After releasing six albums of child-friendly indie-rock on Chicago's Minty Fresh, Ralph Covert and his band signed to Walt Disney Records and issued 2006's Welcome to Ralph's World, a best-of so thoroughly catchy that missing favorites only pointed out how good they'd become. Disney reissued their back catalog, and Ralph's World returned with 2008's The Rhyming Circus, another balance of teaching moments and not-so-teaching ones: "Folsom Daycare Blues" is a parody adults can appreciate ("I pushed a toddler over just to watch him fall"). Colvert's insight that children could use their own entertainment might have been shared by Walter Elias Disney himself, yet Ralph's World is never sanitized or numb to pain: Subtle songs such as "Happy Not My Birthday" are as funny as Sesame Street, and as empathetic as Fred Rogers, and few initiations into the joys of dancing are so attuned to what captivates kindergarteners.
Sat., Feb. 28, 10:30 a.m., 2009
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