Cosgrove's stink foot put a hurt on Appellate Judge Dan Mancini's nose.
"You gotta put down the binky, if you wanna rock 'n' roll."—Jim Cosgrove
With his Hawaiian shirt, slouch baseball cap, and cargo shorts, Jim Cosgrove is sort of the Jimmy Buffett of the five and under set. His music blends country, rockabilly, and pop with silly lyrics attractive to young children. Cosgrove's tot anthem "Put Down the Binky," for instance, urges youngsters to give up their pacifiers if they want to rock 'n' roll (I have no idea why the two things pacifiers and rock 'n' roll are mutually exclusive; I thought rock was all about eschewing rules, man). Perhaps the cleverest song on the DVD is "Gobble 'Cross the U.S.A.," a three-chord pop ditty with lyrics that make hay with American towns named after foods. Hey, I didn't say the tune is clever in the grand scheme of things, just that it's more clever than "Binky" or Cosgove's most popular tune "Stinky Feet." The lyrics of the title track—which are, well, all about people with stinky feet—sound like they could've been written by one of Cosgrove's audience members. Stupid as the lyrics are, the kiddies in the audience dig the song. Besides, I'm a huge fan of Frank Zappa, so whom am I to judge someone a dolt for liking a tune about feet that stink?
Mr. Stinky Feet's Road Trip Live is a video version of Cosgrove's 2005 live concert CD of the same name. Recorded at a very small venue somewhere, the concert finds Cosgrove performing seven tunes from his Stinky Feet and Pick Me! Pick Me! CDs. This is a bit unfortunate, considering the CD version of Road Trip (which I've never heard) contains twelve tracks. They couldn't include the other five tunes?
Technically speaking, the video on this disc is passable for broadcast television, but pretty atrocious for DVD. The concert was shot with multiple standard definition video cameras. At best, the image is extremely soft. At worst, footage from some of the cameras is just plain out of focus. Colors are decent, though reds appear slightly overblown. The image is riddled with aliasing and noise. The opening and closing credits sequences are the cheap-o kind of stuff I could pull off on my desktop at home. Maybe Cosgrove comes from the punk rock school of do-it-yourself.
Audio is better than the video, but not remarkable. The track is a straight-forward but clean mix of Cosgrove and his band. All instruments and vocals are clear, discernible, and natural. Bass levels are solid, without an ounce of distortion.
Here's the set list:
• "Put Down the Binky"
In addition to the songs performed live, a studio recording of a tune called "What Color is Your Minivan?" plays behind the closing credits. A music video for "Slug Bug" is the lone extra on the disc.
One final technical note: The main menu of the disc I reviewed has a chapter option that doesn't actually lead to a chapter menu. It goes nowhere. I can't say whether this is a problem specific to the disc I received for review (a full release version, not a screener) or an error in the authoring of the disc.
Jim Cosgrove isn't nearly as hip or clever a kids' music bard as Dan Zanes or They Might Be Giants, but his songs are goofy enough to entertain little ones without being so repetitive that they'll stick on infinite replay in adults' heads. As the parent of a young child, that's about all I require of children's music. If I don't find myself singing it in my head as I lie in bed at midnight weighing whether or not I should tear my hair out, I'm pretty much cool with it.
Since small children won't be bothered by what they see, I'm going to put aside the poor video quality in assessing this release. My only other problem with the program is its length. The 30-minute running time feels awfully short, though it may be just right depending on the age of your children. I find Jim Cosgrove: Mr. Stinky Feet's Road Trip Live mediocre, but not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• "Slug Bug" Music Video
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