Randy Kaplan is a nationally acclaimed artist that Time Out New York Kids magazine recently named as one of the top children’s performers in the nation. More than two years in the making, Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie includes 17 songs first performed by the likes of legendary blues musicians Robert Johnson, Blind Blake, Blind Boy Fuller, Jimmie Rodgers, Sonny Boy Williamson, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Mance Lipscomb, Pink Anderson, Mississippi John Hurt, Hambone Willie Newbern, the Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Willie Johnson, Dave Van Ronk, Jim Jackson and Charlie Patton.
As Randy says, “These are guys with titles like ‘King of the Delta Blues,’ ‘Father of the Delta Blues,’ ‘King of Ragtime Guitar’ and ‘Father of Country Music.’” Randy reworked the lyrics for each song, making them appropriate for the under-12 set without losing the grit and humor of the originals. New titles to old songs include “Ice Cream Man Rag,” “Runaway Blues,” “In a Time Out Now” and “Kindhearted Babysitter Blues.”
Various segments of the album are introduced by the craggy voice of Lightnin’ Bodkins, a Delta denizen who has seen it all. Lightnin’ tells listeners about the Fathers of the Blues, who were sharecroppers, cotton pickers, levee camp workers, tenant farmers, mule team drivers and railroad men by day. When the sun dipped down over the fields these hard workers became superheroes. “They sang their songs and played their guitars at juke joints, picnics, roadhouses, barrelhouses and house parties,” as Lightnin’ explains. Lightnin’ Bodkins appears throughout Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie, introducing blocks of songs, suggesting that Randy come up with a bluesman-type name for himself, and adding his two cents whenever he feels like it.
Kids will laugh while learning about their great American musical heritage via 20 pages of colorfully illustrated liner notes. Randy Kaplan’s music videos already appear on myKaZootv, the new 24/7 interactive kids’ entertainment channel, and new videos from Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie will launch this summer.
myKaZoo Music is a new family music label created in partnership with Universal Music Enterprises (UMe).