Raffi’s New Record Will Be Every Family’s Best Musical Friend

Courtesy: Rounder Records/Shoreline Records

Veteran family entertainer Raffi is one of the hardest working (and most respected) figures in the realm of family music.  Having more than four decades of experience under his belt and a number of family friendly albums, awards related to said albums and so many other honors, one would think that somewhere along the way, he would take a break.  Apparently he doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase, as he will release his next full-length family music album Dog on The Floor this Friday.  It will come a little more than a year after he released his “hits” collection The Best of Raffi (February 10, 2017).  This 15-song, 33-minute record is everything that audiences and families have come to expect from him, as is evidenced in the variety of its musical arrangements.  The equally diverse nature of the lyrical themes is just as familiar and welcome here.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element plays its own part in making Dog on the Floor another fun family record from Raffi.  All things considered, they make the album another surefire addition to any critic’s list of the year’s top new family music albums.

Raffi officially returns this Friday with his latest full-length studio recording, Dog on the Floor.  His 30th full-length studio recording and at least his 21st family music release, this record is everything that audiences of all ages have come to love and expect from his works, beginning with the variety in its musical arrangements.  From start to end, the album never sticks to just one genre throughout the album.  From the folk styling of the album’s opener, ‘The Way it Goes’ to the light, bluesy vibe of ‘Walkin’ My Dog’ to the light, semi-jazzy vibe of ‘Rainbow’ to the surprising reggae vibe of the album’s finale, ‘It Takes A Village’ and beyond, listeners get more than enough variety in the album’s musical arrangements.  The genres covered in the noted songs are but a sampling of the musical reach of this record.  ‘Fiddle Dance,’ which comes roughly halfway through the album’s run, boasts a bluegrass feel that listeners of all ages will appreciate.  There’s even a gentle, flowing cover of The Beatles’ ‘Here Comes The Sun’ whose folk styling here is most certain to appeal to older audiences just as much – if not more than – their younger counterparts included in the album’s whole.  Americana fans even get a tribute of their own in the upbeat ‘Love Grows Love.’  When this and the other songs noted here are considered alongside all the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album’s musical presentation is such that it gives the whole family more than enough to appreciate.  It is just one part of what makes this latest offering from Raffi another solid work.  The variety in the album’s lyrical themes adds just as much interest to the record as the variety in its musical arrangements.

Just as the record’s musical arrangements vary from start to finish, and in turn offer plenty of interest, so do the record’s lyrical themes.  The album’s opener ‘The Way it Goes,’ for instance is just a straight forward, self-explanatory piece that explains that things are the way they are because that’s just the way they are (or rather they it goes).  ‘Luna’s Song,’ the album’s second track, is a song about Raffi’s dog.  Talk about a quick change of lyrical pace.  ‘Play Play Play,’ the record’s third song, is another straight forward, sung from the vantage point of a child show just wants “to play all day long.”  The variety doesn’t stop with this trio of songs.  Rather, it continues on throughout the record of the record’s nearly 34-minute run with the album’s fourth entry, an old-school Country Western style piece that goes by the name of ‘Listen To The Horses,’ continuing the variety.  Raffi’s own take on the traditional song ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ keeps that variety moving as the album makes its way closer to its midpoint.  It certainly doesn’t end there, either.  From a simple song about Raffi walking his dog — that also jokingly asks is he walking the dog or is the dog walking him? – in ‘Walkin’ My Dog’ to the tribute to America’s Farmers’ Markets in ‘Market Day’ to the upbeat, optimistic message of spreading love worldwide in ‘Love Grows Love’ to the reminder that one person alone can’t raise a child in the album’s closer, ‘It Takes A Village’ and more, the album’s lyrical variety gives listeners just as much to appreciate here as the variety in its musical arrangements.  When the variety of the two elements are considered jointly, they give even more reason for audiences to appreciate and enjoy Dog on the Floor.  Now, keeping this in mind, that collective variety is still not all that makes Dog on the Floor another standout effort from Raffi.  The record’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation.

Whereas the musical and lyrical content varies randomly throughout the course of Dog on the Floor, the variety in its sequencing is far more planned out.  This is evidenced clearly throughout the record’s first half.  Tracks 1 – 3 vary stylistically as much as is possible, yet in regards to their energies and tempos, all three are very much the same.  ‘Listen to the Horses,’ the record’s fourth song is far more reserved in its energy and tempo thanks to its country western style arrangement.  As the record proceeds from that point, so does its energy, rebuilding again right up to the record’s midpoint.  The album’s second half sees its energy remain relatively stable right to the end with perhaps the album’s finale being the only exception to that rule.  It takes listeners out on a gentle, reggae ride out that is so laid back.  What’s interesting is that even with the song’s style presenting a laid back energy, its tempo is still on par with the rest of the songs that make up the remainder of the album’s second half.  Again, this shows so much thought and obvious direct planning.  That planning ensures from start to end, a record whose energies will certainly keep listeners engaged and by connection, whose arrangements will maintain listeners’ entertainment just as much as their engagement.  Keeping this in mind alongside the impact of the said arrangements and the lyrical themes, the whole of Dog on the Floor becomes more proof of why Raffi remains today among the elite in the family music realm.

Raffi’s soon to be released new family music album Dog on the Floor is a quick turnaround for the veteran family entertainer. Even despite it coming along only a little more than a year after the release of The Best of Raffi, this 33-minute, 15-song album doesn’t feel the least bit rushed.  Rather, it feels wholly focused, and in turn fully entertaining for the whole family.  This is evidenced through the variety in the record’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes.  That variety more than certainly keeps listeners of all ages entertained and engaged.  The direct thought and focus in the record’s sequencing does just as much to keep listeners engaged and entertained, the thought put into the album’s musical and lyrical variety.  That is especially the case considering the directed path that the sequencing takes in the record, unlike its musical and lyrical content.  That contrast actually makes the album that much more interesting.  In turn, it (again) does so much to keep listeners of all ages engaged and entertained throughout.  Keeping that in mind, the record in whole proves to be another solid offering from Raffi that also serves to show why he remains today one of the elite names in the world of family music.  It will be available this Friday in stores and online.  More information on Dog on the Floor is available online now along with all of his latest news and more at:




Website: http://www.raffinews.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Raffi.Cavoukian

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Raffi_RC




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Parents, Children Alike Will Love “Love Bug”

Courtesy:  Rounder Records

Courtesy: Rounder Records/Shoreline Records

Veteran children’s entertainer Raffi has been one of the most well-known and respected artists within both his genre and the music industry in whole for near four decades. He has of course also been the butt of some jokes here and there. The reason for both of these scenarios is actually a good one. The reason in question is that throughout the course of his career, Raffi (whose real name is Raffi Cavoukian) has constantly re-invented his sound on every one of his records. His latest release Love Bug is no exception to that rule. Love Bug presents a decidedly country/folk sound throughout the course of its sixteen songs. Though later in the album’s run, Raffi also includes a fun little reggae style piece in ‘Cool Down Reggae’ and a somewhat gospel-tinged piece in the album’s bonus closer ‘Turn This World Around.’ This is an especially enjoyable piece because a close listen reveals a comparison to Peter Gabriel’s anti-apartheid song ‘Biko.’ Given, the stylistic and lyrical similarities might not have been entirely intentional. But they are there. And they are welcome, too. They make the song one of the album’s best pieces if not the best of the album’s available selections. Along with the likes of ‘Cool Down Reggae,’ the short but still fun instrumental Pete’s Banjo,’ and the album’s other songs not noted here, this record proves once again why Raffi is still one of the music industry’s most respected artists to this day.

Raffi has remained one of the top names in both children’s music and the music industry in whole for nearly four decades. The reason being that he has constantly re-invented his sound on every one of his new studio releases. Love Bug, his latest full-length studio effort, is no exception to that rule. The album is dominated largely by a country/folk sound. While that country/folk sound is the album’s most prominent sound, he also branches out some and includes a reggae piece in the aptly titled ‘Cool Down Reggae.’ This piece is a complete change of pace from the rest of the songs that make up the body of Love Bug. This song will have parents and children alike relaxing and jamming along as Raffi sings, “In the rhythm of the jangily day/Time for enjoyment/In the sway of the come and go/So nice to take it slow/With the cool down reggae/Slow down reggae/ Cool down reggae/Slow down reggae.” Even without the steel drums, this song still works and is a welcome change of pace from the rest of the album’s songs. It definitely makes for one of the highest of points on this record. Another of those high points comes in the album’s gospel-tinged closer ‘Turn This World Around.

‘Turn This World Around’ is considered a bonus addition to Love Bug. This means that for all intents and purposes that it is not technically the album’s closer. Regardless of which side one takes on that issue, everyone can agree that it stands out more than any other song included as part of the album’s whole. A close listen to this song reveals a close stylistic similarity to Peter Gabriel’s famed anti-apartheid anthem ‘Biko’ both musically and lyrically. ‘Biko’ is about black anti-apartheid leader Stephen Biko. Biko rose to fame as the head of the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1960s and ‘70s. ‘Turn This World Around’ on the other hand, is not about a specific individual but rather the world needing to make social change for the next generation. While ‘Turn This World Around’ isn’t as anthemic as ‘Biko’ lyrically speaking, it still very much maintains that same social sensibility within its lyrical content. That is noted as Raffi sings, “Honoring the children is what we’re here to do/Now is the hour/And we’ve got the power/To turn, turn, turn/Turn this world around/For the children/Turn this world around.” When he wrote ‘Biko,’ Gabriel had very much the same mindset. He wrote about ending apartheid for the sake of the present and the future. Raffi’s song is broader. But it also discusses making sweeping social changes for the present and future, too. Such a powerful social message coupled with an equally enjoyable musical backing easily makes this song the best moment by far from Love Bug.

‘Turn This World Around’ is the most memorable of moments off of Love Bug. Its mix of social consciousness and equally enjoyable music a la Peter Gabriel is to thank for that. Just as enjoyable for audiences is the laid back sound and vibe of ‘Cool Down Reggae.’ As enjoyable as both sounds are collectively, one would be remiss to omit the obvious country/folk sound that largely dominates this record. And one of the best of those country/folk songs featured in this record is the instrumental ‘Pete’s Banjo.’ This song boasts a fun, old school Appalachian style sound that will have children and their parents dancing together with its simple banjo picking and fiddle playing. It conjures thoughts of an old mountain country store where people would gather to talk and sometimes even dance. And even at only two minutes and fourteen seconds long, it is no less enjoyable. If anything, it makes a person yearn for even more of that old mountain sound. There is a little bit more of said sound peppered throughout the record, too. Audiences will hear it for themselves when they pick up this album for themselves or order it online. They will hear that and much more for that matter. In hearing the album in whole, audiences will understand for themselves why after so many decades, Raffi remains more than deserving of being called one of the best in his genre and in the industry in whole.

Love Bug is available in stores and online now. Raffi already has a pair of live dates scheduled for the new year where audiences will get to hear the songs from Love Bug and from Raffi’s rich body of work. He will perform live in Seattle, WA on January 31st at 1pm and in Portland on February 1st.  He has two performance times on that date.  He is scheduled to perform at 1pm and 4pm on that day. Parents can find out when his next live dates are and keep up with all of his latest updates online now at:

Website: http://www.childhonouring.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Raffi.Cavoukian

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.