When it comes to nature versus nurture, children’s music is intrinsically taught by one generation to the next. You don’t see many 2-year-olds in NYC crawling off on their own to catch the 6 train to concerts. Now stop thinking about that image. Focus. That’s better.
Like Father Like Son takes the “family music” concept one step further on their debut CD, Sun Is a Star. Lou Gallo literally followed in the footsteps of Laurie Berkner, succeeding her as a music teacher at the Rockefeller University’s Child and Family Center. He started recording children’s music when his son Frank was two years old. In that way, Frank Gallo was born into the family business. Frank got to witness firsthand as his dad toured with Lou Gallo and the Very Hungry Band. When Frank turned from acting to music, he formed Rolie Polie Guacamole, a kids’ band which shares a similar gastronomic affinity.
Lou and Frank tossed around a few joint recording possibilities before deciding on Like Father Like Son. Sun Is a Star brings in Grammy-winning über-producer Dean Jones for a guiding hand. Long Island kindie legacy Brady Rymer steps in for two songs, including a rocking cover of “Handle With Care” from the Traveling Wilburys. Fun fact: That supergroup got its name from the studio nickname for flubs (“We’ll bury it in the mix”). Trivia tip o’ the hat to Dana Gould. Katie (Mullins) Ha-Ha-Ha provides some bountiful harmonies. And if the other Gallo-Rymer tune, “Little Bit of Time” doesn’t open tear ducts, then you’ve got an Infinity Stone for a heart:
There is just a little bit of time we share
When you are small, and you are mine
You run and play
The days away
I watch and say
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
To keep this moment here with you
Like that river that must flow I know
Sun Is a Star yo-yos from songs for the very young (“Sharks and Dinosaurs” and “Shake Shake Shake”) to the sentimental (“Like My Dad”) to the offbeat (“I Got a Beard” and “Tennis Racket Song”). Lou goes to the folklore well for “Day-O” and Frank reels off a fountain of famous kid’s TV and film figures on “Halloween Night.” I found the latter tune sounded like a slowed-down version of “Stray Cat Strut,” but it grew on me, especially when Matt (7) started singing along to the refrain of the chorus.
The CD ends with “Like Father Like Son,” a poppy reaffirmation that Lou and Frank Gallo were genetically pre-programmed to record together. The back-and-forth lyrics exchange cadence and sentiment, thought and emotion, pride and pleasure, in a gentle, relatable manner. All things that you really should teach your children.
Here is the video for the CD’s title track, “Sun Is a Star”: