The Nursery Rhymes Collections

The Nursery Rhymes Collections 1-4 contain a total of 277 children's songs. Each double CD album showcases the highest quality children's music ever recorded with a total playing time in excess of 10 hours!

free download of the week

Archive

For one year we provided one free download per week. Scroll down to see the archive and read articles about many of the musicians involved in our recordings. Now you have access to free streaming of 120 Nursery Rhymes directly on our website.

Song 43 (2015, October 2): Blow The Man Down

Charlene Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week features the wonderful piano accordion playing of Charlene Pike. Charlene is the wife of a friend I currently work with and in a conversation with him he informed me that his wife played both the accordion and Irish whistle. I wish I’d known that at the start of The Nursery Rhyme Collection – but by now we were producing Volumes 5-8. Anyway Charlene was duly invited to come over to Comfy Towers recording studio to add some real ‘live’ accordion and whistle to some of the tracks I was working on. A piano accordion is a wind instrument with a keyboard, chord buttons and with squeezable bellows providing the wind – it swells in a characteristic way and is perfect for French, Russian and Italian music.

Back to Charlene: what a musician she turned out to be, ending up playing accordion on this week’s free download ‘Blow The Man Down’ as well as on Five Little Frogs, Oh Suzanna, Nicky Nacky Nocky Noo and Sleep Sweet Babe (from the Lullaby Album) as well as providing Irish Whistle on To Market, To Market, Sing Sing Sing (This Song Grows), Little Robin Redbreast and finally Irish Lullaby (Toora Loora Looral) where she even provided the mezmorising lead vocal; not bad for coming over to do ‘one or two bits’ for her husband’s work colleague. A brilliant and professional job was done by Charlene so many, many thanks go out to her and her husband Mark for being part of our project.

Charlene started to learn her first instrument, the tin whistle when she was only 7, she was learning Traditional Irish tunes right from the start. By the age of 9 was also learning the keyboard and performing small live gigs as ‘The Emerald Roses’ with her sister Sarah (who sings backing vocals on Irish Lullaby by the way). From there she progressed to piano accordion performing French, Russian and Italian tunes typical of the instrument. She currently performs in a Lincoln (UK) based five piece soul/rock/blues band called Caught Red Handed where you can see her playing the keyboards. Please take a look at the gig guide on the band’s site and go see them sometime!

The song ‘Blow The Man Down’ is an old English sea chanty of course from the back end of the 1800s, it was popularised by the Popeye cartoons as it featured (in tune only) as the background music to the infamous baddy Bluto! Our version features yours truly singing lead vocals with my partner in crime Mike Wilbury on backing vocals, the searing guitar track is provided by Mark Sansom of The Kinx with drums played by the one and only Steve Farmer. The session also included friend and bassist Pete Wilson, an English Horn part performed by Dave Peck and the Piano Accordion of course performed by today’s artist Charlene Pike. As usual; please enjoy, like and share.

Blow The Man Down (Full Song)

Blow The Man Down

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Song 42 (2015, September 25): My Mum (Full Bedtime Story based on the Nursery Rhyme ‘Ride A Toy Horse’)

Celine Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

The last months heralded the release of a new and exciting product for CTMS and The Nursery Rhyme Collection in the form of a bedtime stories album. It still follows the ideas of nursery rhymes of which I’ll explain further in a moment but is more spoken word. The idea was dreamed up between Mike Wilbury and I – you see we’re always trying to work out new hair-brained products that may be popular in the market. The idea was based around some research which showed that children love repetition and when it comes to getting them to bed a strict routine is a tried and tested method of achieving successful results. So it is clear that if a child listens to music at night to help them sleep they are likely to fall asleep at the same point every time; well that’s the theory anyway!

So the task was to produce a set of bedtime stories backed by the audio we already had from our Nursery Rhyme Collections albums. The stories were all original and written by people we knew – Mike in fact created the first few stories, followed by my wonderful wife Celine Watts and then further great stores came from friends (and musicians) Trevor Dobson and Peter Bradbury – the latter providing all the narration of the product. A number of stories were created around the theme of a nursery rhyme – I always give the example of ‘Humpty Dumpty’ when asked, however I don’t know why because there was no story for Humpty Dumpty on this album – but anyway, I’ll recite it one more time… We all know that Humpty fell of the wall and was put back together again by the Kings’ men, but how did he get to the wall in the first place? We tell that bit.

CelineThere are some wonderful stories including the tale of Old King Cole and his Lords, Mary (Quite Contrary) and the secret of how her garden actually did grow, a great tale of the bells of St Clements, London based on Oranges and Lemons and Archie the Mouse who lived in a windmill in old Amsterdam. Our stories are enveloped by remixed audio of our nursery rhymes that interlaces around the text with various gentle sound effects and coupled with Pete Bradbury’s soothing narrative making for a wonderful double CD set of stories which gradually decline in pace, hair pinning towards slumber. The stories coupled with the professional audio is what I think sets this album worlds apart from other audio book stories aavailable. The album seems to work beautifully with my own children and I always laugh out loud when I think about the comments from the Mastering Engineer ‘Chris McCormack’ of Blacklisted Mastering who worked with us on the product. Chris says that he struggled to stay awake when working on this and found himself yawning uncontrollably, I can picture him sat there amongst his gear having to shake his head from time to time to stay alert – so it seems it works for adults as well as children! P.S. Mastering is the process that makes our audio music sound exceptionally professional in a commercial environment (the sheen on the top) and Chris is a brilliant Mastering Engineer who has mastered all of our products over the years. He graciously does this from behind the scenes and gets little thanks for it publicly – so ‘thanks Chris’.

We are really proud of the results of this work and I feel that a product has been placed in the market that could really help people with their own children during what can be quite a stressful part of the day. I was also personally proud of the people that wrote the stories; they shocked me that when challenged they could come up with such high quality and interesting content; it’s wonderful how we maintain such a good imagination although it is rarely called upon as adults. Take a listen to one of our stories written by Celine Watts and read by Peter Bradbury called ‘My Mum Is Embarrassing’ – based upon Ride A Toy Horse (To Banbury Cross); enjoy it as our features of the week and free download!

My Mum (Full Bedtime Story)

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Song 41 (2015, September 18): Ten Green Speckled Frogs

Chas Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

The counting song ‘Ten Green Speckled Frogs’ serves as this week’s free download and features a good friend of mine called Charles Reynolds as the vocalist. Now Charles (or Chas as we know him locally) would not be offended if I said he’s not really a musician as he would probably agree with me. Charles in fact has never sung live or in a studio in his life before. I can’t really remember how it happened but during a conversation one evening he bravely agreed to ‘have a go’ and somehow by purce chance it paid off! He did an amazing job on the vocal and gave a nice character to the vocal keeping with the policy we have of music by everyday people for everyday people. Chas ended up singing lead vocals on other tracks on The Nursery Rhyme Collections including Miss Polly Had A Dolly, The Farmer’s In His Den, I Love Little Kitty and I Had A Cat (The Cat Pleased Me).

IanHarris The track features other key individuals including both Producers’ children, Dominic & Alistair Watts and Sina and Milena Doering (producing the wonderfully endearing ‘yum yum’ parts) and a bass line by another good friend Ian Harris. Ian is a ‘regular’ musician but I knew him best as our PA Sound Engineer for my days in the UK Beatles tribute band The Beatalls. Ian was one of the team and always attended all of our performances delivering sound equipment and engineering the shows with his company Sphere Audio. Ian was a natural choice as an invitee to be involved with Nursery Rhymes as a friend, musician and father himself. He brought along a lovely vintage Fender bass which he played on the recording of this track and on Two Little Dicky Birds from the same album. The Beatalls days are now long gone for me and Ian as I moved on and Ian sold up his business to concentrate on his career in finance however we both still like to keep in touch whenever possible. Thanks to both Chas and Ian for their input on this track and we hope you enjoy it – please like and share.

Ten Green Speckled Frogs (Sample)

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Song 40 (2015, September 11): Billy Boy

Roger Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This weeks’ free download is the fabulous ‘Billy Boy’, this track is about a mother and son relationship, the son (Billy Boy) has a new girlfriend and the mother wants to know the details! The Nursery Rhyme Collection version of the song characterises the son as an happy go lucky Geordie lad and the concerned and slightly posh mother. The parts were sung by Roger Morgan and Jodi Sharman respectively. This week we will feature musician ‘core musician’ Roger Morgan with Jodi featuring in a future post. I first met Roger back in 1992 when he attended an audition with the original band I was playing in at the time called ‘You Me and Him’. You Me and Him were touring the UK performing original songs written by ‘core musician’ Peter Bradbury who has featured on this blog previously and Andy Birkett who played lead guitar for the band and who has also performed on The Nursery Rhyme Collection (Andy will also feature in a future post).

Roger turned up as the drummer and soon got the job, we performed together for a few years like this and then I started my first Beatles tribute band ‘Twist and Shout’ which Roger duly took on the role of Ringo for a couple of years…you still with me? Following that we both performed live in an Irish band called The Loafers with another ‘core musician’ Mat Williams who has featured previously in this blog. As you can see there is a large and complicated network of musicians from my musical life who have all kept in touch and worked on various projects and bands over the years – hence calling them ‘core musicians’ on The Nursery Rhyme Collection for the purpose of this blog! Roger was no exception and we have always kept in touch and have been involved in various recording projects together over the years. Roger was of course asked to come put his drumming on some nursery rhymes (I think one of his drumming highlights is Sing, Sing, Sing (This Song Grows) where we are reunited together with Pete Bradbury who wrote, sang and played guitar on the song).

Roger is from the North East of the UK and has a wonderful Geordie accent. I felt that this accent could be just what was required to be the voice of ‘Billy Boy’, Roger steps up to the microphone and turns on the voice of Billy Boy – hamming it up slightly it has to be said – but hitting the nail on the head perfectly. Some of the phrases and words he uses are typical of the Geordie dialect (Stottie Cake for example – look it up!) and we kept them in the final recording as they work great. The vocal is complemented brilliantly by the voice of Jodi. Please download and share to your social media friends to help us spread the word.



Billy Boy (Sample)

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Song 39 (2015, August 28): Rock-a-Bye Baby

Steve Lane Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

For The Nursery Rhyme Collection Volume 1 & 2 we based our version of the famous lullaby more on the Rock music understanding if the word ‘rock’ rather than ‘rocking’ to sleep understanding, driving the track along away from your typical lullaby. But please don’t panic as the lullaby version was recorded in it’s typical true lullaby form and released at a later date, appearing on The Nursery Rhyme Collection Volumes 7 & 8. From last week we heard how Steve Lane provided steel guitar for She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain, so as he was in the studio anyway and is a particularly fantastic guitarist I couldn’t help but ask him to lay down a rock guitar part to this song. Out came his white Fender Stratocaster and down went this wonderful guitar part. The rock version was slightly influenced by Steve Winwood’s ‘Give Me Some Lovin’ hence the bouncy drum and bass riff and Hammond organ.

Steve and I go way back to a time where we both performed together in The Randees and The Three Cool Cats in the early noughties. The Randees was a great fun young 60’s cover band which included myself on guitar and vocals, Steve Lane on Lead Guitar and Vocals, Wayne McAneaney on bass, George Thomas on Keyboards and vocals and Alan Darmody on Drums – all apart from George have performed on The Nursery Rhyme Collection and I’d love to have George play on future releases. The Three Cool Cats was a relaxed barroom Beatles cover band but playing really early Beatles pre-fame and up to about 1963 and included a third musician called Pat Furber (who once was the bass player of the Fab 4 – the Beatles tribute band that one of our main drummers Gary Holmes still performs in). Please enjoy, like and share our free download of the week and we may shortly hear the other version when its turn comes around on this forum.



Rock-a-Bye Baby (Sample)

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Song 38 (2015, August 21): She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain

Phil Rostance Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain (When She Comes) is one of the first nursery rhymes I can remember, I have no idea who sang on the version I first heard however it was certainly one of the first rhymes I wanted to record whilst planning my own songs for The Nursery Rhyme Collection, hence the track ended up on our first release. The song is an African American Folk Song based upon a Christian Spiritual song called “O, who will drive the chariot when she comes” which is sung to the same joyous tune and believed to have been written during the late 1800’s. The song was adapted for children with some lyrical changes.

Our version of the song is in quite a basic form and is fronted by singer Phil Rostance. Phil is the son of an engineering ex-colleague of mine who suggested Phil come to my studio to record some swing songs in order to promote his live swing act. This took place successfully and Phil later returned to my studio to record some original material (having being coaxed by me to record the songs he’d already written). On these original songs Phil played some acoustic guitar and some electric guitar and I played drums, bass, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals and additional electric guitars to enhance the song arrangements. One notable track he recorded with me is called ‘Fight On The Front Line’ a tribute to a young British soldier and school friend of Phil’s who sadly lost his life in Afghanistan, the song was sold via local Nottingham Tesco stores and as a digital download on the Tesco Digital channel with all proceeds going towards the charity ‘Help for Heroes’. This lovely ballad that can be heard here (following some military introduction music)

Phil went on to co-write a song for the 2010 football World Cup! He currently performs in his Swing Act, an excellent (and rather amusing) Elvis Presley Impersonation act and a brilliant and professional wedding band called Phil Rostance and The Marshall Band with local musician, sound engineer and all round entrepreneur Ben Marshall.

Following this recording Phil was invited to put his cool ‘happy’ vocals onto some tracks for The Nursery Rhyme Collection including She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain. He gives a loud and long yelp of “yee-ha!” at the start and finish of the track setting the scene for what turns out to be a great recorded version of this famous nursery rhyme. Adding to the track rather substantially is the steel guitar played by Steve Lane who will feature in more detail next week, other musicians on the song include, gradually increasing drums from Gary Holmes, a great pub piano part from Rick Benbow and a merry fiddle from Mat Williams. A big thanks to Phil for his contribution to our music! Phil can also be seen chatting about the product here on our own site



She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain (Sample)

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Song 37 (2015, August 7): Bobby Shaftoe

Debs Griffiths Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Bobbie Shaftoe seems to have been a sailor according to the famous nursery rhyme and folk song and it seems he was on a promise to return and marry his sweetheart. The character featured in the rhyme is based upon a real person (Robert Shaftoe) who according to Wikipedia was a member of parliament during the 1700’s, how he got from being a sailor to a member of parliament is anyone’s guess! Our version of the song flips the story on its head and surrounds itself around the plight of his so to be future wife; the person singing the song. ‘He’ll come back and marry me’. Our singer for the track develops the idea by complaining about the fact that her Bobbie has gone away to sea - as if it’s actually a problem to her rather than something she is proud of. I think this is a great original take on the idea and I particularly like the fact that Debs almost spits out the vocal with real venom and a feel of a rant or a nag, this feel is especially prevalent during the newly added spoken parts… “he’s gone off fishing again”!

The song starts almost ‘a Capella’ and then bursts into full blown folk style rhythms. Well I’m sure you are pretty familiar with the song itself so I’ll let the free download do its part in describing the rest of the performance other than to say it features the excellent drumming and backing vocals of Steve Farmer, some great fiddle work by Mat Williams backed by some really nice melodica (a mouth blown keyboard instrument).

Debs Griffiths is Teacher, Sunday School Leader and a key member of our local parish church choir ‘Laudamus’ (to which I am the musical director and conductor). She has a great alto voice, holds her pitch brilliantly and can ‘sight-sing’ from sheet music. Debs is also a competent flautist; although she may tell you otherwise! She was the perfect choice for the vocal on this track with her smooth alto range but I was completely surprised by the extra ‘complaining’ dimension she bought to our Bobbie Shaftoe track…in fact, come to think of it, she seemed to fall into this quite naturally…only joking Debs! This session was both enjoyable and rewarding in its output, as I often find it much more exciting when a musician approaches a track in a totally different way to how might have approached it; changing the feel, character and as in this case the whole focus of a song. Debs performs on a few of our nursery rhymes across all volumes and on one session brought along her daughter Amy, who like anyone hap-hazardously walking into Comfy Tower Recoding Studios got dragged into recording some parts on a track or two! Debs was also responsible for some key work on our Nursery Rhyme history and backgrounds content found as a free resource on our website.

It’s always a pleasure to work with Debs, either in the studio or in the choir; we have quite different tastes in music which helps us develop a good balance of repertoire and she also lends an appreciated supporting role to the trials and tribulations of being a musical director in a Parish Church.



Bobby Shaftoe (Sample)

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Song 36 (2015, July 17): In And Out The Windows

Debs Sansom Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Debs Sansom is the wife of guitarist Mark who plays Dave Davies in my tribute band The Kinx. She is also the first of two Debs’ who are both alto singers in choirs and involved with The Nursery Rhyme Collection; the second Debs is Debs Griffiths who is to be our feature artist next week. But back to Debs Sansom.

Debs (or Debra as she is known professionally) is an alto singer in the renowned all female choir from Nottingham called Mirabilé. She has a history of performing arts and has previously performed as part of the Nottingham Operatic Society. Notably relevant to our Free Download Track of the Week she has performed lead roles in stage musicals, a skill which she put to good use on our download track ‘In and Out The Windows’. Debs takes the role of one Miss Kitty Fisher (as in Lucy Lockett lost her pocket…Kitty Fisher found it) in the song. Kitty is the made up Cockney Londoner who is teaching the kids during the song how to play the game ‘In and Out The Windows’. Debs puts on the accent for both the talking and singing parts of the song and as requested during the recording session she goes completely over the top, full board with it for effect. The game is an old fashioned, albeit still used, playground favourite dance for children where a circle is formed, one child leaves the circle, picks a partner and weaves in and out of the other children who are forming arches with their arms, another child is then picked and the game continues on and on.

Debs can also be heard using her own beautiful alto registered voice on other tracks of The Nursery Rhyme Collection and my particular favourite is the lullaby Rock The Cradle. Enjoy, like and please share this post to help promote our Nursery Rhyme Collections to your friends!

In And Out The Windows (Sample)

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Song 35 (2015, July 3): Camptown Races

Tim Vernon Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Hello all, this week features my old pal Tim Vernon and his track Camptown Races. Tim sings lead on the track and provides some acoustic guitar. According to Wikipedia the track was written way back in the late 1800's in America as a minstrel song by writer Stephen Foster but it is now considered traditional of course. The melody is often used on the football terraces in the form 'Two World Wars and One World Cup'. Camptown Races is one of two minstrel songs that crop up over our 8 current volumes of The Nursery Rhyme Collection; the other being 'Oh Suzanna'.

Tim Vernon on the other hand is not (yet) listed on Wikipedia so we will have to use first hand descriptions of this fine musician! I worked with Tim for many a year in Manufacturing in Nottingham and he has recently started his welcomed and happy retirement. I got to know him most during the last few years where we discovered our common interest in music and guitar playing. Tim now fronts (with daughter Joanne Burgess) The Gastric Band. Various members of The Gastrics perform on various tracks on the collections with previous blogs already written about Trevor Dobson and Jo Burgess and a forthcoming blog soon to feature drummer John Snowden. Tim has a very characteristic voice and it seemed to suit the feel of Camptown Races perfectly after his found the correct nasally accent for the track, however he is actually very versatile in his singing style, performing songs of many different genres and style in his own live performances with the band; a talent that allowed him to easily achieve a number of lead vocals over The Nursery Rhyme Collection differing in style from Minstrel Song to soft Traditional Lullaby. Tim is currently putting the finishing touches to a collection of original songs he has self-penned based loosely around his experience during the lead up to his retirement; soon to be recorded at Comfy Towers Studios during the back end of 2015. We thank Tim for his great work on our songs and we hope you thoroughly enjoy our download of the week: Camptown Races 'doo dah doo dah'

Camptown Races (Sample)

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Song 34 (2015, June 26): Mah Na Mah Na

Jayme ToveyJoe Stafford Article by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Today’s free download of the week is ‘Mah Nà Mah Nà’ which features various different musicians and a ‘rent-a-crowd’! The two musicians we will focus on in particular this week are Birmingham based musicians Joe Stafford and Jayme Tovey. Joe is an extremely talented vocalist and pianist mainly of the ‘Boogie-Woogie’ genre (although he can play basically everything) and on Mah Nà Mah Nà he demonstrates this style with its thundering left hand piano bass riff during the song for a number of solo bars. Jayme is a stylish and outstanding rock and jazz drummer who performed on our Nursery Rhyme Collection over a few tracks, e.g. There Was A Little Girl Who Had A Little Curl and Three Little Kittens. Jayme also solos the drums during one solo on ‘Mah Na Mah Na’.

The two guys have been performing together as a duo for in excess of ten years and they came to me wanting to record some original material at my studio back in 2010 (I think). They are currently named The Wedding Crashers. The pair make for absolutely brilliant entertainment at any party – not just weddings, so if you are looking for a good band who are reliable and professional then look no further than these two!

Our version of this very famous scat vocal style track from The Muppet Show (written by Piero Umiliani) was arranged to introduce different instruments to children. It features other instrumental solos: Fender Bass Guitar (Rebecca Lievers – who does much of our main female vocal on The Nursery Rhyme Collection of course), husband and blues guitarist Jamie Leivers on electric guitar and two saxophonists – Trevor Dobson on Tenor sax and Viv Rolfe on Alto Saxophone. The ‘rent-a-crowd’ shout-outs were a collection of local people that were literally rounded up on the day from our collection of friends and included the Jordan family, the Conidi family and my good mates Richard Channer and Dave Holmes. The later two often ask me when their performance royalties are due – it’s in the post lads! They crowded around a couple of studio mikes and shouted out the next instrument to feature in the track as well as advertising The Nursery Rhyme Collection at the top of their voices and this idea/style was inspired from the famous Glenn Miller track ‘Pennsylvania 6 5000’ which I’d heard some days before attempting the recording. Also featuring on the track are husband and wife Mark (of The Kinx) and Debs Sansom who you can hear clearly at the end of the track saying ‘That’s all!’ a little nod to my favourite album by Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace. The Macca fans in the know will understand what I mean!

Mah Na Mah Na (Sample)

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Song 33 (2015, June 19): Manx Lullaby

Sina Article by Mike Wilbury, Co-Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week's featured song is Manx Lullaby, a traditional Lullaby arranged in the style of Pink Floyd by Rick Benbow and producer Ian Watts. We have mentioned Rick on a couple of earlier posts. For many years he was the keyboardist with Think Floyd and Brit Floyd, two of the world's finest Pink Floyd Tribute Bands. Now he works mainly as an arranger and recording artist, so he was in charge for the strings arrangements of Status Quo's AQuostic album. The wonderful saxophone lines were played by Dave Gregory who was also featured before. Just like drummer Steve Farmer and myself on bass and guitar. So who is left?

For a bit of a change this week's featured artist is my daughter Sina. She was not involved in the original recordings but she had an alternative take on the song (see video below), changing the original 8th groove to a Toto style triplet groove. 2 years ago Sina attended an exclusive drum workshop at Steve Farmer's drumming school (the original drummer on the recording) and it seems that she has learned a lot. In the alternative arrangement (see the video) you can hear an extended saxophone part of Dave Gregory and you can still hear original drummer Steve Farmer's speech in the middle bit. So this is a pretty unique document of a teacher and his student in one song, enjoy!

The free download (link below) is the original song of course (as released on The Nursery Rhyme Collection IV)

Manx Lullaby

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Song 32 (2015, June 12): Five Fat Sausages

lalalaApart from the producer's own sons who were involved in the Nursery Rhymes Recordings literally from day 1 of their lifes (at least this is true for the younger brother), the 3 Lovac brothers Abel, Adam and Aaron were the youngest musicians to contribute to our project. They recorded 2 songs back in 2011 for the Nursery Rhyme Collection 2: Simple Simon and this week's featured song ‘Five Fat Sausages’.

The Lovac brothers were 12, 13 and 14 years old back then. Mike, the Co-Producer of all Nursery Rhyme Collections, was the first to recognise the boys' musical talents and he did some recordings with the lads for various projects. Meanwhile they signed a major contract at SonyMusic. Their first official Single was released in 2014 (see video below) ‘Sind Wir Freunde’ has generated more than 1.7 Million views on YouTube.



Currently the 3 Lovac's are recording their second album for SonyMusic and we are proud that they made their first international appearance on our Nursery Rhyme Collection. We wish them all the best for their future careers!

Five Fat Sausages (Full Song)

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Song Of The Week (Archive)

Song 31 (2015, June 5): Sunday, Sunday

JoanneArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week’s great free download is a new track written specifically for The Nursery Rhyme Collection called Sunday, Sunday. The track was written by co-producer Mike Wilbury and is designed to help children learn the days of the week via music. We are big believers that music plays such a massive part in a child’s learning and the added dimension of melody and rhythm goes a long way to help a child grasp words, numbers and colours, etc. We certainly made a conscious decision to include quite a lot of these tracks throughout our children’s releases and aim at learning as well as musical enjoyment for kids. The track takes us from Monday and through each day of the week in turn in a very fun way at the end of each verse to Sunday.

The vocalist on the track was at the time called Joanne Vernon, now married with two children of her own and called Joanne Burgess. She is the lead singer in her own band The Gastric Band along with Trev Dobson and Tom Walster who we have already met through this forum. Jo has a unique voice; one which is very different to other female singers on our tracks and it suits the track beautifully. Jo comes from Nottingham and hence we had a rather interesting time recoding her vocal on this track as we tried to keep out the Nottingham accent as much as possible, especially on the days, Monday for example naturally comes out as ‘Mondee’ and Tuesday as ‘Tuesdee’. I think some of it still creeps in which is fine as it shows we are real people behind these songs; something I am very proud of – we are real people with attitudes and accents which I believe gives our music a true honesty not provided by any of our competitors. Jo performed on a number of tracks from our Nursery Rhyme Collection Volumes and always provided a professional performance with attitude. I will be working again with Jo very soon as she helps organise a Live Music Festival in Nottingham in a place called Wellow and I will be standing in for Tom Walster on bass in her band for ‘Wellowfest’ – please look out of Facebook for this festival and come along and enjoy some great live music. Next week we hope to meet Jo’s dad (and also a member of The Gastric Band) Tim Vernon.

Sunday, Sunday (Sample)

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Song 30 (2015, May 29): Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Steve FarmerArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week’s free download of the week is ‘Do Your Ears Hang Low’ and features the one and only Steve Farmer on drums, percussion and a pair of fantastic, comedic and hilarious pantomime voices! Steve is the Drummer with UK Pink Floyd Tribute act Think Floyd although he has performed in many bands over the years including The Lost Weekend Band which was the band that performed theatres all over the UK with the show about John Lennon called Come Together and where all the musicians have featured at some point on The Nursery Rhyme Collection (myself, Mike Wilbury, Rick Benbow, Steve Heappey and Johnny Silver).

Think Floyd are an awesome tribute to Pink Floyd and they continue to be one of the premier acts touring this music in the UK. I met Steve many years ago when he was performing with his original band The Vow (Peterborough based) via another musicians friend Nick Miller (now of Ohasis) and since then we went on to work together both live and in the studio. Steve is often the drummer of choice when creating new music due to his diverse and varied skills as a session drummer. He also performs pantomime every year at Newark Palace Theatre where, from the orchestra pit, he provides all the drumming and strange musical effects typical of a Christmas pantomime in the UK. With these qualifications he was the obvious choice to be involved with a Nursery Rhyme as fun as ‘Do Your Ears Hang Low’, but little did I expect… the session turned out to be ‘full on’ pantomime lead by Steve’s overwhelming desire to take the song firmly in this comical direction. In fact, I almost had no say in it at all and to be honest during the recordings I was laughing too much to be able to stop him. The track he created is basically a sketch between the guy with long ears and his doctor.

Keyboard wizard Rick Benbow complements the song with an offbeat vintage Vox organ sound, I played bass (I think?!?) and Steve added all the honk-honks, duck quacks, sliding whistles and other strange, varied and typical pantomime sound effects. But, in all seriousness Steve did a stunning job on this track, providing both the voice of the doctor and the guy with long ears and the magic he created between the two is outstanding. Take a listen to the track and hopefully you will agree with me. We were so pleased with the results that we recreated this comedic feel again on a track on Volume 5&6 of The Nursery Rhyme Collection called Oh Suzanna (With My Banjo On My Knee) where once more Steve sings/plays both the characters; in fact one character is male and one is female in this instance – very bizarre!

Steve provides outstanding drumming (and some backing vocals) on plenty of the tracks from The Nursery Rhyme Collection including one Lullaby and another Nursery Rhyme based on Pink Floyd Tracks (obviously); called Manx Lullaby and 30 Days Hath September respectively. He is brilliant to have around in the studio or live as he always has a smile on his face, is up for anything and when the chips are down; Steve can get everyone laughing with a single comment. Steve Farmer runs a professional training school for drummers called The Drum Farm. Check this out for loads more info on Steve and his work and if you want to learn drums – he’s seriously your man.

Our next musical project together is planned for July this year (2015) where along with Mark Sansom on guitar, Steve and I will be working on a new exciting release by Nottingham singer/songwriter Simon Robinson. Simon has been out of the music business for a few years but we have managed to coax him back into writing and singing again. He has risen to the challenge and Steve Farmer will be providing the essential beats for his new album.

Do Your Ears Hang Low? (Sample)

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Song 29 (2015, May 22): What Shall We Do With The Grumpy Pirate?

My Mate KateArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week’s download of the week is performed for recording by a young London Band called My Mate Kate - they even shoe-horned in their website name to this weeks featured free download which is called ‘What Shall We Do With The Grumpy Pirate’. I’ll talk about the lads in a minute but for now let’s concentrate on the nursery rhyme itself.

You will certainly know the less Politically Correct version of the song which is of course called ‘What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor’ and to be honest I am not one for changing everything to be PC in the main (unless it’s severe abuse of course) as can be seen in the rest of the tracks across The Nursery Rhyme Collection. But in this case we happened to be recording the track just at the very time the UK newspaper ‘The Daily Mail’ published the new PC ‘Grumpy Pirate’ lyrics for the very first time and I seem to remember they were kicking up a bit of a stink about it. I was reading the article and realised that The Nursery Rhyme Collection could be the first official recording to use these new lyrics, therefore we just went for it. The ‘Drunken’ Sailor was totally fine for me as a kid…hiccup, hiccup!

Our recording of the track bounces along due to the natural energy from these three young lads called My Mate Kate (MMK). MMK are now a four piece band but at the time we recorded this album they were a 3 piece; led by Jack Harris on vocals and guitar, along with brothers Ricki Gould on bass and vocals and Danny Gould on drums and vocals. The ‘brothers Gould’ are sons of the main singer and Billy Fury impersonator in the UK theatre production The Billy Fury (Colin Gould – stage name Colin Gold) and therefore have a proper class musical heritage and pedigree. You may remember we worked with other members of The Billy Fury Story company on other tracks previously mentioned on this blog of course. Jack has since left the band to pursue his own London Band whilst the two brother continue as MMK with two other musicians not featured on The Nursery Rhyme Collection products and we at CTMS Ltd wish them all every success. I talk about lots of these sessions being ‘fun’ on this blog; they really truly were all great fun and I have to say these lads were no exception. They have their own inherent and in built musical style but are also very happy and open to be directed into what I wanted as the producer; the sign of true musicians. They graciously soaked it all up like sponges and spat it back out to me as a MMK/Nursery Rhyme Collection classic track. Take a listen, enjoy and well … Shabba!

What Shall We Do With The Grumpy Pirate? (Sample)

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Song 28 (2015, May 15): It’s Raining, It’s Pouring (Medley)

OhasisArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

OK, here is a very special free download of the week; ‘It’s Raining, It’s Pouring/Dr Foster/Rain Rain Go Away’ medley. This song is a ‘mash-up/medley’ of three famous nursery rhymes all based around ‘rain’ of course. Only the first part ‘It’s Raining, It’s Pouring had any previously known melody at all (and a simple little 3 note one at that), the other two titles had to have new melodies and chords written. Similar to last week’s Free Download where I’m A Little Teapot was recorded in the style of Rockabilly, this week’s track was always in my mind to focus the track firmly in the style and genre of Oasis. Of course The Nursery Rhyme Collection aims to not just provide kids with well-known nursery rhymes but also turn them on to various styles and genres of music. The track therefore features none other than the UK’s premier Oasis Tribute Band Ohasis! Oasis were of course massive during the 80’s and 90’s and the antics of brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher are well documented. Ohasis as a tribute act allow today’s audiences to witness the music and visuals of Oasis live on stage once more and in this case, as close as possible to the original artist.

ScottOhasis (tribute band) formed in 2009 and soon became extremely successful and notorious as a top quality, authentic working Tribute Band in the UK. They have undertaken literally thousands of shows and have played at many notable gigs such as ‘The Big Tribute’; the annual festival held in Aberystwyth, West Wales. They have also travelled somewhat with performances in Italy where they played to a large and enthusiastic crowd at a top outdoor festival (see picture of this very show). The band was formed by guitarist/singer Scott Hardingham (previously of UK original band ‘Four Last Things’ 2003-2008, performing original material co-written with the singer of that band) who plays the infamous Noel Gallagher role. Ohasis have an excellent website where you can see videos of the band including guitarist Nick Miller (already mentioned previously in this blog and a ‘usual suspect’ in The Nursery Rhyme Collection recordings), Liam Gallagher impersonator Jon Boswell, drummer Alan Darmody and bassist Steve Abram. Ohasis are the only Oasis Tribute band who are signed to a record label with official album releases on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and all digital outlets.

Scott used an ES345 for the lead guitar parts, Nick Miller used an overdriven Gibson Firebird ‘Non-Reverse’ for the driving rhythm guitar, both used to help create that Oasis ‘Live’ sound (Noel feedback included). The guitars along with Jon’s stereotypical ‘spitting’ Liam Gallagher inflected vocal make up this very special nursery rhyme recording. The extraordinary swirling, whooping sound at the end of the track is Scott forcing his guitar to feedback and over effect by maxing out the knobs on his effect pedals – something very typical of Noel Gallagher himself at the end of an Oasis live gig. Scott and I met through the band’s drummer Alan Darmody. Alan performed with me in previous bands ‘Sad’ and 60’s cover band ‘The Randees’ so it was a definite aim of mine to work with Alan and these great musicians on the Nursery Rhyme Collection albums at some point. Scott Hardingham also fronts his offshoot tribute act ‘Nearly Noel Gallaghers’ High Flyin’ Birdz’ with a line up again consisting of drummer Alan but this time with other supporting musicians. This new band is currently performing around the UK and again are fast becoming an established, successful and popular live outfit. Scott (pictured) sang a great lead vocal on another song on The Nursery Rhyme Collection called ‘We Three Ships’ and he also provided a cool backing vocal to my main vocal on ‘For Want Of A Nail’. It was a real pleasure working with Ohasis in the studio and my personal hope is that one day a child who listened to The Nursery Rhyme Collection; at some point in the future hears the music of Oasis and thinks “they sound like a Nursery Rhyme I once knew”!!!

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring (Medley)

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Song 27 (2015, May 8): I'm A Little Teapot

theschoolhouserockersArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Today we feature I’m A Little Teapot; please check out our free download! This is a very popular and well known Nursery Rhyme, well I call it a Nursery Rhyme but in fact this little piece of music was not intended as a Nursery Rhyme when it was written and it is also not even that old, certainly not as old as some ‘traditional’ nursery rhymes featured on our collection. Interestingly, it was a song written by George Harold Sanders and Clarence Z. Kelly in 1939 for children to learn to tap dance to and was originally called ‘The Teapot Song’. I was amazed when I was informed by the music copyright people that the song was not a traditional song and is still in copyright.

Im-a-little-teapotOur version of the song is pretty unusual compared to most commercial versions released as it is recorded in the style of ‘Rockabilly’ (an early style of Rock’n’Roll mixed with Hillbilly Bluegrass developed in the 1950’s). Typical Rockabilly band line ups feature guitar, upright slap bass and drums and our recording is no exception to this rule. The song was performed by a band called The School House Rockers with Dave Needham playing a brilliant Gretsch electric guitar part (with a good measure of tremolo arm use and Rockabilly style chords), his wife Sally Needham played ‘stand up’ drums for this recording (yes, she physically stands up to get that particular drum style unlike the typical seated drummer) and upright bassist Martin Clarke.

Martin Clarke is a phenomenal bass player who uses a slap style (slapping is the art of bouncing the upright bass strings against the wooden finger board in a percussive style). Martin amazed me in the studio, teaching me an important lesson in understanding the mechanics of both Rockabilly and Rock’n’roll recorded music. I always thought that the tap rhythm that is so prominently heard on those old Elvis Presley recordings was played by the drummer on a drum’s rim, but it is in fact this slap sound created by the upright bassist; I would never had believed this without actually witnessing it with my own eyes! Martins’ hands were hardly moving on the bass but somehow he could produce two or three extra rhythm sounds as well as the normal bass note he was playing. Our version of I’m A Little Teapot also nods towards Queen’s ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ just before Dave’s excellently crafted guitar solo – see if you can spot this little influence hidden in there. The featured artists of last week (Furys’ Tornadoes) provided the backing vocals for the recording along with myself, Martin and Dave in a fun little session where the Fury boys spuriously visited the studio to meet The School House Rockers; and typical of my recording studio – anyone who happens to visit during a session gets involved!

Much to my disappointment The School House Rockers have now disbanded and Martin has stopped performing altogether; a real shame and loss of live musical talent – c’mon Martin, get back out there!

The artwork of I’m A Little Teapot featured in this post is that of Rachel Hudson, the wonderfully talented artist we have used throughout ‘The Nursery Rhyme Collection’ and ‘30 Best’ CD’s and who will feature in a future post on this blog.

I'm A Little Teapot (Sample)

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Song 26 (2015, May 1): This Is The House That Jack Built

matthewArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This weeks’ free download centers around a professional company and theatre production The Billy Fury Story. Their Show Halfway To Paradise is a tribute production about the music of Liverpool singing legend Billy Fury performed by musicians who backed Billy in the 70’s as Fury’s Tornadoes and lead by an excellent Billy Fury impersonator called Colin Gold. The musicians were recording a set of Billy Fury tribute albums in my studio at the time I was recording the first volumes of The Nursery Rhyme Collection and of course like many others were ‘roped in’ to my project! In all honesty the guys were very happy to be involved and put their heart and soul into doing a good job for me.

The 3 musicians involved were guitarist/singer Chris Raynor, drummer John Raynor or ‘Raggy’ as he’s known locally (no relation to Chris) and bassist/singer Graham Wyvill. The track they all played on was This Is The House That Jack Built where Chris plays an overlayered guitar track on my Rickenbacker Fireglo 360 12 string guitar to great effect. The lads had particular fun getting the arrangement right with its additional bars being added each verse; I remember the bass session with Graham well as it was a really good laugh! Singer Peter Bradbury put on the gravelly lead vocal. The boys also performed on another track on backing vocals called I’m A Little Teapot. John Raynor (Raggy) really threw himself into the project and performed drum parts on many songs across volumes 1-5, particular highlights for me being his superb drumming on The Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Mary Mary Quite Contrary from volumes 1 & 2 where his tom-tom work is some of the best I’ve heard. It was a real pleasure working with these guys and their vast musical experience and professionalism shone through in droves during the recording sessions.



This Is The House That Jack Built (Sample)

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Song 25 (2015, April 24): Kumbaya

matthewArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week’s download of the week is Kumbaya, this track features on our ‘chill out’ section of the lullabies album of The Nursery Rhyme Collection and is a spiritual song roughly translated as a plead to God to “Come By Here”. Our version is sung by last weeks’ featured artist Rosie Mclaughlin who does a wonderful interpretation of the lyrics for our version. The percussive rhythm of the track is provided by this week’s featured artist Matthew Turner.

Matthew is a drummer; but not just any drummer… as he is accredited with Grade 8 snare drum; these abilities on his snare being used to the full on another recording for the project called I See The Moon/Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. On Kumbaya however, Matthew was tasked with playing the African bongos to help with the South African feel of the song, his part enhances the basic repeating computer generated rhythm laid down by Rick Benbow and gives the song its essential ‘human’ feel. The track also includes upright bass and electric Wurlitzer EP200 piano played by Rick as well a guitar, a tiny bit of piano and further percussion played by me. Of particular interest are the backing vocals; I was listening to Paul Simon’s Graceland album at the time of recording and was taken by the fantastic South African ‘Mbaqanga style’ vocals. Influenced by this sound and feel I produced my own version along with made up African words which you can hear about half way through the song!

Matthew plays in his own rock band based in London called The Edit where they perform regularly at various London venues. I also performed a one off show with Matt (and with Tom Walster - another artist previously featured on this blog) for the Queens Jubilee in June 2012 at a local pub in Papplewick called The Griffins Head.

Kumbaya (Sample)

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Song 24 (2015, April 17): A Nightime Blessing

RosieArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Rosie McLaughlin was brought to the Nursery Rhyme Project as a session singer and a friend of a friend. It was a bit of a risk as a Producer to use someone based on another person’s recommendation as you don’t know their quality but with Rosie it was a massive stroke of luck as she is a naturally brilliant singer. She has perfect pitch, a musical range to die for and with her acting and drama background she has a great artistic sense of what the producer requires. These abilities and her professionalism show throughout all the tracks she sang on including Baby, featured in our last post/blog.

A Nightime Blessing (this week’s free download) is an original lullaby by a composer named Amy Robbins-Wilson. We don’t know Amy personally but in true honest musical style contacted her for permissions to include her beautiful track on our collection. Amy was very gracious and happy for this to happen and of course all the royalty details were duly arranged. Our version of Amy’s song was recorded in the style of the Irish singer Enya (ex Clannad) and is typical of the recording style she used and was so successful with in the 80’s; song styles such as ‘Sail Away’. I was always very enticed by the angelic, luscious, heavenly and breathy recordings Enya made and so when making a lullaby album it seemed an obvious choice to create something similar. The track almost sounds like one of those relaxation tracks that you may hear in a spa (including the trickling water)! For those technophobes out there the breathy sound was created on an original 80’s vintage Kawai K1M synthesizer – so it is a genuine instrument creating those 80’s Enya sounds. We hope you enjoy.

A Nightime Blessing (Sample)

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Song 23 (2015, April 3rd): Baby

Kev BensonArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Baby; a simple title I know, however it is a very fine track written by Jack Cottrell and originally performed by George Formby on the Ukulele. One of the singers on our version is a very special friend indeed.

Some years back when I was performing with the theatre show ‘Come Together Right Now’ a show featuring Johnny Silver (who we’ve already met through this forum) I was approached after a show in Liverpool by a feller from York who introduced himself as Kev Benson, now after live shows blokes often come up to the musicians and say things like ‘I play a guitar you know…’, etc, but Kev was rather different; he said “your bass guitar should have this detail on it and not this detail”. Now for most of you that would simply bore the socks off you, but for me (someone who loves guitars and all the little details of them…sad, I know) this guy sounded interesting.

It turns out that Kev is a professional musician himself and performs regularly in his band called Flashback, a proper full on ‘beat group’; performing sixties style rock and roll, with a sound something akin to what you may have heard in Liverpool’s famous sweaty Cavern Club way back in the early sixties. Kev and I kept in touch and remained good friends, visiting each other from time to time for family outings. During one visit Kev produced a uke (Ukulele – a tiny little guitar with four nylon strings) and played us a couple of beautiful George Formby songs: Baby (our feature download of this week) and I’ll See You In My Dreams; the Isham Jones/Gus Kahn classic. I said to him right there and then that when I get around to recording my lullaby album I want him to come over to the studio and play these for me to include on the album. We did this and both now feature gorgeously on The Nursery Rhyme Collections 4 where Kev is accompanied on vocals by another wonderful singer called Rosie McLaughlin (who will feature here soon). Kev recorded his uke track and then did the vocals along with Rosie in one recording session. Kev is normally blasting out a vocal at full volume however these two recordings required an extremely soft and delicate vocal from him. After listening back to the results on the studio monitors Kev stated that it sounded like ‘Beauty and The Beast’; his vocal being the beast. Well, I think both vocals are just wonderful but his comment has stuck with me as it does sum up the amazing and somewhat unusual chemistry between the two vocalists. Finally of note the horn solo was put on by another great musician called Dave Peck; it is played on the wonderfully mellow tone of his English Horn with a mute device held in the horn to give that 20’s era sound. I hope you enjoy our version of George Formby’s ‘Baby’.

Baby (Sample)

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Song 22 (2015, March 27): The Teddy Bears' Picnic

Kev BealArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week’s free download is Teddy Bears Picnic, I love this one! It features a massive drum part from the drummer of the Billy Fury Story Mr John Raynor who will feature in an up and coming post plus a fantastic Gibson Les Paul guitar part from Kev Beal.

Kev, our featured artist of the week is a proper rock guitarist, he has a long pedigree of performing in Nottingham rock bands and I first met him in a 70’s cover band called The Vinyl Years. Kev’s rock guitar sound coupled with John’s drumming, Rebecca Leivers’ great vocal and a bit of bass playing thrown in from me makes this track one of the highlights of the 277 tracks available on The Nursery Rhyme Collection series. To top things off it includes this slightly bizarre interlude in the middle of the track where Nick Miller (of Ohasis tribute band; we met some weeks ago) provides an hilarious vocal. Kev now plays a solo act based on glam rock where he takes on the persona Max Spangle! Kev Beal The dodgy picture shows Kev actually recording the part on The Teddy Bears’ Picnic and highlights the fantastic blue sparkly Gibson Les Paul he was using to get ‘that sound’. Check him out here: www.foremostentertainments.co.uk/

The Teddy Bears' Picnic (Sample)

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Song 21 (2015, March 20): On Top Of Old Smokey

Stuart WattsArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week’s download of the week is a song called On Top Of Old Smokey. This was a track I remember from way back in my own childhood. TapePlayer My dad had a really great quality Revox reel to reel quarter inch tape player, this thing absolutely transfixed me as a youngster of about 5 or 6 years old for a few reasons; firstly, it had a little green ‘magic eye’ that danced away with the level of the music, secondly, the reels of tape containing the nursery rhymes were fascinating translucent colours that almost hypnotized me in a 60’s psychedelic manner as they span faster and faster as the tape ran down and finally I just loved the sound of the music that came out into the large wooden speakers each side of the living room. That ‘tape’ contained a track called ‘On Top Of Old Smokey’ recorded by The Weavers (American Folk act of the 50’s & 60’s) that I must have particularly enjoyed as it lodged itself in the deepest confines of my memory only to surface again when I was planning the project of producing quality nursery rhymes for the modern era.

When approaching a track in the studio the ‘band’ – sometimes consisting of a few of us and sometimes just me with a guitar or piano and a drummer – play the tune over looking for its ‘style’, sometimes it is obvious and sometimes it takes a bit of work. After reacquainting myself with the song ‘Smokey’ easily morphed into a late 50’s era rock and roll style track based loosely on the 1963 BBC recoding of Chuck Berrys’ Sweet Little Sixteen by The Beatles. George Harrison’s guitar style being mimicked by Mike Wilbury on our new interpretation. The singer and bass player on the track ended up to be my good mate Kev Benson of the band Flashback as his style and love of all things Beatles lent itself well to the feel of the track. We will look at Kev in his own feature on this forum soon. Today’s featured musician is actually my brother Stuart Watts.

Now, of all the people involved with The Nursery Rhyme Collections from start to finish Stuart was the only one that ‘really didn’t want to be there’; he was the most resistant one to being involved in the project, not because he didn’t like it but because he thinks he’s “not up to the job”. As I tried to tell him on many occasion; this was definitely not the case. Stuart is a competent rhythm guitarist and even played George Harrision in an early line up of my UK Beatles Tribute Band – The Beatalls (originally names ‘Twist and Shout’ at the time Stuart was involved). To overcome this resistance to be involved I had to be a bit cunning and needed to scheme a little!

The family were invited over to the house for dinner and unbeknown to Stuart I’d pre-set up a new acoustic guitar with recording microphones poised upon it, a seat and a set of headphones; the recording devices all set on pause with the backing to ‘On Top Of Old Smokey’ ready to go. I enticed Stuart into the studio (adjacent to the house) to see my new guitar and on picking it up to try it out I slipped the headphones over his head and pressed the record button. Stu merrily played along with the drums, bass and vocal that were coming out of the headphones and his playing along was stealthily captured onto the recording in one take by the mics! Got him! Stuart’s acoustic guitar track survives on the final mix and is there prominently driving the rock’n’roll forward. This recording has become very dear to my heart with its ‘family connections’. Enjoy, share and post.

On Top Of Old Smokey (Sample)

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Song 20 (2015, March 13): B-I-N-G-O (Bingo Was His Name-O)

Jamie TennantArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

J-A-M-I-E, and Jamie was his name-O!!! - May I introduce you to Jamie Tennant.

Jamie is a singer on The Nursery Rhyme Collection and has a great modern vocal style. He provides the main vocal on BINGO. ‘Bingo’ is the name of a farmers dog, the song is incredibly simple with the same lyric repeated verse after verse, however the difference with this track is that the name BINGO is spelt out letter by letter with each verse missing a letter; so BINGO, INGO, NGO…and so on. Instead of the missing letter there is just silence. It makes for a fun play on rhythm when singing along. The other fun element of the track are the dog samples, there are little snippets of dog noises throughout including the one of BINGO taking a drink at the end of the song.

I met Jamie when I took over the position of Director of Music at Linby cum Papplewick parish churches. Jamie was, and still is, a member of the wonderful four part choir we have there, called Laudamus where he is involved singing tenor. Jamie doesn’t read music but is extremely intuitive with his singing and goes to much effort to ensure he learns his parts thoroughly in order to help produce the high quality choral music we deliver. Jamie’s voice is very characterful and it actually sounds ‘fun’ hence his involvement with a fun nursery rhyme, he also has a great range – he can sing very high and very low. This is not the only track he sings on The Nursery Rhyme Collection; with other notable songs being The North Wind Doth Blow, the Paul Simon & Gracelands influenced Six Little Ducks and In and Out The Dusky Bluebells; the latter being a track on which he shares the vocals with Rebecca Leivers and a professional rapper called Duke 01. Our thanks go to Jamie for his contributions to our music.

B-I-N-G-O (Bingo Was His Name-O), Sample

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Song 19 (2015, March 06): Star Light, Star Bright

Rachel HodgeArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

This week’s free download is a wonderfully fresh new lullaby called Star Light, Star Bright. Now this melody was written by me and to be honest is one I am rather proud of. The original lyrics were available but with no tune so to enhance and lengthen to track for The Nursery Rhyme Collection a brand new melody was created. I particularly love this song because of its simple and pure arrangement and the fact that I managed to cram in one of my favourite chords into the last line of each verse - on the word ‘have the wish I WISH tonight’; no idea what the chord is but I love it.... The lullaby is a little story about those moments the parent leaves the child to sleep last thing in the evening, puts out the light and the child makes a bedtime wish as the stars peep through the window. A wonderfully ideological scene and of course for those of us that have or have had children it really is the ‘ideal’!

There was always one person on my mind to perform this vocal; it simply had to be Soprano Rachel Hodge. Now Rachel is talented and extremely capable Soprano who is lovely to work with in the studio. She just ‘gets it’,; I mean being able to understand the requirement just by listening to the track and then being able to hit the mark perfectly with her vocal delivery. She takes everything in her stride in the studio environment and is always very relaxed and calm; a real joy to work with in fact. Rachel’s voice is like star dust itself and is perfectly in pitch (tune) at all times with expression sprinkled in abundance; a testament to her training as a singer. Rachel sings at her local Baptist Church with her husband Martin Hodge who is the ‘musical genius’ of her church. I met Rachel via my two children as she was (and still is with my youngest boy at the time of writing) their primary school teacher!

Rachel also provided the vocals for our first Android and Apple app Singalong Cursive Handwriting Follow the link and you can discover her ‘teachers voice’ on this great app assisting children to learn joined up letters in a fun and musical way. Rachel sings on quite a few of our tracks on The Nursery Rhyme Collection but she particularly suits the Lullabies and Chill-out songs with her voice style. Our thanks go to Rachel for being involved with our project; we were truly honored to make use of her glorious tones and professional approach.

Star Light, Star Bright (Sample)

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Song 18 (2015, Feb. 27): Underneath The Spreading Chestnut Tree

Johnny SilverArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Free download of the week is Underneath The Spreading Chestnut Tree! It a very old song with a simple lyric that wasn’t really a children’s song, but someone had suggested recording it and it was on my ‘list of songs to do’, I thought no more about it and as each song got successively recorded and ticked off the list this one sat there yet stubbornly unrecorded. Right up until the first main overdub (additional recordings layered over the existing backing track).

The first main overdub in every of the four Nursery Rhyme Collection double albums was always where our main keyboardist and arranger Rick Benbow came over to Comfy Towers Studios in Nottingham for the weekend. Rick would add his parts pointing the music heavily in whichever direction each track would want to go. On the other main part of Ricks visit I’d say to him “well there’s this track that’s not been started yet or this title that I’ve got no idea what I want to do with” and Rick would suggest his views. Rick was rarely left stuck for a direction and suggested ‘Chestnut Tree’ as it had become known could be recorded ‘in the style of’ one of our favorite albums ‘Abbey Road’ by The Beatles. And that’s exactly what we did – attempted to fit the song (what little content there is of it) into what The Beatles would have done to it, without copying them of course. It is known as ‘in the style of’; you may remember British Comediennes French and Saunders doing sketches dressed as ABBA amogs other acts of the time, the song they sang was different, new chords, new drum beats and certainly with new and often hilarious lyrics; but somehow you knew exactly what they were mimicking. Well this is an example of what I mean when I say ‘in the style of’, right?

I had been lucky enough to have performed in a German based Beatles Tribute Band called The Silver Beatles with Mike Wilbury; my main supporter and partner on the nursery rhyme project so we knew pretty much how to get this sounding ‘Abbey Road-esque’. Silver Beatles drummer at the time with Mike and I was Peter Kalff who we have now met already through this forum but he was unavailable in the UK at the time, so when it came to recording drums for the track in typical McCartney style - I just did them myself. There were now Ringo-esque drums, McCartney-eque bass and vocals all recorded by me, Harrison-esque Guitar and vocal recorded by Mike and a splashing of real vintage L100 (Beatle model) Hammond organ – played by ehem…me again! All that was left to achieve was the Lennon-eque parts. Mike and I turned to our former band leader and brilliant Lennon impersonator who still leads the new line up of The Silver Beatles who continue to tour Germany. His name is Johnny Silver and neither of us had worked with him for some years. Amazingly Johnny was both available and up for having a go at the track (the one and only track he appears on out of the 277 recorded) but he would have to do it remotely – from Germany due to his touring commitments and we’d have to wait. This was great news and finally, through the magic of the internet, his recorded parts were delivered – just in time for the release and it completed the final track of recording of the current 277 to be recorded so far. Not only did Johnny supply the vocal but he also supplied a beautifully Lennon characterised Epiphone Casino picked guitar part complete with rotary speaker effect; quite haunting and simply perfect for ‘the vibe’. Mike put the icing on the cake with a luscious George martin-esque mix and the track was complete. Each vocal part had been recorded THREE separate times for each harmony – just had the Beatles had done throughout Abbey Road to get that thick and rich sounding vocal. We hope you agree that the outcome of these efforts have been worthwhile and that the spirit of The Beatles comes through with respect in our children’s track. What a lovely way for kids to get turned on to the wonderful sounds of the sixties! I wonder if you can spot which song from the album the song is based on…easy?

Underneath The Spreading Chestnut Tree (Sample)

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Song 17 (2015, Feb. 20): Star Sky Lullaby

Mike Wilbury Today we feature one of the key members of the Nursery Rhyme Collection team; Mike Wilbury. Mike is a longtime friend and musical partner of the Producer Ian Watts and has been critical in the production of all aspects of the Nursery Rhymes. Mike is a musician from Germany and Ian first met Mike in Liverpool (UK) during International Beatle Week, both musicians performing in their own respective Beatle Tribute acts at the time. Ian was approached by Mike to take part in a German Beatle Show called ‘Beatlemania’ with his band The Silver Beatles (which was led by fellow musician ‘Johnny Silver’ who features next week) to which Ian jumped at the chance. From there the two hit it off and started developing lots of projects together, some musical theatre, some recording projects. The Nursery Rhyme Collection was born as one of these projects. Mike not only performs guitar, vocals, keyboards, recorder, sitar, glockenspiel (to name but a few) on many of the tracks but also was the main mixing sound engineer – the person responsible for ensuring all sound levels are correct and work together. Mike also develops the artwork for the album based on original art from our artist Rachel Hudson. Finally Mike is an accomplished songwriter and has written a few tracks for the collection one of which is this week’s free download ‘Star Sky Lullaby’, sung by Ian with arrangement by Mike.

Star Sky Lullaby (Sample)

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Song 16 (2015, Feb. 13): Sing A Rainbow

Celine & IanArticle by Ian Watts, Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collections

Our feature artist of this week is my wife Celine Watts. She has of course dipped in and out of the recording sessions for the tracks over the period in which they were recorded. She was the inspiration to me for many of the tracks in the collection, having sung them to our own two children and she acted as an unofficial producer herself offering her opinions and directing my approach on the recordings as they were being auditioned. Celine is not strictly a ‘musician’; she doesn’t sing in band or a choir, she doesn’t play an instrument however she sang on quite a few of the recordings, be it a main vocal, a talking part or simply a backing vocal where needed as she has a perfect what I call ‘real voice’; the voice of a real mother with no technical training or experience but with real feeling and love.

Interestingly, Celine would have to be cajoled into recording, she would be doing her own thing around the house and I’d have to coax her to come across to the studio and get in front of a microphone. She’d often have just a few minutes spare for me but she’d finally come over, slip on the headphones and easily ‘hit the nail right on the head’ and produce exactly what I wanted (before I knew I wanted it) and extremely quickly (often far quicker than someone who knows what they’re doing in the recording studio environment)! A great example of all of this is Celine’s lead vocal on this week’s free download song ‘I Can Sing A Rainbow’; here we have a song she’d regularly sing to our sons to soothe them to sleep, here we have a vocal recording ‘take’ that took only moments to achieve and here we have a singing voice that has all the wonderful qualities of an honest and loving mother singing to her child: perfectly beautiful!

Celine also surprised me once more musically; one day when I returned from a recording session she informed me that shed “written a children’s song”. “Right!” I replied dismissively. Then her and the kids started singing My Big Heart with full lyrics and a melody, I immediately recorded her second run through on my phone and jumped on the piano to work out the melody and chords, the following week we recorded it with The Singalongasong Band, Celine added her vocal and the sessions produced a little cracker of a kids song teaching children about the parts of their bodies, fresh and joyful and created by my lovely wife! Thanks Celine for all your support through this massive recording project.

Sing A Rainbow (Sample)

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Song 15 (2015, Feb. 6): Frère Jacques / Brother John

Gary HolmesGary Holmes is a drummer who knows his rudiments! But most of all his drumming breathes that vintage Sixties feel. The little intro roll to our free MP3 of the week shows it all. If you are interested in this arrangement including the German lyrics (apart from the French and English verses), check out Bruder Jakob - Frère Jacques - Brother John

Gary is one of our two main drummers involved in all Nursery Rhyme Collections. He joined the project at day one and he is still going strong. Apart from his studio work he impersonates Beatle Ringo with the popular UK Beatles Tribute Band The Fab4. Thanks to Gary for adding that special Beat!

Frère Jacques / Brother John (Sample)

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Song 14 (2015, Jan. 30): Jelly On A Plate

Pete BradburyWibble Wobble, Wibble Wobble! Brilliant – love it - what a great track Jelly On A Plate has turned out to be. The track included Gary Holmes on Ludwig Drums (we shall meet Gary next week), Rebecca Leivers (our main singer who we’ve met already) on Fender bass guitar, Mike Wilbury on Fender Stratocaster Guitar (a future blog on Mike is sure to come), Ian Watts (the Producer) on upright piano with Pete Bradbury (our artist of this week) handling the feature vocal and speech parts. The track feel and style was constructed and built around the descending piano idea used in the introduction along with the hilarious drum part created by Gary. Pete is a longtime friend of the Producer of The Nursery Rhyme Collection and they have a long history working together on Pete’s original music, be it in live bands or just as studio projects. Therefore, Pete was an obvious choice for being involved in the recording of Children’s music and as an experienced songwriter he was asked by the Producer to compose a couple of original compositions for the project. Pete immediately stepped up to the challenge and wrote Goodnight, Goodnight, a fine ‘going to bed’ song included on The Nursery Rhyme Collection 1 and Sing, Sing, Sing (This Song Grows), an action packed song themed around children playing and learning to play instruments included on Nursery Rhyme Collction 3. We are extremely grateful to Pete and honoured to have these tracks showcased on our Nursery Rhyme Collection products!

Our free download of the week ‘Jelly on A Plate’ also includes two very special guest vocalists: the Producers own sons! Alistair Watts (at only 4 yo at time of recording) sings with Pete on the ‘noodles on a fork’ verse and with his brother Dominic Watts (6 yo at time of recording) on the final refrain. Both brothers seem to have a natural musical ability and are comfortable in the recording studio environment. They can also both be heard screaming the word “bang!” on the ‘sausages’ verse; believe me they took absolutely no encouragement here! It is a proud moment for us to have them feature as…well… ’musicians’, because these two lovely boys were, without a doubt, the main inspiration behind the whole Nursery Rhyme Collection concept. The boys have also vetted each recording whilst listening to early versions of the songs (I suppose they were ‘Executive Producers!) and telling us what they like and more importantly what they don’t like – for example, there was a screaming monkey noise on an early version of one of the tracks that massively scared them, so even though we liked it and thought it was funny, it had to go!

Jelly On A Plate (Sample)

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Song 13 (2015, Jan. 23): Peter Hammers

Trevor Dobson Mentioned in last weeks’ blog was saxophonist Trevor Dobson. Trevor has worked on quite a few of our Nursery Rhymes from Volume 3&4 onwards. Trevor is quite new to the saxophone as a player but has quickly crafted a good sound in his own ‘Trev’ style. The sessions with Trevor were always brilliant fun; working out what each track required, interpreting it to Trevor, making scribble on a page and then trying to achieve it. This often pushed Trevor to the limits of his ever increasing abilities in being challenged to meet the producers demands. The Producer firmly believes that the freshest performances, created in the studio without too much preparation, usually sound the best. Often Trevor surprised himself with the results and we are certainly extremely happy with what he could deliver under pressure. By now Trev is a ‘seasoned pro’ of course! The Peter Hammers saxophone part is not a particularly challenging part, however it certainly captures the right feel for the track with its relentless rhythm and three note hook line, download our free download of the week now to hear it. The vocalist on ‘Peter Hammers’ is Pete Bradbury who we will introduce next week. Trevor Dobson also plays saxophone on other notable tracks such as Mornington Ride, Manamana (The Muppet Song) and Cackle, Cackle Mother Goose to name just a few.

Peter Hammers (Sample)

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Song 12 (2015, Jan. 16): The Skeleton Dance

Tom WalsterSome of our guest musicians and singers contribute to only one or two songs, not for any negative reason of course but simply that it helps with the diversity of the songs (as discussed last week in our post about musician Dave Gregory). The featured artist for this week played bass guitar on two songs of Nursery Rhyme Collection 3 (Volumes 5&6) and also provided a joyful Lead Vocal on The Skeleton Dance. We introduce Tom Walster; Tom is mainly a brilliant and successful UK rally car driver in his ‘normal’ life, but we asked him to focus on his other passion of music and singing for a few hours to help us out! He gladly got involved and produced a great vocal (during a very good fun recording session) on this song capturing a delightful playfulness in the vocal on the song that is our free download of this week. Our version of the song ‘The Skeleton Dance’ is a none secular version of the original version called ‘Dem Bones’ which is an African/American spiritualist song influenced by the Old Testament (Ezekiel 37:1-14) – which we hope to record in its original form on a future release. On this song you also hear our other saxophonist (we are extremely lucky!) Trevor Dobson. Trevor will be our featured artist next week. Incidentally; Trevor and Tom perform together in Nottingham's cover band ‘The Gastric Band’ with Tim Vernon, Joanne Burgess (nee Vernon) and John Snowdon; musicians that all feature elsewhere on our Nursery Rhyme Collections and who will no doubt feature in future posts right here!

Skeleton Dance (Sample)

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Song 11 (2015, Jan. 9): In And Out The Dusty Bluebells

Dave GregorySo far in our posts you have mainly been introduced to musicians who were involved in the Nursery Rhymes project as a whole; over all or most volumes of The Nursery Rhyme Collections. However, an important aspect of our unique concept in children’s music is the wide diversity of different styles and genres directly influenced by the use of different musicians and artists from different musical backgrounds. This week we meet Dave Gregory on saxophone who is firmly a ‘jazz musician’; this is what he listens to, this is what he loves and this is what he plays! So, when we ask Dave to record his performance for our project it is of course naturally and heavily influenced by jazz; he may play a jazz run of notes (scale) or phrase in a certain way for example. Dave was introduced to the Nursery Rhyme project on Volumes 5-8 of the Nursery Rhyme Collections and brought his flowing performances to the mix on many of the tracks over those four CD’s. Today’s free download of the week is In And Out The Dusty Bluebells which is a song designed as a group dance for children. The children create a circle whilst a child picks a partner and they dance and weave in and out of the other children in the circle, they then swap over with a different partner and on it goes. Our version is sang by our main singer Rebecca Leivers (who we met last week) with singer Jamie Tennant and rapper Duke 01 (both of whom we will meet soon through this forum). Dave provides some great saxophone parts throughout this track and a couple of solo’s, these parts are heavily influenced by Dave’s jazz background with some typical jazz saxophone moves demonstrated in abundance and his parts weave in and out of the song as the children weave in and out of the circle. Dave plays Tenor, Alto and Soprano sax and uses all three to good effect over our collections. Notable wonderful performances on other tracks are his high Soprano Saxophone on Red Sky at Night, Shepherds Delight/Remember The Fifth of November and a lovely stylistic Pink Floyd type sax part on Manx Lullaby – check them out by clicking the links. Dave is also a regular drummer in a Baptist Church band adding to his influences and diversity!

In And Out The Dusty Bluebells (Sample)

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Song 10 (2015, Jan. 2): Hey Diddle Diddle

Rebecca LeiversAt last it's time to introduce our wonderful and brilliant main singer. Rebecca Leivers joined the nursery rhyme recording project right at the very beginning and she continued to be involved throughout all our Nursery Rhymes Collections. By pure luck Rebecca happened to be in the producers recording studio supplying backing vocals for the band she was in at the time Ian was just planning the nursery rhyme project. Ian the producer found her voice extremely interesting due to it’s quite low register and incredibly smooth characteristic and spotted it straight away even though Rebecca was only doing some minor backing vocals at the time. At the end of the session Ian made the request that she consider doing some singing on some nursery rhymes to which Rebecca (albeit somewhat surprised and bemused) agreed. It was absolutely clear to us on the very first day of vocal recording that this was the perfect move for the project as Rebecca delivered her first vocal on the Alphabet Song (ABCDEFG). She then went on to supply top class vocals for many of the songs over the span of the four collections. Rebecca is a very humble and ‘egoless’ singer and even now we think she is not fully aware of how critical her performances were to the success of the whole project, she had a knack of knowing what was required for each song and delivering it right on the nail. Just a couple of highlights of Rebecca’s work from many examples we could chose are Hush Little Baby and Bye Baby Bunting where the subtle attitude in the vocal delivery is simply astounding. Rebecca is not just a singer but also a bass player and her bass playing skills were also employed on some of the nursery rhymes in volumes 5 & 6. She plays live blues with her husband Jay Leivers, a great UK blues guitarist who we have previously introduced on this blog.

Our free song for this week is Hey Diddle Diddle. Last week you heard Mat Williams singing, now you can hear him playing the wonderful fiddle part on Hey Diddle Diddle, accompanying Rebecca’s beautiful vocal performance.

Hey Diddle Diddle (Sample)

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Song 9 (2014, Dec. 26): Oh Danny Boy

Mat WilliamsIf you saw our little Christmas feature on our Facebook page you already met singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mat Williams, who is our featured artist today. We chose his interpretation of the traditional song Oh Danny Boy (with Rick Benbow on Piano) as Free Download Of The Week. Mat is one of the musicians who performed on all Nursery Rhyme Collections recorded and released since 2009. He not only lay down some amazing vocal performances but he also did most of the fiddle, banjo and mandolin parts you can hear on our Nursery Rhyme albums. In 2011 Ian Watts and Mike Wilbury helped him recording his Folk album Full English.

Oh Danny Boy (Sample)

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Song 8 (2014, Dec. 19): Bananas in Pyjamas

Nick MillerLast week we were introduced to Nick Miller in the role of guitarist, now it's time to hear him singing. He sang fabulously on our medley version of ‘Bananas in Pyjamas’, sharing the Lead Vocals with Rebecca Leivers and Tim Vernon. That’s Nick singing the ‘Peter Piper’ and ‘Curly Locks’ parts of the medley, Tim sings the ‘Fee Fie Foe Fum’ part in the middle with Rebecca covering all of the Banana/Pyjama bits. The arrangement of this track was intended from the very beginning to sound like an American marching street band; all in a line and in white and red uniforms stomping up the streets in time with the music with a ‘baton twirler’ at the front on a sunny day…you know what I mean… right? Rick Benbow who we have met in previous posts interoperated these very specific production requirements with the orchestral parts and helped us in creating that particular exciting atmosphere and soundscape. There were lots of ‘real’ brass and reed players on this song including Dave Peck on the English Horn and along with three young brass playing brothers – Ryan, George and Lois Fayers playing the Euphonium, Trumpet and Cornet respectively. Also of mention on this medley are some tiny bits of saxophone who were played by another stunning musician Dave Gregory (who we will all meet very soon through this forum as he plays some amazing prominent saxophone on many other tracks on our releases), Dave cleverly intertwines Rick Benbows’ idea of a few other famous melodies about ‘bananas’ into Bananas In Pajamas – see if you can spot them. Download the song for free this week!

But enough of this detail - back to our feature artist for this week ‘Nick Miller’; Nick has been a good friend of Ian’s (The Producer) for many years and was one of the very first musicians to be involved with our Nursery Rhyme Collections. His first offering was a tremendous vocal interpretation of the middle part of The Teddy Bear's Picnic released back in 2009 and luckily for us he has always ensured that he performs on our Nursery Rhyme releases ever since. Check out his other wonderful vocal performances on tracks such as ‘Horsey Horsey Don’t You Stop’, ‘The Grand Old Duke Of York’ and ‘Three Little Monkeys Swinging In A Tree’. Thanks Nick! You can see him playing live with his own brilliantly successful tribute act: Ohasis, the only UK Oasis Tribute Band signed to a record label.

Bananas in Pyjamas (Sample)

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Song 7 (2014, Dec. 12): Georgie Porgie

Ian CunninghamHow many drummers does a band need? ‘About ten’ would be our answer counting up all drummers that have performed on one of our 277 Nursery Rhymes recordings! That said, there were two main drummers involved in this project, one of whom is Ian Cunningham, featured in our free Download of the Week ‘Georgie Porgie’. If this version reminds you of a 60’s band with 3 letters, (who could it possibly be..?), then please give your appreciation to Ian Cunningham WHO captured that particular style spot on. Ian is the drummer with The Kinx, along with his band mates Ian Watts, Mark Sansom and Chris White, who have been introduced in earlier posts (scroll down to check out their stories).

Another essential element required in capturing ‘that sound’ is the rather massive sounding guitar intro which was performed by Nick Miller. You will meet Nick next week in his role as vocalist, so hold the line!

Georgie Porgie (Sample)

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Song 6 (2014, Dec. 5): Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Ian and MikeOur free Song of this week is Mary Mary Quite Contrary. The recording of this traditional nursery rhyme was arranged by Ian Watts in a beautifully ‘Beatlesque’ style, featuring Mike Wilbury on guitar, Ian on Piano and both together on backing vocals supporting the wonderful vocal of Rebecca Leivers. See a video of both performing Live with the Silver Beatles and read the full story about the connection between our Nursery Rhymes recordings and a very famous group from Liverpool!

Mary Mary Quite Contrary (Sample)

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Song 5 (2014, Nov. 28): There Was A Little Girl Who Had A Little Curl

Jamie LeiversHis wife Rebecca is the Lead singer on most of our Nursery Rhymes recordings. Jay Leivers is a fantastic Blues guitarist who played on a couple of tunes of our Nursery Rhymes Collections (check out this song to hear an example of his unique guitar style: Swing Low Sweet Chariot) Our groovy song of the week features Jay on guitar (of course!) and Lead vocals. Enjoy!

There Was A Little Girl Who Had A Little Curl (Sample)

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Song 4 (2014, Nov. 21) Little Boy Blue

Peter KalffLast week’s featured song was ‘Hush Little Baby’ and you may have noticed the beautiful horn part in this recording. This solo was played by Peter Kalff who will be this week’s featured artist. He played many of the horn and trumpet parts throughout all of the Nursery Rhymes Collections. Our free Download of the week is yet a further example of his tasteful trumpet playing: Little Boy Blue. A funny little detail; In real life, Peter is not a classical trumpet player but a professional Rock drummer, his main band is currently Europe’s leading Whitesnake Tribute Band! Peter had been touring as a drummer with Ian Watts and Mike Wilbury for several years, back in their “Beatles Tribute Days“ with the German Beatles Show The Silver Beatles. Peter was always fabulous company during those tours with his continuous wit, animal noises (of which some make their way onto various other nursery rhyme recordings not named here today) and impressive drumming and he would, even then, never miss an opportunity to break from Ringo style and drop into heavy metal drumming… but only during sound checks!

Little Boy Blue (Sample)

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Song 3 (2014, Nov. 14): Hush Little Baby

Mark SansomLast week we talked about Britain’s No. 1 Kinks Tribute Band The Kinx and we introduced their singer and guitarist Chris White. This week’s featured artist is Mark Sansom, who also plays in the Kinx as Dave Davies and is an experienced and versatile musician. Mark contributed some unique guitar work to quite a few songs across all of our Nursery Rhymes Collections. The song of the week this week is “Hush Little Baby“. Check out our Facebook page for an Interview with Mark about his involvement in the recordings or read the full story told by himself: Mark Sansom about recording Hush Little Baby (Scroll down to "Meet The Musicians", click on "Mark Sansom"). The beautiful Lead vocals were again sung by Rebecca Leivers, the horn part was played by Peter Kalff, who is going to be our featured artist next Friday, you don’t want to miss it!

Hush Little Baby (Sample)

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Song 2 (2014, Nov. 7): There's A Hole In My Bucket

Last week we met Rick Benbow; the musical arranger genius behind many of the tracks on our Nursery Rhyme Collections. This week we focus on Chris White. Chris became a ‘nursery rhyme legend’ to many of the Nursery Rhyme Collection customers due to his stunning interpretation of the infamous farmer; Old MacDonald as feedback on the song testifies. The recording of his Old MacDonald vocal literally had the Sound Engineer in stitches. In real life Chris is an retired Mathematics School Teacher and the Ray Davies (Lead vocalist and guitarist) in Britain’s No. 1 Kinks Tribute Band: The Kinx.

Chris White A couple of other key people involved in the creation of all Nursery Rhymes Collection products also perform in ‘The Kinx’ with Chris: Ian Watts, Producer (singer and general player of all things musical, in the background of the picture) and Ian Cunningham, one of the two main drummers on the Nursery Rhymes CDs. The fourth member of The Kinx, playing Dave Davies, is Mark Sansom; an egoless lead guitarist (and singer) who keeps amazing us with stunning guest performances on all our Collections particularly with his lovely guitar work on one of our two versions of ‘Hush Little Baby’. The Kinx play regularly around the UK entertaining audiences with the music of 60’s legends; ‘The Kinks’, featuring all time classics such as Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, You Really Got Me and of course; Lola. The Kinx (as a whole band) also feature on one or two other tracks in the collections, namely One, Two, Buckle My Shoe and Wee Willie Winkie/Jack Be Nimble both of which are interestingly performed and presented ‘in the style of’ The Kinks.

Our Song of the Week is ‘There’s A Hole In My Bucket’; an hilarious duet between Chris White and our lovely Singalongasong Band main singer Rebecca Leivers. This Nursery Rhyme has just got to show up as one of the kids’ all-time favorites! It is also a particular favourite amongst some of the other musicians involved in the products. The performance is somewhat special due to the amusing interaction between the two characters in the song; Henry, with his increasing stupidity (sung by Chris) gradually frustrates and infuriates the more ‘intellectual’ Liza (sung by Rebecca). The song finally comes full circle however with Henry having the ‘last laugh’.

There's A Hole In My Bucket (Sample)

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Song 1 (2014, Oct. 31): Thirty Days Hath September

Our first Song of the Week features the brilliance of Rick Benbow. Rick is not only an incredible keyboardist but also a top class arranger for both popular and classical music. Rick Benbow Rick created nearly all of the orchestral arrangements on all Nursery Rhymes Collections released from 2009 onwards. He was also engaged as the string section arranger for Status Quo's new album "AQUOSTIC - Stripped bare" (The best selling CD on Amazon.co.uk this very week). Our featured song showcases another facette of Rick's varied career: he has been touring for many years with three of the finest Pink Floyd Tribute Shows: Think Floyd, Spirit Of Floyd and Brit Floyd. Rick helped create the Pink Floyd feel of our featured track using similar sounds and arrangement style. Rick’s former band mate in Think Floyd was drummer Steve Farmer who drummed and sang backing vocals (along with Ian Watts who sang the lead vocal) on this week's featured track to further enhance the Floyd feel, the spoken parts were performed by Rick himself and the immense Gilmoresque guitar solo was performed by Jamie Leivers; the husband of regular Singalongasong lead vocalist Rebecca. We had loads of fun recording this track and enjoyed creating the familiar 30 Days Hath September rhyme 'in the style of' a favourite band of ours.

Thirty Days Hath September - Tinker Taylor (Sound Sample)

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