Down the Do-Re-Mi
However you feel about John Denver’s heartfelt tenor, you must admit he would have made a great children’s entertainer. The proof is Red Grammer, a 37-year-old country boy from New Jersey. Grammer sounds exactly like Denver and sings exclusively to children, and he’s wonderful.
Sweet, not saccharine, and countrified without being corn pone, Grammer is a natural. Nothing about Down the Do-Re-Mi, his third album, is at all forced or condescending. It’s good material, professionally presented.
Do-Re-Mi has eight good songs and five excellent ones. Grammer and his wife, Kathy, wrote the good songs. They include a ballad about the early-morning patter of tiny feet (not an activity that a tired parent will cherish, but pleasant) and cover topics from world peace to the contents of a barnyard.
The Grammer’s best original song, ”The ABC’s of You,” has a Denveresque opening (”If I wrote down all of my feelings for you/I’d probably fill up an ocean or two”); the rest is alphabetized cleverness: ”I think you’re…A gift, a gem, and genuinely generous,/Honest, high-grade, impressive, interesting…” And so on, from A to Z. A great idea.
Down the Do-Re-Mi also includes four excellent interpretations of traditional tunes: the lovely dirge ”Grandfather’s Clock,” the rollicking ”(All God’s Critters Got a) Place in the Choir.” the laundry-list tune ”Rattling Bog,” and — this old Girl Scout’s favorite — ”Land of the Silver Birch.” You know it: minor key, Japanese simplicity. ”Where the mighty moose wanders at will,” etc. ”Silver Birch,” perfectly represents a fourth grader’s image of Native Americans. Close your eyes and dream of teepees. A