It takes a village to produce consistently entertaining children’s music and Ratboy Jr. lives is such a village. Tim Sutton and Matt Senzatimore like raucous and ridiculous concepts, which makes their fourth CD, Lucky Foot and Sunny Moon, a delightful addition to their oeuvre.
Take “Rap Van Winkle,” which is about exactly what we all think it is – a guy who slept for 20 years and wakes up rapping. “Play Us On the Radio” is the guys’ version of “The Ballad of John and Yoko” and a plea to call SiriusXM Kids Place Live (and other outlets) to request their music. The proficient guiding hand of überproducer Dean Jones polishes such amusing gems as “Flexible Brain” and the hard-rocking (with tinkly toy piano) anthem about “Dirt.”
Mark Twain once said that jokes are like frogs. You can dissect them, but then you’ve killed it. To that extent, it’s best to accept Ratboy Jr.’s premises at face value. “Anything Can Be a Hat” indeed. And when life is like juggling in the circus, you want to put on your “Clown Shoes”:
When you’re down, you just gotta laugh a lot.
It’s the only thing we have.
So let’s go fix this circus.
It’s like running uphill with your clown shoes on.
Artwork for Lucky Foot and Sunny Moon is by Anton Refreigier, a notable Works Progress Administration (WPA) muralist and sculptor whose last cover was for the Weavers in 1959. But he was also Tim’s grandfather, so that was quite the door opener. His most famous work, “The History of California” is nothing less than that, chronicles in 27 panels in downtown San Francisco’s Rincon Center. It took eight years to complete and is still on exhibit.
Recording songs is an intricate, mysterious process. It’s like watching popcorn in a microwave oven – you never know quite when it’s done. Tim and Matt took two years to assemble the enjoyable, voluble tracks on Lucky Foot and Sunny Moon. It may not be their master opus, but Ratboy Jr. are more inclined to make you rock out then to sit and think about dangerously serious stuff. Flip on your flexible brain and pull on your sock hat for the boys – glad to have you back!
Here is the video for the band’s song “Sponges:”