A former cult rocker turned family-friendly entertainer, Ralph Covert has achieved more fame creating a colorful, alternate universe of fun-filled, catchy pop songs about tree-house orchestras and polka-dot shirts than he ever did fronting the Bad Examples - a Chicago-based power-pop band that played many a gig in Madison during the 1990s.
He started performing children's music at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music in the late '90s, eventually creating Ralph's World, inking a deal with Disney and becoming the first children's artist to tour House of Blues venues.
On his eighth Ralph's World CD, The Rhyming Circus, Covert seasons "Abby's Alphabet Soup" with blatant Beatles references and brings old-time western swing to the cinematic "Rodeo Peg." Lessons are learned, too, as "Happy Not My Birthday" teaches kids that every day can, indeed, be special.
Covert makes each of these 13 songs worthwhile, wrapping them in melodies and arrangements that rock both kids and their parents. The humor in the Johnny Cash spoof "Folsom Daycare Blues" might be lost on toddlers, but cool kids will catch the Ringo reference in the laid-back jam "Finger Is the Singer."
Substitute lyrics about a singing cow, a tap-dancing elephant and a new girl in math class named Polly Hedron with more adult-oriented fare, and you'd have some wicked Bad Examples songs.