thoughtful ruminations, including anti-war cuts and homilies, not to mention more than one tongue-twister (c'mon, you 'member how much you loved that stuff before the hormones hit and wonderland got left behind—though even the adult estate is well served by a buncha cool love songs). The musicianship and vocals are stratospheric, the whole vibe stuffed full of fun and jokestering, and nary a moment passes that you're not wallowing in a surfeit of memories 'n grins. So, lemme warn ya, brothers and sisters, this way righteous set of 60 songs was meant for kids even though it was created by rollicking adults!!! Notice is hereby served that any parents and oldsters caught spiriting it away from youth access will be dealt with harshly…forced to watch Fraggle Rock, the Three Stooges, Scooby-Doo, Sesame Street, and old Looney Tunes until they see the error of their ways.

Track List:

  • The Vespers - All I Want is You
  • Deleon - My Brother Thinks He's a Banana
  • The Radioactive Chicken Heads - I Eat Kids
  • Rutherford B. Hayes Is Dead -I'm a Slug
  • Purple Mums - My Brother Threw Up on my Stuffed Toy Bunny
  • Alyssa Robbins - With a Giggle and a Hug and a Tickle and a Kiss
  • Haunted Cologne - Diaper Rash
  • Deborah Berman & The Nogoodniks - Shtek Nit Dayn Finger in der Noz
  • Le Page - I Wanna be your Baby
  • Evan Polisar & Cesar Cartagena - I'd Be Me
  • Jeff Forrest - Donuts
  • Robbins in a Tree-o - Never Cook Your Sister in a Frying Pan
  • Dead Men's Hollow - Cindy's Absent
  • Your Little Pony - Me and You
  • Los Huevos - Bad Guys Broke into our Car
  • Ham & Burger - You Can't Say "Psbpsbpsb" on the Radio
  • Noga Vilozny - Shut Up in the Library
  • David W. Jacobsen & September's Shadow - I Need You like a Donut Needs a Hole
  • Tor Hyams - Hey, Jack, What's in the Sack?
  • Frankie & Rufus - The Alfabet Song
  • Elizabeth Street - I've got a Dog and my Dog's Name is Cat
  • Kid Kazooey - He Eats Asparagus, Why Can't You be that Way?
  • J-LA - When Suzie Sneezed
  • The Boogers - What if a Zebra had Spots?
  • Rebecca Loebe - You're as Sweet as Sugar on a Stick
  • Nate Lieby - I Don't Brush my Teeth and I Never Comb my Hair
  • In the Audience - A Clock Without a "C"
  • Tom Vincent - I Wanna be Your Dog
  • Barry Louis Polisar & The Radioactive Chicken Heads - I Didn't Mean To
  • Bary Louis Polisar - All I want is You (Redux)
  • Alyssa Robbins - Giggle Tickle Fiddle Little Wriggle Around
  • Rutherford B. Hayes Is Dead - Apple of my Eye
  • Purple Mums - Our Dog Bernard
  • Loverlee - I Love Your Eyes
  • The Vespers - Barnyard Stop
  • Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke - Lullaby for a Crying Baby
  • Lew Page - Don't You Cry, Now Don't You Fuss
  • Elizabeth Street - That's What Makes the World Go 'Round
  • League of Space Pirates - Never Cook Your Sister in a Frying Pan
  • The Radioactive Chicken Heads - I Wanna be a Dog
  • The Michael O'Brien Band - Potty Training
  • Ham & Burger - Don't Put your Finger up your Nose
  • Kid Kazooey - I've Got a Teacher, She's so Mean
  • Nate Lieby - I Never Did Like You Anyhow
  • J-LA - "Doo-Doo" is a Bad Word
  • Tor Hyams - Go and Hush the Baby
  • Bonnie Phipps - I'm a Three-Toed, Triple-Eyed, Double-Jointed Dinosaur
  • The Radioactive Chicken Heads - I Looked into the Mirror, What did the Mirror Say?
  • Eric Harterau - C'est toi que J'Veux (All I Want is You)
  • Deleon - My Name is Hiram Lipschitz
  • Adam David & the Freewheelers - Trouble...What Trouble?
  • John Winfield Blake - I Never Road the Railroads
  • Water Method - I Need You Like a Donut Needs a Hole
  • Lunch - We Don't have to Share
  • Le Page - Lucky to be Alive
  • The Brothers Vilozny - When the House is Dark and Quiet
  • Catherine Satterlee & Jim Greenfield - A Clock without a "C"
  • The Radioactive Chicken Heads - Underwear
  • The Barry Louis Polisar Self-Aggrandizement Choir - The Tushie Song
  • Noga Vilozny - All I Want is You
All songs written by Barry Polisar.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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