Something new to blight your weekend: a gaggle of politically-correct, multi-cultural Californian kids and a talking song book called Psalty performing simple Christian songs to an upbeat, jaunty backing. This week the World’s Worst Records would like to introduce you to Kid’s Praise!, a series of albums which kicked off at the beginning of the 80s and that has to date produced more than two dozen discs of smiley, sugar-sweet, jaw-achingly cloying niceness.
Originally appearing on the Maranatha! label, and distributed in the UK by Word, I picked up two albums in the series in a charity shop for just 99p each. Written by Debby Kerner and Ernie Rettino, who also provides the voice of Psalty, the couple have been working on the Kid’s Praise! concept since the early 70s – many of the songs on the debut album were written some eight years before its release – and it’s clearly been a labour of love: Ms Kerner and Mr Rettino are also a real-life married couple. Kids Praise! has turned into a multimedia extravaganza. Just take a look at their Psalty website: cds, dvds, books, clothing..it goes on and on. Your three year old would look fantastic in a Psalty hoodie.
The one thing I’m struggling to get my head around though is how Psalty the singing songbook managed, by album three in the series, to have acquired an entire family of his own: a wife, Psaltina and three ‘booklets’ – Melody, Harmony and Rhythm – who all live together in a little house in Happyville. I guess if Jesus’ mother could become pregnant without having had sex it’s no great struggle to believe a songbook could do the same.
According to Maranatha! “The Kids Praise! series is chock-full of fun-filled praise and worship tunes kids love to sing! Performed by kids for kids! Fresh, easy arrangements will keep little ones entertained for hours while teaching them how to worship in spirit and truth!” They really, really like their exclamation marks, these people. It’s difficult to be unpleasant about Kids Praise! and Psalty – it’s all very worthy and so very, very nice. I’m sure the target audience love it – and even a committed atheist like me would rather my kids (should I have any) listen to this than the garbage spouted by a purple dinosaur – at least their using real instruments and, on occasion, adapting some rather wonderful music to carry their message. True, I have a problem with the message itself but I believe that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. In fact I felt quite mean about posting this particular song – until the kid singing the last solo opens its mouth that is, and then I want to go out and break something.