HFVS Guest DJ, Dean Jones Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:

Dean Jones Guest DJ
from Dog on Fleas

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 14th & 15th, 2012
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: From the new Dog on Fleas CD, Invisible Friends, here is a wacky video by Wayne Montecalvo. No sock puppets were injured in the making of this video! – www.dogonfleas.com

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  • Dog on Fleas – There’s a Band in My Head (Invisible Friends)
  • Alash – Yrlaazhyyly (Buura)
  • Tom Ze – Um “oh” e um “ah” (The Best of)
  • Trouble Funk – Let’s Get Small (E Flat Boogie)
  • Regina Spektor – On the Radio (Begin to Hope)
  • For Sale by Owner Orchestra – Pump Flutes
  • Laura Veirs – Little Black Rock (Science Fair)
  • Clarence “Frogman” Henry – Ain’t Got No Home (The Cosimo Matassa Story)
  • Story Laurie – Bathtub Waltz (Groovin’ in the Garden)
  • Lord Intruder-  Zombie Jamboree (Muriel’s Treasure)
  • Dog on Fleas- Invisible Friends (Invisible Friends)
  • Laurie Anderson –Sharkey’s Day (Mr Heartbreak)
  • Woody Phillips – Spinning Song (Toolbox Classics)
  • Dog on Fleas- Charm them Birdies (Invisible Friends)
  • Small Faces – What Cha Gonna Do About it? (Small Faces)
  • Elska – Arctic Fox (Middle of Nowhere)
  • Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa (The Very Best of)
  • Dre Towey – Three Little Fishies (Chester Releashed)
  • Uncle Rock – Secret Spaceman (The Big Picture)

Locally Produced Family CD to Benefit Haiti

Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti
Locally Produced by Spare the Rock Records

Hilltown Families friends Bill Childs and Dean Jones have joined forces to produce "Many Hands," a locally produced CD of family music to benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project. This forthcoming CD will feature new music from Dan Zanes, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Mitchell, They Might Be Giants and many more. National release date: Aug. 10th, 2010.

With a national release on August 10th, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti is the first release from Spare the Rock Records, based out of Western MA.  This unique collection of songs is filled with uplifting messages from some of today’s very best family musicians.

After the January 12th, 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital, family musician Dean Jones (Dog on Fleas) found himself feeling helpless and desperately wanting to help the people of Haiti. Having close friends in Haiti and feeling a deep love and respect for the music from the region, Jones felt the need to create something that could help the ongoing rebuilding effort.

The idea for Many Hands came to him in the middle of the night and the very next day several of his fellow family musicians signed on. “When I had the idea for the ‘Many Hands’ CD, I knew without a doubt that I could count on the big-hearted kindie community.” said Jones. “The generosity and the amazing work of all the musicians and everyone involved definitely exceeded my initial expectations.”

Almost all of the tracks on the album are previously unreleased, most of them recorded especially for this release. The gathering of artists featured here is a strong assortment of the unique and special talents creating and performing for today’s all ages audiences, from the legendary Pete Seeger to family hip-hop star Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. In addition, everyone involved in the process of getting this album out into the world from replication to distribution has also either drastically discounted or donated their services. Proceeds from this release will benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project and their long-standing work to help the people of Haiti.

Many Hands will be released as the debut album of Spare the Rock Records founded by kindie rock connoisseur Bill Childs. “After speaking with Dean it was immediately obvious to me that this would be a great record, and, just as importantly, that it would have the potential to help keep people’s attention on the ongoing recovery of Haiti,” recalls Childs on how the partnership came to fruition. “Dean asked for some help reaching out to a few artists, and that just naturally flowed into my helping the record get a wider release; ultimately, that meant starting a label.” Childs produces, with his kids, the weekly radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child which airs every Saturday on 103.3FM Valley Free Radio from 7-9am, and 93.9FM The River from 8-10am. Bill also writes about kids’ music for Hilltown Families and various parenting magazines,  has produced numerous kids’ concerts and is the co founder of KindieFest, the family music conference.

Musicians include on the CD include: Dan Zanes, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Mitchell, They Might be Giants, Gustafer YellowgoldCaspar Babypants, Frances England, Dog on Fleas, Lunch Money, Baby Gramps, Recess Monkey, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Jonathan Coulton, Uncle Rock, Grenadilla, Dean Jones, Emily Curtis, Randy Kaplan, and Jerrice Baptiste. – CD release shows are planned on both coasts, with details available at ManyHandsCD.com.

HFVS Weekly Music Giveaway: Dog on Fleas

Dog On Fleas: Cranberry Sauce Flotilla, When I Get Little & Napper’s Delight


Dog on Fleas were in town recently and stopped by the studio for a guest DJ appearance. Tune in this Saturday (06/14/08)* to 103.3FM (Northampton) from 9-10am to hear Dean, John & my daughter (HFVS co-host) playing some crazy fun music, singing and having a good ole time. If you can’t get the signal, check back here for our archive show. *(Due to tech difficulties this show will air on June 21st.)

Dean generously left a mess of CD’s behind for our music giveaway. So we’re RICH in music this week to give to our loyal and new readers/listeners. Our collection includes:

  • Cranberry Sauce Flotilla (School Library Journa’ls #1 pick for “12 Kid’s Albums You Can’t Live Without!)
  • Napper’s Delight (Dean Jones’ solo album and featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” Best of 2007)
  • When I Get Little (a couple of copies will be available)


Your chance to win free music is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE). We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their name and town/state) and contact the winner via email, so be sure to leave an

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is 06/18/08 @ 7pm (EST).  We’re extending our deadline to June 25th due to the tech difficulties mentioned above.


on winning last weeks contest. She will receive two CD’s from the Swingset Mama’s and a limited edition HFVS T-shirt (adult sized).

Be Really Good at What You Do

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Banner

Be Really Good at What You Do

What makes a CD work?

(The smarty-pants [smarty-panteses?] among you are already launching into a detailed discussion of microgrooves and laser technology. I don’t mean “work” like that, doofuses.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about that question lately, not just in the kids’ music genre but more generally. And I’ve realized that the key for me is for an artist to do what they do well. That’s why, more often than not, publicity material bragging about how a CD includes “everything from rock to hip hop to smooth jazz to klezmer music to dissonant modern classical” (note: not an actual quote) is a warning sign, not a positive. Sure, some bands can pull it off, but most of the time, that “jack of all trades, master of none” cliché turns out to be based in truth. So this month, let’s take a look at some records where the artists aren’t trying to be more than what they are, and it works.

Barenaked Ladies, Snacktime

With their frequent jokiness, it might come as a surprise that Barenaked Ladies haven’t previously come out with a record for the kids – especially since, as they point out, the bandmembers are now outnumbered by their kids (more than doubled!). But Snacktime is in fact their first full-length release for the whole family. Happily, they haven’t dumbed down their often-overlooked songwriting skills for their jump into the kids’ music pool. Instead, they’ve retained the infectious poppy tunes, clever lyrics, and occasionally surprising insights (consider the sweet “Things” lyrics: “There are things that make me mad, but you are not one of them/There are things that make me sad, but you are not one of them/There are things that make me Dad, you seem to be all of them.”). What you’ll mostly love, though, are the hilarity on songs like “Crazy ABCs,” with non-traditional words for each of the songs – i.e., “A is for Aisle,” “P is for Pneumonia,” and the like. Reunited with Michael Phillip Wojewoda, who produced BNL’s early Gordon release, Snacktime is exactly what you’d want a BNL kids’ CD to be like. www.bnlmusic.com

Daddy A Go Go, Rock of All Ages

Athens, Georgia-based John Boydston has been making straight-up guitar rock for families for going on a decade now, and his kids – quite young when he started – are now part of the band, playing on a number of the tracks here. There’s no mystery here, but sometimes you just want to rock out, and the Boydston clan provide a great soundtrack for doing so – even including a blistering cover of “What a Wonderful World.” www.daddyagogo.com

Dean Jones, Napper’s Delight

Jones, of the terrific Hudson Valley family band Dog on Fleas, has done more than come up with a great album title (referencing, of course, the groundbreaking “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill gang). Jones, while certainly putting together what could be considered a lullaby CD, hasn’t taken the easy way by just recording a bunch of quiet songs with acoustic guitars. It’s just as creative as any of his regular band’s work, but just happens to be mostly a bit mellower. It’s not a release that instantly grabs you, but if you get it, I bet you’ll pull it out pretty regularly – especially if you’re stuck in traffic with snarly kids. www.dogonfleas.com, www.cdbaby.com/deanjones.

Melissa Errico, Lullabies & Wildflowers

Tony-nominee Melissa Errico (for best actress in Amour) and frequent performer on Broadway, on TV, and in feature films, had a baby a couple of years ago. As with so many performers, the experience of becoming a parent – late nights, singing, and so on – triggered a record. But most performers don’t have the incredible voice of Errico. Listening to Lullabies & Wildflowers, you’re not remotely surprised to hear that she’s been successful on Broadway – it’s that kind of voice, pure, clear, and engaging. Unsurprisingly, the record is gentle and soothing. Even the slightly more up-tempo songs (the Gershwins’ “Someone to Watch Over Me” or Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers,” for example) will trigger at most gentle head-bobbing, not head-banging. The production is polished to a fine sheen, as you’d expect with her background and style of singing. That production approach occasionally makes some of the songs feel almost distant, which isn’t ideal for lullabies, and isn’t my cup of tea – but overall, that’s nitpicking. If you’re looking for a way to slow down at the end of the day, this will work wonders. www.melissaerrico.com

Bill Childs & Ella

Bill Childs

Bill teaches law school by day in Springfield. With his kids, he produces a radio show for kids, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, which airs on Saturday mornings on 93.9 The River (7-9 AM, 101.5 in Brattleboro) and 103.3 Valley Free Radio (8-10 AM). He’s also a columnist for regional parenting magazines, covers music for Parenting magazine, and is a bi-monthly contributing writer to Hilltown Families.

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