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U GOTTA HEAR THIS.

Byline: Glenn Whipp Staff Writer

Today's roundup includes career-bests from Justin Roberts and Brady Rymer and a disc from Rebecca Frezza that will have preschoolers boppin'.

Justin Roberts

``Meltdown!''

(Carpet Square Records)

Along with Ralph Covert and Laurie Berkner, Roberts is one of the true stars of the kids' music scene, crafting deliriously catchy songs that capture the wonders and speed bumps of childhood. His fifth album is an instant classic, its 13 irresistible songs that contain an emotional depth that goes well beyond their (deceptively) simple subjects. Roberts will perform Sunday at Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. Tickets are $8 - a bargain for music this good.

Highlight tracks: The title track nails sibling antagonism as well as what happens when crayons go beyond their intended use.

Then there's the gentle ``Koala Bear Diner,'' the bittersweet Bacharachian beach tale ``Sand Castle,'' the horn-driven celebration ``It's Your Birthday'' and the lovely closing number, ``Song for You.''

Best for: All ages. Forget the kids' label - adults won't hear many better albums this year.

Rating: Four stars

Brady Rymer

``Every Day Is My Birthday''

(Bumblin' Bee Records)

Rootsy Rymer's fourth kids' album is his best effort to date, a melodic collection of superbly written songs that extol the virtues of imagination (``Diggin' Up a Dinosaur''), family (``Full Moon Walk'') and community (``Side by Side,'' ``Every Day Is a Birthday''). Toss in a spirited Cajun version of Woody Guthrie's ``Little Sacka Sugar'' and you've got an exceptional, toe-tapping collection of music.

Highlight tracks: The one-two punch of ``Dilly Dally Daisy'' and ``Keep Up With You.'' The former is about little girl who finds new ways to delay bedtime 7/8 and just about everything else 7/8 while the latter concerns a mom and dad latching onto coffee and catnaps to keep up with their child. (Probably the aforementioned Daisy.) ``Keep Up With You'' ends with the first line from the Stones' ``Mother's Little Helper'' - ``what a drag it is getting old'' 7/8 making the disc both hipper and even more relatable.

Best for: Ages 4 and up.

Rating: Three and one half stars

Rebecca Frezza

``Tall and Small''

(Big Truck Music)

Sweet-voiced Frezza's music videos have been playing on Noggin's ``Jack's Big Music Show,'' giving her perky songs about childhood a greater audience. Here, on her third kids' disc, she uses the talents of her eight-piece band, ``Big Truck,'' to get kids moving and ``grooving all around.

Highlight tracks: The Irish-tinged ode to family sharing, ``Tell Me a Story,'' and the bouncy tattletale story, ``It Wasn't Me.''

Best for: Preschoolers, younger elementary ages.

Rating: Three and one half stars

Glenn Whipp, (818) 713-3672

glenn.whipp(at)dailynews.com

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 17, 2006
Words:460
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