The Cheese Stands Alone

For Christmas, Santa (shhh, don’t tell him, he doesn’t know yet) got Sammy a three-CD set called 100 Kids Sing-A-Long Favorites. There are cute illustrations on the cover and within, a track listing for a round century of children’s songs, but no actual information about the artists and musicians. It’s credited in Gracenote only to “Madacy Kids,” which is apparently an offshoot of a Canadian brand, Madacy (but don’t bother visiting, there’s no real information or utility there).

Why is Madacy so secretive? Because they have kidnapped a chorus of young children, chained them to their microphones in the studio, and feed them nothing but supercool.

The selections range from the popular (“Old MacDonald Had A Farm,” “This Old Man,” “Home on the Range”) to the obscure (“Do You Ken John Peel?”, “Five Green Bottles,” “Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me A Bow-Wow”). The style is as you’d expect, and the cuteness factor is off the scale (especially the way they pronounce “moo-moo here, moo-moo there” in “Old MacDonald”) — except for the fact that everything is sung at a pace that suggests speedballs are involved. Honestly, when I try to sing along (or should that be Sing-A-Long?) for Sammy, I cannot keep up.

Furthermore, the songs worm their way into your brain. At night “Oranges and Lemons” or “I Saw Three Ships” are playing themselves over and over in my head, even if I only had them on for a few minutes over 12 hours before.

I was struck also by how few lyrics I really knew to the well-known songs. Choruses, sure, but not the verses. The title of this post comes from “The Farmer in the Dell” — to wit:

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The farmer in the dell [duplicate lines eliminated below]

The farmer takes a wife [etc.]

The wife takes a child

The child takes a nurse

The nurse takes a cow

The cow takes a dog

The dog takes a cat

The cat takes a rat

The rat takes the cheese

The cheese stands alone

There you have it. All must now bow down to cheese, the overlord of all. Who knew?

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