Baby ShowerOur daughter Suzanne has a baby due in January, and this past weekend my wife Cathy put on a baby shower for her.  Suzanne’s mother-in law was in town from Idaho and the Holidays are coming, so this seemed the best time.  It was a gathering of girls, so my participation was in picking up things like the cake and veggie platter, helping set up, helping clean up, and putting together the music for the party.  I call this the “ultimate” playlist because it is the final one I stuck with after several tries.  One last thing I should add before showing the list is that when a grandparent chooses the music, a lot of the songs are from the “good old days.”  Here is what I chose – with input from Cathy, of course.

Update:  Ryder, for whom this list was prepared, is 15 months old (as I post this) and now we learn that he will have a new baby brother or sister in October.  That means we will soon need to come up with a new baby shower play list.  If you have any suggestions, please pass them on in the comments – they are most welcome.  More than 200 people come to this page each week, and your suggestions may also be helpful to some of them.

1.  “Obladi Oblada” by the Beatles.  I have been asked how this fits into a baby shower.  It is because birth is the most obvious way in which “life goes on.” They also sing about “a couple of kids playing in the yard.” [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJhcGepfG04]

2.  “Riders on the Storm” by the Doors.  The parents’ first choice for the baby’s name is currently Ryder James.  Here a “Rider” is born into this life and torn into this world.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qRJIBtbc2c

3.  “Sweet Baby James by James Taylor.  The middle name of James; and the rest is obvious.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaySP-L4OOk (This link plays the entire album, but “Sweet Baby James is the first song.)]

4.  “Pretty Baby” by Al Jolson.  I told you that there would be some oldies on the list.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Owe1whGytQ]

5.  “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby” by Eddie Cantor.  Another oldie.  These last two are simply fun to listen to every now and then.  [Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxVy2YtT7xU

6.  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.  It would be nice to include Brudda Iz on almost any playlist.  This was the song for the bride-father of the bride and groom-mother of the groom dance at Suzanne’s wedding.  It tells of babies crying and watching them grow.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z26BvHOD_sg]

7.  “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills and Nash.  A nice song.  Suzanne is a teacher.  It all fits.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkaKwXddT_I]

8.  “We’re Going To Be Friends” by Jack Johnson.  This is a little more modern.  The song is from “Curious George.”  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLrmDU5yeMA]

9.  “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens.  Before he became Yusuf Islam, Cat Stevens did some nice melodies.  This one makes you think if you listen to the lyrics.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kea0ghm7Z4E&feature=kp]

10.  “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes.  Since the baby shower is a party, Motown and Phil Spector fit right in.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzhbGaCwBzs&feature=kp]

11.  “Baby Love” by the Supremes.  This keeps the groove going.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAWSiWtUK2s]

12.  “Ooh Child” by the Five Stairsteps and Cubby.  More of the same – though technically Buddha and not Motown.  Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmDakhg45rk]

13.  “Stay Up Late” by Talking Heads.  How many nights have babies kept the rest of us up all night?  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmDakhg45rk]

14.  “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  This is another one for which the reasons for its inclusion are pretty obvious.  [Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvwQmxLaknc]

15.  “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney.  New life is an amazing thing to happen.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzNVx-Fl4_4]

16.  “Littlest Birds” by Be Good Tanyas.  Another song that is actually from the 21st Century, though it sounds older.  The chorus about “the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs” is quite catchy.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdIhpkEkC4c&feature=kp]

17.  “Danny’s Song/House at Pooh Corners” by Loggins and Messina.  These were combined into one track on a live album.  It might be better to do them as separate songs to get all the verses of each.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xY3TKQ_fKc]

18.  “Puff (the Magic Dragon)” by Peter, Paul and Mary.  One of the best children’s songs.  Peter Yarrow says it is not about marijuana, and I believe him.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC2tlNmz4ao&feature=kp]

19.  “A Little Brand New Baby” by Pete Seeger.  A Tom Paxton song lasting less than 1-1/2 minutes.  Seeger recorded it at a concert back in 1963, but it wasn’t released on record until 1989.  It’s still not vey new, is it?  [Listen here:  https://myspace.com/peteseeger/music/song/a-little-brand-new-baby-28600750-28453722]

20.  “Little Boy in Corduroy” by Donovan.  I think this will be Ryder James in a few years.  “How many wishes can you wish in a day?”  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTWgjjaojXE&feature=kp]

21.  “Mockingbird” by James Taylor and Carly Simon.  This version doesn’t say “Mama’s gonna buy,” which is unfortunate.  However, our son Michael loved this song when he was very young.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WM_R-6AKHE&feature=kp]

22.  “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Sheryl Crow.  “Mockingbird” raised the tempo a little.  This keeps it going.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmqK0aXkHho (this is a link to the Guns ‘N Roses version, which is probably better than Sheryl Crow’s)]

23.  “Wasn’t Born To Follow” by the Byrds.  A great song that was popular for awhile after it was played in Easy Rider, but I don’t hear it much these days.  I guess it is a new century, after all.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hEfcawx6Fc&feature=kp]

24.  Day Is Done” by Peter, Paul and Mary.  A wonderful, good-feeling song with a typical PP&M message.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlN0d3m12vw&feature=kp]

25.  “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart.  I had intended to use Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” but Cathy said, “Let’s leave Bob off this time.”  Stewart’s song has basically the same melody and chord structure, as well as the same subject matter.  Though he clearly stole the song from Dylan, it sounds nice.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T9apksOv6k (for Dylan’s version, listen here:  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xs13ou_bob-dylan-forever-young_music]

26.  “Nothing But a Breeze” by Jesse Winchester.  Two reasons for including this tune:  (1) Jesse Winchester was in town for a concert just a few hours after the baby shower, but Cathy said she was too worn out from the shower to go (I did go to the concert with Michael and my brother Jim); (2) The lines for grandparents, rather than mothers and babies, as follows:  “Some day I’ll be an old gray grandpa/And all the pretty girls will call me sir/Now where they’re asking me/How things are/Soon they’ll ask me how things were./Well, I don’t mind being an old gray grandpa/As long as you’ll be my gray grandma./Now I just want to move with my tea and cookies/To the shade of the old pawpaw.”  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QnE2aRS-cg&feature=kp]

27.  “Do-La-Lay” by Jesse Winchester.  This was written when Jesse Winchester’s first child was born more than 40 years ago.  It is a very nice song.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiEV5kKsJbQ&feature=kp]

28.  “Lullaby for the First Born” by Jesse Winchester.  Okay, this list is heavy on Jesse Winchester.  This is a wonderful song to end with, however – peaceful and no lyrics other than la la la la laaaa la la la laa.  [Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bC2Fb0lH8lM (sadly, Jesse Winchester departed this life a few months after this baby shower and his concert that night)]

The end.


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  3. Thanks so much for the great advice on baby shower music! I had never heard of Jesse Winchester, can’t wait to share this music with my husband. I wish contentment for you and your family.

    • Suz, I am glad you found some helpful information. Jesse Winchester has been one of my favorite performers for many years. I was lucky enough to see him just a month or so before his death. He spent most of his career in Canada, initially to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, so he was never as well known as he deserved to be in the USA.

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