Musical Notes — The Good: The Ballad Of Phineas McBoof
By Charlotte Bohn, Baltimore’s Child
Get ready for a wild musical odyssey led by a monkey. The Ballad of Phineas McBoof tells the story of a rock star monkey from the Island of Thelonius who explores a world of music from rock to classical to country-western to jazz.
At the beginning of the story, Phineas is overwhelmed by the insane fame he is experiencing as a rock star. Having decided to leave it all behind, he sets out to travel the world only to end up forming an amazing new band called The International Band of Misunderstood Geniuses.
This is definitely not your typical band. How could it be with a monkey for a lead singer and guitarist? Phineas’ fellow band members include Backbone the Octopus on drums, Bottumus the Hip Popotamus on bass, Riley the Robot on electronic musical gadgets, Lenny Long Tail on fiddle, and some scary jazzy monsters on horns. By the end of the CD, Phineas’ plan to escape fame fades as the popularity of his new band gains worldly recognition.
The Ballad of Phineas McBoof is the creation of Doctor Noize (aka Corey Cullinan), a former high school music teacher who sings and plays keyboards, guitar, percussion, saxophone, and kazoo. Taking a page out of his high school teaching method (“make every lesson an adventure, not a seminar”), Cullinan introduces various musical instruments and styles as each band member joins the band. Cullinan is careful in the orchestration of each song to use only the instruments and voices available to the band at that specific point in the story.
As he states in a press release, “Just by following along with the story, kids learn what a bass sounds like, what a fiddle sounds like, what a horn section sounds like, etc., and they hear the orchestra gradually building and the change each new instrument makes in the sound.”
Yes, this CD does all that Cullinan says it does and yet it does much more than that. From the very beginning of the very first track, your child will be entertained by a story that is witty and funny and executed with finesse and humor. This band of creatures will make you laugh and hang on their every word and every bit of music they make.
If you’ve read my reviews before, then you know that I am a sucker for stories. Phineas McBoof and his International Band of Misunderstood Geniuses easily made their way into my children’s CD collection as a perfect addition to the other musical stories that help to expand the minds of young children.