Eli is 4! Annotated birthday CD list

by | Feb 9, 2010 | Eli | 10 comments

Today Eli is finally 4. Three seemed to last forever, I tell you. I can’t believe there’s still another year-and-a-half until he goes to kindergarten. I feel like he’s going to have a full beard by then.

He’s been on a bit of a tear lately, pulling the same outrageous behavior he pulled before Christmas. Basically being awful and knowing it. I think it’s the build-up, and the knowledge that he has to wait just a little more to get presents (he was most excited about getting the Mighty World Fire Brigade from my mom).

He was fairly dictatorial about the songs that went onto his birthday CD this year. He demanded that they all be “loud” and that his “band could dance to them” (no, I don’t know exactly what/who is band is). Yesterday, after I had the CD pretty much done, he listened to it and axed half the songs, so I had to scramble to come up with some new ones that met his requirements (or end up giving everyone a 20-minute CD).

Here’s what made the cut:

1. Railroad Man – Eli. This is Eli singing a song that Laura sings in By the Shores of Silver Lake. Turns out that our completely-made-up tune is a lot more exciting than the actual tune.

2. Let Them All Talk – Elvis Costello. Eli says about this song: “I love it so much I can’t stop dancing!”

3. Iko Iko – The Belle Stars. This was on a mix tape that an old college friend (Krista Weaver, where are you?) made for me a million years ago. Eli heard it and was instantly smitten.

4. Song of the Troll – Eli and Henry. From the Gnomes book, as you all heard yesterday.

5. Ford Econoline – Nanci Griffith. A rockin’ song about a big van. Can’t go wrong in Eli’s book.

6. Paddy on the Railway – Daisy Nell and Cap’n Stan. This is one of two songs that Eli wanted but I initially resisted because they’re on other birthday CDs. But after he nixed a bunch of songs yesterday, I went ahead and put them on.

7. Old Man Tucker – Eli and Henry. Another song from Little House. I think this one may have been in Little House on the Prairie. Henry dutifully memorized all the words, taught it to Eli, and now they will randomly break into it, like when we were waiting for an appointment at the ultrasound place. I have no idea what the other people in the waiting room thought, but they all ignored it, believe it or not. And Henry and Eli were singing loud. My favorite part in this version is when Henry keeps singing at the end, and Eli tells him to stop, because “We just don’t sing it over and over again,” and Henry says, “Oh yeah.”

8. Old Man Tucker – C&B Media Chorus. A “real” version of the song, so people who heard track 7 know from whence it came.

9. I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad – Eli and Henry. Not surprisingly, one of Eli’s favorite songs. I like Eli’s indecision about what to sing at the beginning of this one.

10. I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad – Pete Seeger. Eli’s preferred version.

11. Whistling in the Dark – They Might Be Giants. I maintain that TMBG’s non-kid albums are just as kid-friendly as their children’s albums. In fact, my kids prefer the older, “adult” albums.

12. Mice Gingerbread – Eli. Why is this called Mice Gingerbread? I have no idea. He made up the whole thing on the spot.

13. Twist and Crawl – The English Beat. I’m not sure how he stumbled across this one, but it’s such an Eli song.

14. Town Called Malice – The Jam. Greatest Dance Song Ever.

15. Railroads Are Famous – Eli. Another improvised song, featuring some creative rhyming.

16. Happy-Go-Lucky Me – Paul Evans. A few months ago we happened to catch a funny song on “Down Memory Lane” which is probably my least-favorite local public radio show (the DJ plays songs that were hits 50 years ago this week, 40 years ago this week, etc., but he also reads headlines, and I always tune in as he’s reading something like, “Bay of Pigs a Major Concern” and it confuses me). Anyway, the song we heard sounded like the Chipmunks doing some sort of jazz scat, but a search when we got home yielded nothing. Finally I called the radio station, and the song wasn’t by the Chipmunks, but was by a rival Chipmunks group called The Nutty Squirrels. The kids loved the song, and the only place I could find it was on the “Pecker” soundtrack, and I had to buy the whole soundtrack to get the one song. Turns out the “Pecker” soundtrack is half a children’s album (like “In the Mood” sung by clucking chickens) and half completely child-inappropriate (“Don’t Drop the Soap (for Anyone but Me)”). The Nutty Squirrels song was one of the ones Eli decided yesterday he didn’t want, but “Happy-Go-Lucky Me” is one of the ones from that album that survived.

17. Anxious – The Housemartins. Basically this one was me enforcing my high school/college music tastes on my brood.

18. Stay Out of the South – Light Crust Doughboys. A surprise dark horse candidate, added yesterday morning. Every single time we listen to WMPG, Eli says, “I want this on my birthday CD” and then of course I totally forget, or the DJ never says what it is. Yesterday we were listening to South by Southwest (DJed by Portland’s very own Lincoln Peirce!), and I was starting to get nervous about Eli wanting to delete half the songs on the CD, so I payed more attention when he said he liked a song. And luckily this one was on iTunes.

19. I’m a Nut – Leroy Pullins. Another track from “Pecker.”

20. Old MacDonald – Eli and Henry. To all of you who are to receive a copy of this CD, let me now wholeheartedly apologize for this track, which goes on about six verses too many (in the great tradition of “Old MacDonald” whenever it’s sung).

21. Whammer Jammer – J. Geils Band. Another great dance song.

22. A Cowboy Needs a Horse – Fess Parker. When Dave is forced to play horsie with the children, he sings this song. For years I thought he made it up. Not only did he not make it up, but it’s even been done by Disney.

23. Vwa-pah (Zuzu Kiss) – Zuzu. You all know about Zuzu and her vwa-pahs. She really wanted to do something with the microphone, but then, when given the opportunity, would only nod at it. We finally got her to do this.

24. Foolish Frog – Pete Seeger. Eli’s most favorite song in the whole world. It’s been on birthday CDs before, but he really, really wanted it again. So here it is.


  1. emily

    wow! you really make me think that my daily soundtrack is lacking! wylie knows many songs, but not…er, this many at all. but I pressed comment because the Foolish Frog is wylie’s new all-time favorite, and he tries to sing it often, but we have it only on a dvd, not cd, so clearly I have to GET it on cd so we can listen over and over without worrying about tv brain rot!

  2. Julie

    Em, I’ll just send you an Eli birthday CD!

  3. Anne

    Happy birthday, Eli!

    What on earth is the “Pecker” soundtrack? Never mind, it’s funnier not knowing.

    Sam loves “Foolish Frog” too. I think I told you the story about when we went to the Clearwater Festival last spring, and we stood next to Pete Seeger while watching a juggling act or some such thing, and I whispered to Sam that we were standing next to the guy who sings “Foolish Frog.” Sam got all wide-eyed and excited, and then later we saw Seeger perform on stage and once again I told Sam who it was. The next day at day care, Sam informed his teachers very solemnly and reverently, “We saw the BEATLES.” (He knew he’d had a brush with excellence and fame, but got his facts just a bit mixed up!)

    The “Old Man Tucker”/waiting room story is hilarious. I probably would have chimed right in and sang along.

  4. Julie

    I can’t chime in on Old Man Tucker! I don’t know the words! I just sat there reading People magazine with an amused look on my face (because I catch every opportunity for reading a cheesy magazine without interruption — it only happens once every six weeks).

    That’s hilarious about Sam. I have to say, I think I’d be much more psyched about seeing Pete Seeger than about seeing the Beatles (not that the latter is possible without some horrid reimagined lookalike cover band anyway).

    Anne, you might actually like the movie “Pecker.” It’s a John Waters film!

  5. Anne

    Oh, isn’t it “Old Dan Tucker”? Right? Washed his face in a frying pan?

    I was glad we saw Pete Seeger, all up close and personal. Though he’s not really able to perform extensively anymore. He just did a spoken word bit at Clearwater, and that was it.

  6. Julie

    It’s probably Old Dan in some places and Old Man in others. You know how those folk songs morph over time. In Little House (and on the random song I found) it’s Old Man.

  7. Anne

    Well, whoever he is, he’s a fine old man.

  8. Julie

    Or, well, an idiot. He’s always missing dinner because of his foolish antics.

  9. emily

    he’s standing there looking, if I remember, which is, sort of idiotic behavior. YAY ME I GET A CD!!

  10. Beth

    Happy birthday Eli! I remember meeting him for the first time at the Chicken barn thing…he was so tiny he was still in the sling. Now he’s 4 and kindergarten is looming on the horizon. Whoa.
    PS “I feel like he’s going to have a full beard by then” made me laugh out loud.


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