My Best Friend Is a Salamanderby Peter Himmelman
It's hard to think of an artist from the contemporary music scene better suited to children's music than Peter Himmelman. With his distinctive combination of wacky exuberance, traditional religious values, and melodic pop sensibilities, Himmelman seems such a natural for the task of entertaining children that it's a wonder it took him 25 years to record his first kid's record. My Best Friend Is a Salamander percolates with the same zany, spontaneous spirit that Himmelman brings to the impromptu songs that pepper his live performances. "Language Lessons with Mr. Schnibelstein" features the singer/songwriter as a nutty professor teaching nonsense words to a class of giggling children. "Larry's a Sunflower Now" details a little boy's Kafka-esque transformation into a plant. The title track, about a community's response to a family of salamanders that moves into the neighborhood, is the only song with a moral: "You shouldn't judge a friend by how he looks or by what he eats." These fanciful tales are accompanied by catchy folk-rock melodies that recall Shel Silverstein and, well, Peter Himmelman. The music is of a style and, for the most part, a quality consistent with Himmelman's adult albums. On "Melvin McBrickle," he experiments with the '70s rock vibe that he was to expand on in his 1999 release Love Thinketh No Evil. "An Ant Named Jane" is a quiet folk number in the vein of Himmelman's "Raina." Musically, the only departures from the usual Himmelman fare are "You'll Always Be You to Me" and "Magic When You Come My Way," on which he does an uncanny Randy Newman impression. As if all this weren't already enough to attract the attention of baby boomer parents, the album features a landmark in the annals of folk-rock -- the professional recording debut of Bob Dylan's grandchildren, who make cameo appearances with Papa Pete on several tracks.
- Release Date:
- Liquid 8
Performance CreditsPeter Himmelman Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Keyboards,Vocals
Greg Herzenach Guitar
Judi Glass Background Vocals
Christopher Joyner Piano,Hammond Organ
Robert "Jake" Jacobs Percussion,Drums,Sounds
Technical CreditsPeter Himmelman Producer
Michael Newman Photo Composites
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'Salamander' is simply the most enjoyable children's album I'm ever had the pleasure of playing over and over again. I bought it for myself, and may just to have a few kids sometime so we can sing the songs together. It's funny, inspired, charming, and very, very musical.