Imagine That

by Monty Harper

Released 1996
Released 1996
Intelligent songs for kids.
NOTES
Praise for this CD...

"Ages 3-8. A modest but thoroughly pleasing production, this recording aims to unlock and stimulate the imagination. And Monty Harper's songs provide fine examples of just that. Even the youngest listeners can easily follow and emulate the kind of homey creativity these numbers exhibit. As two songs demonstrate, by tuning out TV and fervid sales pitches, kids can find delight in the everyday, whether playfully pondering nature's abundance or experimenting with simple, circular wordplay. Even the familiar alphabet offers small revelations. Other highlights include the jolly cacophony of 'Lisa Lee Elizabeth' and a compact fairy tale starring storytelling itself. On the whole, it's a sweet-natured, decidedly kid-friendly effort." - Booklist.

"PreS-Gr 3 - The songs on Monty Harper's latest recording are, indeed, intelligent and creative. 'The Gentlemen Are Dancing on Their Toes' is a clever play on words in which listeners quickly learn that words and phrases can have more than one meaning. 'The Brainiacs' borrows some lines from 'The Brady Bunch' with the story of a family who become super intelligent after the family pet unplugs the television. 'The Princess and the Farmer's Son' is a twist on traditional folk tales where the third son 'defeats' the dreadful dragon by promising to read to the dragon every week. 'Alphabet Rag' gently leads the kids through the steps of reciting the alphabet backwards. 'How Many Days' is the prettiest song, with nice guest vocal by Lisa Harper. The best song is 'Lisa Lee Elizabeth' - these are just the first three parts of a very long name. The fun really begins when she marries a man with a name just as long as hers and they have to decide on the names of their newborn twins. The only strikes against this recording are Harper's thin vocals and the tinny production quality that depends too much on cheap-sounding electronic keyboards. This is still a worthwhile purchase because of the lyrical content of the songs." - Rob Reid, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

About Monty Harper

"Vibrant images of a child's world are a hallmark of Mr. Harper's work," says Dave Kinnoin of SongWizard Records, "and his prolific playfulness delights the child in all of us." Based in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he lives with his wife and four-year-old daughter, Harper has been writing, recording, and performing songs for kids since 1989.

Harper's fourth and latest recording, The Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD, was captured live in front of audiences in Stillwater, Bartlesville, and Oklahoma City. Harper performed with the "Thrice Upon a Time Band," a rock ensemble he put together solely for the purpose of creating the CD. Band members are John Howk on electric guitar, Cody Byassee on drums, and Bob Moore on bass.

"Well-established 'adult' acts such as They Might Be Giants and Dan Zanes are now 'discovering' that kids like to rock, too," says Harper. "But I've known it all along! With the new CD I'm trying to approach that same boundary between kids' music and pop, but from the other side, as a solo children's artist mixing in a real, live, energetic, rock 'n' roll sound."

Harper began creating music for kids as a way to combine various interests such as writing, music, performance, and working with children. After completing his master's degree in mathematics at Oklahoma State University (just in case) he immediately began to explore the possibility of children's music as a career. A few Barry Louis Polisar records he discovered at the library inspired Harper to forge ahead. "Those records showed me that success can be had making fun music about gross stuff that kids love," says Harper. "That sounded right up my alley."

In the ensuing years, Harper has engaged many thousands of children with his interactive programs at libraries and schools throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. He also teaches songwriting through his workshops and residencies and is one of the most often booked performers on the Oklahoma Arts Council Touring Roster. He has penned many songs for clients such as The Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the LAUSD Nutrition Network. He has collected three Children's Music Web Awards, a Parents' Choice, two Unisong International Song Contest awards, and once landed a song at number one on the MP3.com children's chart. Harper's recordings are available internationally at CDBaby.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes.

Songs from Harper's new CD will feature prominently during his fifteenth summer reading program tour this June and July. He is scheduled to present more than forty programs throughout Oklahoma. An itinerary is available at www.montyharper.com.

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