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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old Testament reading project

If anyone would like to join our 2011 Old Testament reading, I've started a separate blog and Twitter account devoted entirely to this undertaking.

The Old Testament is one of many texts we're including in our Sing and Read the Civil War's 150th with the Deedle Deedle Dees project.

It's also something I want to read for a number of other reasons unrelated to the war between the states. If you're interested in these other reasons, check out:


Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Week Between Christmas and New Year's: A Survival Guide

The day after Christmas is always the beginning of a long week for me. It's great to have all those consecutive days with my family, but it's also a challenge to find things to do, especially when so many friends are traveling and playdates are hard to come by.

This year, though, I've made a plan. Maybe you'd like to steal some of my ideas:

1. The Houdini show at the Jewish Museum - Reading Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (our book club selection for January) recently got me thinking about Houdini. He hovers at the periphery of this book as a sort of muse for the author and the characters. His presence reminded me how much he meant to me to as a kid. I used to check a different biography out of the school library every week and although I retain some major timeline points from the lives of various people (Bart Starr, Douglas MacArthur, Louis Pasteur...) I mainly only remember a few powerful scenes from these books. The most vivid by far is Houdini swimming under the water looking for a hole in the ice to escape, possibly hearing the voice of a dead relative to help guide him to safety. I can't remember the exact details, though. Some Houdini research is in my near future.

Can't wait to see this show!

2. Kwanzaa at the African Burial Ground In Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin (our book club selection for February), a character declares "New York kept going forward precisely because it didn't give a good g------ about what it had left behind." I think this is true to a point. New York often disregards history in favor of new things, more profitable things, or things that are simply different.

But there are still a few little corners of our city where things are preserved, places where you can think about all the other lives that made our current ones possible. Of these, the African Burial Ground is one of the most fascinating and important.

A must-visit for families, whether you make it during their Kwanzaa celebration (December 28) or not.

3. The Museum of the City of New York Although it consistently has some of the most thoughtful and unique exhibits, this is a museum I visit far too little. I'm planning to go there as soon as possible to see their exhibit dedicated to Denys Wortman's newspaper drawings.

Got some other ideas for beating the post-Hanukkah&Christmas / pre-New Year's blues? Send 'em to us. I'd especially like to pass on brainstorms for things to do in other cities.


Monday, December 20, 2010

January reading: Douglass, Genesis, Chabon

The Deedle Deedle Dees will be beginning an ambitious year for our book club on January 1st. We'll not only be tackling texts related to our "Sing and Read the Civil War's 150th with the Deedle Deedle Dees" project, but also checking out some of our -- and our fans' -- favorite books about New York City in connection with the first performances of our stage musical, Major Deegan, How Ya Feelin'?

Here's what's on the itinerary for January:

My Life and My Bondage by Frederick Douglass - The first of our monthly Civil War selections. We'll be reading a different book every month throughout the five-year commeration of the war, many of them related to the histories of women, slaves and free blacks, new immigrants, and others whose stories aren't always given as much attention as military and political matters. Here's a link to the Kindle version: You can also find this online for free -- or read the paper version like I will be.

The Old Testament - In 2011, I'm reading the entire Old Testament. There are many reasons why I've decided to include the OT in our Civil War study. Here are a few:

- As much of our study will center around the songs that were popular during the Civil War era, I want to better understand the sources of these tunes, many of which are religious. The most obvious examples of this are probably the many spirituals that refer directly to the Exodus story and other Biblical narratives.

-The Civil War generation knew the Bible. People of all ages, classes, and races were familiar with the stories in the Bible -- even people who didn't know how to read. I think understanding the Bible is important for understanding how these people thought.

- The Bible and the various systems of belief connected to it formed the basis of how people viewed death -- a constant, daily reality for the people who lived through the Civil War.

- I've been wanting to read the OT in its entirety for a while. The Civil War's anniversary is a good excuse to do so.

I'm going to be alternating between this edition and the King James. The former has great annotations. The King James is what Lincoln read.

I'm going to use this plan to discipline my reading so that I can finish in a year It looks as good as any other, but if there's another you've used that you'd recommend, let me know.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon - The first of our monthly New York-related books, this is a great antidote to the January / winter / back-to-school-and-work blues. It's about fighting the Nazis, dealing with the Holocaust, creating comic books, living in NYC, surviving as a gay man in far less tolerant time, performing Houdini-esque escapes, and much more.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Download free sing-a-long album now!

I just posted Sing-a-long with Lloyd of the Deedle Deedle Dees Vol. 1!

Go to this link:

Enter your e-mail address and you can download the entire album for free right now.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Track listing for sing-a-long album (coming Friday, Dec. 17)

By the end of the day this Friday, December 17th, I'll put a link here where you can download all these tracks for free. All these tunes were recorded live at my weekly sing-a-longs in Brooklyn over the past month or so.

1. You Are My Sunshine
2. Play Your Hand
3. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep
4. If You're Happy and You Know It
5. Nellie Bly
6. Wheels on the Bus
7. Big Trip
8. Skip to my Lou
9. I'm a Duck!
10. improvised tiger song
11. Acka Acka Lacka Lacka
12. Row Row Row Your Boat / She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain

Singing and reading the Civil War's 150th

The Deedle Deedle Dees are, as you might guess, pretty excited about all the stuff being planned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. We don't want to be left out of all this fun so we're kicking a massive project on January 1, 2011: a singing and reading club that will last for the next five years. We hope to create an amazing online resource for kids, teachers, history buffs, and anyone who's interested to learn about the Civil War in a new way. Here are some of the things we have planned:

Collecting and singing songs of the Civil War
This has long been an obsession of mine and now I want you all to join me. Send me sheet music, mp3s, videos, etc. I'm going to be putting videos of Civil War tunes on our YouTube channel for you to sing along with, use in your classrooms, etc. Spirituals, soldier songs, parlor ballads...

Reading the lesser-known histories of the war
I want to give special attention to the stories of women, the stories of slaves and free blacks, the stories of new immigrants, and other lesser-told tales. Right now, I'm collecting recommendations and gathering books for grown-up and kid reading lists. Tell me your favorites.

Reading Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy
I've never read the three-volume The Civil War: A Narrative and I think this is the right time. I'm going to start this April and try to sync up my readings to the anniversaries of the events. Do it with me! I'll be tweeting reading assignments (

Reading the entire Bible
An understatement: the Bible was very important to the Civil War generation.

I haven't read the Bible seriously since I was a high school kid in a religious high school. I want to use the occasion of the Civil War's 150th to read it again -- but I need some companionship to help me get through it. Join me. My project for 2011 is the Old Testament. I'll mostly be reading this translation Occasionally I'll switch to the King James with Apocrypha (Lincoln's Bible). I'll probably start a new Twitter feed devoted solely to this project that offers daily reading assignments, links to songs related to the stories, links you send me, and more.

Special Civil War-themed shows. Of course! We'll let you know when they happen? Anybody work at Gettysburg? I'm trying to get a gig there on the big 150th.

We encourage all of you to join us in these projects. Yes, if you participate in all these, you'll often be reading three or more books at a time (Shelby Foote, the Old Testament, another adult history book or novel + whatever Civil War book your kid is reading). But what's wrong with that?

i'd like to know

so here I go...



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Set list for today's Holiday Variety Show

Here's what we played at the Knitting Factory today along with links to sing-a-long versions on YouTube and/or links to album versions. Thanks to Isabel for hosting; Sam and Manu for doing the "Sam & Manu Show;" and Atticus for your mandolin playing!

The Deedle Deedle Dees Variety Show Theme Song

Skating in Old Bryant Park

Henry Box Brown (from Freedom in a Box)

Oh, Hanukkah!

Jingle Bells

Dark Eyes (traditional tune) Great work on this, Atticus!
There are lots of great versions of this. To start, here's Django's:

Tub-Tub-Ma-Ma-Ga-Ga (from American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees)

Little Red Airplane (from AH + DD = DDD)

Abbie, Abbie, Abbie (brand-new song about Abigail Adams -- video coming soon)

The Brooklyn Bridge Song (from AH + DD = DDD)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We want you to hear American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees

We feel like a lot of folks still haven't heard our album, American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees (released 2009). That makes me sad -- we worked so hard on this record and would love to put a free copy in the hands of every kid, parent, and teacher in the country.
Lacking the funds to do this, though, we're instead going to offer a couple of incentives this month to make sure a few more people hear this record:

1. It's only $10 on CDBaby til December 31st.

2. If you bring your family to our show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn this Saturday, December 11th, we'll give you a copy for FREE.

An admission: I did nothing to promote this record. I feel guilty about this because I think the record deserved to be promoted. But after years of taking our other two records to kid stores, mailing copies to the media (I sent our first album, Let It Dee, to Hillary Clinton, MTV, Willie Nelson, as well as every traditional press outlet I could find), creating events to sell the CDs, I was exhausted.

I decided instead to focus on my school programs, my songwriting, and all my Deedle Deedle Dees-related creative projects rather than spending all my time on the computer, the phone, and going door to door. I know these things are necessary in this business but I'm just so sick of it. I want to make great music and let someone else worry about getting it out to the public. I realize that I'm terrible at the commercial end of things and that I'm not going to get any better at it.

So, I'll keep writing songs about things I want to write songs about. And maybe you guys can help me get these tunes out to more people.

Look for my sing-a-long album within the next couple of weeks. It's the first of many free downloads I'm going to be putting up. In 2011 the Dees are going to be throwing tracks online like crazy.

I remain,
your obt svt,
Ulysses S. Dee (Lloyd)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Make a video of yourself reading the Gettysburg Address. Send it to us.

We're making a video featuring various friends reading the Gettysburg Address for the anniversary this Friday, November 19th.

Read all or some of the text below. Look into the camera. Wear a top hat if you have one.

The Gettysburg Address

Lincoln delivered this speech on Thursday, November 19, 1863 as part of a ceremony to dedicate the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Set list for today's bike-themed variety show

Here's what we played at today's bike-themed variety show at the Knitting Factory:

The Deedle Deedle Dees Variety Show Theme Song

Henry Box Brown (from Freedom in a Box, 2007)

Penny Farthing

Sojourner Truth

Big Trip

The Brooklyn Bridge Song (from American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees, 2009)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Penny Farthing lyrics and chords

Penny Farthing
words and music by Lloyd Miller (c)(p) 2010

How to play video:

Capo fret 7

D D/C D/B D/A (repeat for each line of verse)
Saddle and the saddle spring
these are attached to the frame
all three are part of my lovely
penny farthing

if you want the wheel to spin
scoot into the seat
and then begin
to push the pedals
now take a trip on
penny farthing

put a penny beside a farthing
the farthing's the bigger one
and if you see a big wheel rolling
followed by a little one
that just might be me & penny farthing
takin' in the winter sun
come say hello, man
we're not late to see anyone

mustache handlebars allow
my legs to move free up and down
squeeze a handle
the spoon brake
stops my penny farthing

obstacles and sudden stops
can cause a header aka cropper
have you seen me fly facefirst
off penny farthing?

(if you're playing a guitar w/o a capo or a different instrument)
verse: A A/G A/F A/E
chorus: G C D
Am C G

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recording of new sing-a-long album starts tomorrow... with you!

I've been trying to make a sing-a-long album for years. Recording such a thing at home or in a studio is impossible. It sounds too stale. Or faked. My wife cringed once when I played her a home recording of "Old MacDonald" where I talked to a pretend sing-a-long crowd and exhorted them to sing-a-long. It was just lacking that particular energy that makes my sing-a-longs by far the most fun thing I do.

So starting tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 2) I'm going to try to record myself -- and you, if you happen to be there -- at the actual sing-a-long. I know there will be sound issues -- scraping chairs, screaming kids, out-of-tune voices right near the mic -- but I don't care. I'm going to record most of my sing-a-longs for the month of November so I have plenty to choose from. We'll sing not only traditional songs, but also classic and brand-new Dees tunes that lend themselves to a group sing-a-long treatment.

Now that it's suddenly cold again, it's a great time for sing-a-longs because the big crowds are returning (mainly, I think because it's too cold to go to the playground.) Come help us! We want your voices.

Your reward will be a brand-new sing-a-long album in early December that you can play throughout the rest of the winter. An album that will cost you nothing because I'm going to post the whole thing online for anyone to download at no cost.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

The First Deedle Deedle Dees Show Ever

Here's a quick sketch of our first show on October 31, 2003, at Schnack restaurant (formerly) on Union Street between Hicks and Columbia.

Help us fill in the missing details. What else did we play? Who was there? What did we wear? Anyone have any pictures?

Ulysses S. Dee (me, Lloyd) - guitar, kazoo, vocals
Innocent Dee (Anand Mukherjee) - guitar, vocals
Friar Dee (Tavo Carbone) - guitar, accordion, vocals
Nick Pichet (his Dee name escapes me) - cardboard box drums, percussion, vocals, guitar

Scared by my own Costume
Anne Bonney
Babe Ruth
Ina Mina Dika
Inki, Do, Inki, Don't
Mean-Talking Blues (Woody Guthrie cover by Nick)
Our Good Friend, the Yellow-Backed Turtle (Nick original)
The Werewolf (cover of _____ by Tavo)

- Harry Hawk, head chef at Schnack (and previously at Gowanus Yacht Club) booked us
- Late in the show, a teenage girl asked to play the drums and then wouldn't stop. She now works at Met Food on Henry Street (or did when I still lived in Carroll Gardens). She became a very nice cashier.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Everywhere we've ever played (in NYC)

Tomorrow is the 7th anniversary of the Deedle Deedle Dees! (I've been saying 8th -- but then realized that I was counting Halloweens rather than years)

On October 31, 2003, we played our first show at Schnack, a tiny -- and now out-0f-business-- restaurant in Carroll Gardens West / Columbia Waterfront District / Red Hook North. But more on this in another post...

What I'd really like to do right now is list-- starting with Schnack -- every venue we've ever played. We'll start with shows in the five boroughs. I'm sure I'll forget some. Will you help us remember by adding to this list via our Facebook wall ( or doing an @ reply to us on Twitter (

Spots that sadly are no longer in operation say OOB (out of business) beside them. The list is roughly in chronological order so there are a lot of OOBs at the top.

We haven't listed schools or libraries, out-of-town shows, or private events (birthday parties, corporate stuff, fundraisers, etc that weren't open to the public). Schools, libraries, and out-of-town shows will all get their own future posts.

Brooklyn venues:
Schnack OOB
Sparky's Bar OOB
Diesel Gallery OOB
Cafe Boo Bah OOB
Freddy's Bar OOB, but returning in new location Jan. 2011!
Families First
Willy B's OOB
Atlantic Antic
The Hook OOB
Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX)
Carroll Park
Prospect Park (near Carousel and Lefferts House)
Cadman Plaza Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Playspot (is this place OOB?)
The Moxie Spot
Brooklyn Lyceum
Prospect Park Music Pagoda
The Knitting Factory
Brooklyn Promenade
Fort Greene Park
Pier 6

Manhattan venues:
Big Apple Circus
Symphony Space
Madison Square Park
The Knitting Factory (now relocated to Brooklyn)
Battery Park
Riverside Park
Morningside Park
World Science Festival

Where else did you see us play? Send us schools and libraries and out-of-town shows also.

Underwater Halloween 10/30 setlist

With the exception of "Gowanus Canal" -- which was part of my Songs of the Gowanus Canal cycle in a slightly different form -- all these songs are very new and have yet to appear on a Deedle Deedle Dees album.

1. The Deedle Deedle Dees Variety Show Theme Song

2. River of Blood
a song about the circulatory system

3. Gowanus Canal

4. Wallabout Bay

5. Dead Horse Bay

6. Henry Hudson

Thursday, October 28, 2010

River of Blood lyrics

River of Blood
a song about the circulatory system

words and music by Lloyd Miller
(c) (p) 2008, 2010

how to play video here:

The River of Blood keeps on flowin'
The River of Blood keeps on goin'
Oh, the River of Blood
it flows to your toes
It's the River of Blood
That doggone River of Blood

Oh, the River of Blood you can't put your bike in it
But the River of Blood -- lots of things to like in it
Amino acids and gases
blood cells and hormones
Veins bring blood back to the heart
And the arteries are how it goes

The River of Blood keeps on flowin'
The River of Blood keeps on goin'
Oh, ride the River of Blood
round the bend of your elbows
It's the River of Blood
That doggone River of Blood

Oh, the River of Blood the heart keeps pumping
that's why it flows
it pumps oxygenated blood to the body
deoxygenated blood to the lungs
2000 gallons a day
60,000 miles
The River of Blood could go around the world
two and a half times

The River of Blood keeps on flowin'
The River of Blood keeps on goin'
Oh, the River of Blood
it makes your cheeks glow
It's the River of Blood
That doggone River of Blood

Monday, October 25, 2010

Social Studies Songs on Demand

Need a song to help you explain something? Tell us what you need and we'll write the tune and post it on YouTube within a week.

We won't write love songs, apologies to your spouse or boss, or other songs that you could write better yourself.

Instead, send us your needs related to social studies, math, science, literature, and other areas.

We're on a song-writing jag -- feed us.

"I am the beast. Feed me rappers or feed me beats."
- Lil Wayne


Lesson plans in 140 characters: Starting today we'll post a Deedle Deedle Dees-related lesson plan on Twitter. History and social studies will of course be our main focus but we're open to your suggestions.

All of this week's ideas will be connected to our Underwater Halloween show this Saturday, October 30.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Set lists, links for today's shows at Pier 6 (Oct 23)

We met a lot of new people at our shows at the Harvest Festival at the Pier 6 playground (Brooklyn Heights) today. Welcome! Thanks for coming!

Many of you wanted to know more about our songs, where they could hear more, etc.

So, for everyone we met today who's new to the Deedle Deedle Dees -- as well as everyone who's been with us for a while and might be interested-- we've posting complete set lists for both of today's shows as well as links to where you can buy CDs, watch videos, or read about the stuff we sing about.

Every song marked FIAB is on our 2007 release, Freedom in a Box. Songs with the AH+RR next to them are on our 2009 record, American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees. These albums can both be purchased via the Deedle Deedle Dees page on CDBaby (, iTunes, or many other online sources.

Songs without an album label are newer songs that are yet to be recorded formally.

Songs with YouTube links are on our video channel. Many are simple sing-a-long versions recorded in my living room. A few are live concert cuts or other versions featuring more Dees (e.g., there are several videos of Moby, Booker, and myself playing tunes at the street pianos that were placed around the city not long ago).

Lyrics: The words to nearly all these songs can be found on this blog. Just search for the song title at the top of the page. If you can't find the lyrics to a song you want, let us know and we'll post them.

11am set:

Sojourner Truth

Henry Box Brown FIAB

Growl Growl AM+RR

Wallabout Bay

Baldy FIAB

Dead Horse Bay Only three days old -- lyrics are up on this blog, video on the way

John Muir AM+RR

Bring 'Em In AM+RR

Major Deegan FIAB

12noon set:
Tub-Tub-Ma-Ma-Ga-Ga AM+RR

Birds of America

Little Red Airplane AM+RR

Zora Many Hands for Haiti

Henry Hudson

Nellie Bly FIAB

¡Sí Se Puede! AM+RR

Battle of Brooklyn

Put on the Dress AM+RR

Brooklyn Bridge Song AM+RR

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dead Horse Bay lyrics

Dead Horse Bay
words and music by Lloyd Miller
(c) (p) 2010
inspired by Underwater New York's Dead Horse Bay exhibit:

Rough draft video:

how to play "Dead Horse Bay":

Broken baby dolls and animal bones
that's what I found at Dead Horse Bay
Pets used to come here
and leave as glue
So if you hear a bark or neigh...

Put your Leopard-skin pocketbook on your shoulder... now sashay
Fill up your wooden pipe even though it's far decayed
Shake your silver rattle, don't listen to the sound
Pour your tea before the spout falls to the ground

Dead Horse Bay
Can Sitar Boy sing without a head?
Dead Horse Bay
Can a heel from a shoe walk without a leg?

These are the things we found while walking one day
along the beach at Dead Horse Bay
I'd like to come here,
leave as glue
hold together the next thing you make

Songs for tomorrow (lots of them)

Here's the list of songs I just sent the other Dees. We're playing two full sets at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park (at Atlantic Ave) tomorrow so we're going to try to play as many tunes as possible, not repeating anything. Except maybe "Major Deegan" -- the kids who come to my sing-a-longs won't let me go a whole set without the tune they call "Honk Honk."

Some of the new tunes topping the list are being tested out for our underwater-themed variety show a week from tomorrow. Come watch us mess them up so you can really appreciate them next weekend!

Dead Horse Bay
Wallabout Bay
Gowanus Canal
Henry Hudson
Birds of America
Battle of Brooklyn

Little Red Airplane
Growl Growl
John Muir
Put on the Dress
Major Deegan
The Brooklyn Bridge Song
Sojourner Truth
Henry Box Brown
Nellie Bly
¡Sí Se Puede!
Bring 'Em In

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Holiday" stories

Are you a Jew who decorates a Christmas tree? A Christian who lights a Menorah? An agnostic who does both? Are you someone whose family has developed a unique holiday tradition that gathers from a variety of cultural and religious sources?

Send us your stories! The Deedle Deedle Dees are doing a "holiday show" on December 11 and we want everyone, no matter what they celebrate (or don't celebrate), to feel welcome. Erase from your mind the holiday specials you saw on TV as a child. We're not going to put on sweaters and sing that song about chestnuts. Instead, we're creating a holiday event from scratch with your help. We want to know about the special things that you and your family do in the months of December and January, a time when, no matter what you believe or where you're from, things in our country slow down and there are opportunities for rest, reflection, and re-connection.

Try to think of things that you and those you love do that anyone, anywhere in the world can appreciate. Ways that you show that you care for each other. Things that you do in your community that bring you together.

If you live in New York -- or you're going to be visiting the city the weekend of our show -- we might ask you to tell your story onstage. We might turn your story into a song. Or you can turn your own story into song. We're starting the planning on this show early so that we can gather a lot of ideas and create a really meaningful event.

We look forward to hearing your stories!

Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)

The Deedle Deedle Dees Family Variety Show
December Edition: Holiday Show!
December 11, 2010
The Knitting Factory
361 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Monday, October 11, 2010

Win a free concert for your school!

We're having a costume contest at our October 30th variety show! The kid with the best underwater-themed costume will win a free concert for their school by me, Lloyd Miller (AKA Ulysses S. Dee).

Saturday, October 30th
The Deedle Deedle Dees Family Variety Show
Underwater Halloween!
The Knitting Factory
361 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY

Costume Contest Rules:

1. You must be 12 or under to enter
2. Your costume must have some sort of underwater theme to it. There are all sorts of characters that could fit this description: sharks, pirate ghosts, squid, bubbles, starfish...
3. You can't be a member of the immediate family of any of the performers -- not even the kid performers.
4. You must buy a ticket to our Oct 30 show at the Knitting Factory and appear in person to be eligible to enter (no entries by e-mail, etc.)
5. You must sign up as an official contestant at the beginning of the event.

First prize: A free 45-minute concert at your school. Not in school yet? We'll figure out another non-profit organization or community group for the performance. Sorry, no birthday parties or other private events. Lloyd does perform at birthdays, but the concert that we're giving away at this show must be for a school or other organization that we approve.

Second prize: Free family ticket ($20 value) to our next Deedle Deedle Dees Family Variety Show on November 13th (featuring musical guest Rachel Lipson and author Robert Sullivan)

Third prize: Signed copies of our last two albums, American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees and Freedom in a Box.

Costumes will be judged by a small panel selected day of show.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Camperdown Elm

Camperdown Elm

words and music by Lloyd Miller
(c) (p) 2004, 2011

Camperdown Elm, branches so crooked
Camperdown Elm, branches so low
Camperdown Elm, you're funny lookin'
But I want to sing to ya like Marianne Moore

I sing...
Low, low, low branches grow
on the Camperdown Elm in the Brooklyn borough
Grow, grow, grow branches grow
but, Camperdown, keep 'em crooked
Camperdown, keep 'em low

Camperdown Elm, grafted in Scotland
Camperdown Elm, two elms combined
Camperdown Elm, sick and soon dying
Camperdown Elm, we saved you with rhymes

Now we sing...
Low, low, low branches grow
on the Camperdown Elm in the Brooklyn borough
Grow, grow, grow branches grow
but, Camperdown, keep 'em crooked
Camperdown, keep 'em low

I wrote this song when I was teaching the Nature Babies program in Brooklyn's Prospect Park a few years ago. Story as I heard it is this: on the estate of the Earl of Camperdown in Scotland, an elm's twisty branches were growing along the ground. His gardener grafted this tree onto another type of elm and created a new "mutant" tree. This new type of tree was still super twisty -- and the branches still threatened to touch the ground -- but at least they were now up in the air like a proper tree. This was the Camperdown Elm, a very unique-looking tree that wouldn't be out of place in a Lord of the Rings film. The Earl gave one of his singular trees to Prospect Park at some point. You can see it by entering the park on the east side at Lincoln Road.

In the 1960s, the Camperdown Elm was dying. Often, given how swift and brutal elm disease can be, ravaging every tree nearby, elms are just cut down when they first show signs of illness. But when the Camperdown Elm got sick, concerned citizens -- aided by a Marianne Moore poem hailing it as "our crowning curio" -- managed to convince officials that this tree was different and worthy of being saved.

photo by Lloyd Miller

Birds of America lyrics

Birds of America
words & music by Lloyd Miller
(c) (p) 2010

Watch a rough-draft version of this brand-new song on YouTube:

Birds of America don't care-oh
How they look in pictures
Well maybe sparrows
the coot is vain
so's the black cap titmouse
Creeping warblers complain
but not like the screech owl

If they'd been alive to see themselves drawn
what would they have to say about John James Audubon?

Other creatures would be flattered
to see themselves in handsome books,
postcards and calendars
But birds are fickle, fancy fellows
a canary'll take you to court over a shade of yellow

If they'd been allowed to critique his work
Would his name still be synonymous with birds?

Would the Grey-Crowned Purple Finch take offense?
Or the Least Peewee Flycatcher be incensed?
Can't you see Bonaparte's gull now, hand to his breast?
And we've all seen bob-o-links and vireos bothered by less

Never a man to hunt birds for sport
Audubon still ate some Birds of America
after he finished up their portraits

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What we're gonna play Sunday

We're excited about the brand-new show we've put together for 92YTribeca this Sunday. Here are the tunes we worked on yesterday. We'll be playing all of them.

Showtime: 11am. Be there.

Thoreau and Thoreau
Birds of America
Camperdown Elm
Growl Growl
Henry Hudson
John Muir
Teddy Days
I'm a Duck
Sway (like trees do)
Gowanus Canal

I'll put putting up YouTube videos of all the songs above that aren't already posted. Will try to have them all up by Saturday.

Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)

Friday, September 24, 2010

¡Sí Se Puede! lyrics

¡Sí Se Puede!
words & music by Lloyd Miller, arrangement by Chris Johnson, Ely Levin, Lloyd Miller, and Anand Mukherjee
(c) (p) 2009

Spanish translation by Greg Helmick and Roger Miller

César Chávez said
Today I will not eat.
No grapes, no rice, no beans
No tomatoes, potatoes... just water

César Chávez said
the people are abused
on the farms that make our food
I won't eat anything til they do

He fasted for
1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, 8, 9. 10 days
but he wasn't done
He said no food please
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,
18. 19,
20 - 25 (in Spanish)

César Chávez decía
Hoy no voy a comer.
Ni uvas, ni arroz, ni frijoles
Ni jitomates, ni papas, nomás* agua

Spanish words that follow say roughly the same thing as English words above.

César Chávez decía
La gente es maltratada
En las granjas que nos dan la comida
No comeré antes que el cosechero.

El ayunó uno dos tres cuatro cinco
Seis siete ocho nueve diez once días
Pero no había terminado.
Fue sin comer día y noche once doce catorce
Quince dieciséis diecisiete

Sojourner Truth lyrics

Sojourner Truth
words by Charlotte Banigan-White and Lloyd Miller
music by Lloyd Miller
(c) (p) 2008

Sojourner Truth traveled up the mountain
and the moon was right behind her
she looked down the mountain
at those who tried to stop her

The moon looked like a light
and shined on Sojourner Truth
Where she's going
you're invited too

Zora lyrics

words & music by Lloyd Miller, arrangement by Chris Johnson, Ely Levin, Lloyd Miller, and Anand Mukherjee
(c) (p) 2010

Zingin' zongz in Zorida
Zatz what zee WPA paid her for-a

Singin' songs
and collectin' stories
in the land of Okeechobee

Z! for the sound at the end of Evergladz
O! O-o-o- Okeechobee hurricane
R! Recordin' things people never heard before
A! As in shake, shake it shake it do the Teacake

In F-L-A, she made Janie and Teacake
her ethnographic work took her all over the Southern states
and her recorda
Listenin' to rituals in Haiti and Jamaica
You should hear what she heard
Marty, cue the tape up!

Z! For the "z" in Their EyeZ Were Watching God
O! O-o- Okeechobee, way down South in the swamp
R! He jumped in for Janie got bit by a rabid dog
A! Subway, Did you see me cry for Teacake?

Little Red Airplane lyrics

Little Red Airplane
words & music by Lloyd Miller, arrangement by Chris Johnson, Ely Levin, Lloyd Miller, and Anand Mukherjee
(c) (p) 2009

First time she saw a plane
She said "That's not interesting."
"Just rusted wire and wood"
Ten years before she stood...

With a friend at a stunt plane show
Little airplane toward her dove
She said "That little red airplane
had something to say to me"

Little Red... Little Red Airplane! (etc)

On her first Atlantic flight
she was a passenger not a pilot
"I was baggage, a sack of potatoes..."
Maybe next time I'll try it solo
in a...

Little Red... Little Red Airplane! (etc)

Now Newfoundland is where she took
Ireland is where she took her hat off
"Have you flown far?" asked the farmer
she said, "Uh, yeah... America..."

This time the plane was white
Plan was trans-navigational flight
That means take off in one place
Fly the world around
Land in the same place
Meet the crowds
In a...

Little Red... Little Red Airplane! (etc)

Somewhere between Asia and Hawaii
Amelia's radio went silent
But if you look up
You can still see her flying
Speak up! She's flying pretty high in a...

Little Red... Little Red Airplane! (etc)

Baldy lyrics

words & music by Lloyd Miller, arrangement by Chris Johnson, Ely Levin, Lloyd Miller, and Anand Mukherjee
(c) (p) 2007

Baldy! Not dead yet!
Shot him down
He came back again
Baldy! They dug up his grave!
His head hangs in Philly, PA

Are you dead, Baldy?
Nay nay nay nay... (etc)

George Meade rode me
at Getty-B and An-T-T-
The Deedle Deedle Dees wrote these rhymes for me
but I don't like sayin' 'em... I'm old!
Yo, horses don't like gettin' their heads cut off
and hung up in museums so people can look at us
They like battles and bullets and gettin' shot
I got 14 slugs.. Fitty, how many you got?


Thought I was dead but they found me grazin'
in a nearby pasture
they was cleanin' up the place
Antietam, it wasn't pretty
Some places couldn't see the grass
there was so many bodies... Yo!

I'd like to take this moment to give a neigh
to the deceased Cincinnati
Good lookin' out for USG
And what about the horse they used to call Rienzi
later Winchester, carried Phillip Sheridan
rode so fast Confederates never touched a hair 'a him
And, Traveler, even though you carried Robert E. Lee,
I hope you can hear me...

Neigh neigh neigh neigh neigh...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

John Muir, fall leaves, dancing ducks...

We've decided to turn our October 10th show at 92Y Tribeca into a big celebration of the natural world. We'll sing songs about people who love the outdoors (John Muir, Thoreau), our favorite birds (ducks, starlings, pigeons -- New York City birds!), falling leaves, and more.

Graduates of my Prospect Park Nature Babies program (sadly discontinued), please come help the newbies learn all the dance moves I taught you.

See you there!

Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Let It Dee (the original nutso demo)

Our first album, Let It Dee, is out of print. About five people know that there is another album by this name that was never printed (and hopefully never will be). I just found one of the surviving CD-Rs of this strange document while organizing some long-untouched discs. Here's a track listing:

1. Ina Mina Dika (living room demo) 2:42
2. Scared by my own Costume (weirdo voices) 3:17
3. Fool Sandwich (echoes of kazoo) 4:12
4. Jorge 2:11
5. Free as a Turd (mouth drum) 1:58
6. Rearview Tavo 3:31
7. Babe Ruth (brushes, kazoo) 3:56
8. I Got No Skillz (featuring Mildew) 3:18
9. Dee Theme I (Flood?) 7:27
10. Aaron Burr (out of breath) 4:04
11. Pancakes with Your Mom (Bridge Bridge) 2:33
12. Jorge (instrumental) 2:29
13. Tavo and Muk 2:09
14. Scared by my own Costume (even worse) 2:45
15. Free as a Turd (ha ha, acoustic) 2:18
16. He Writes Big 2:55
17. Gil the Pill 0:58
18. Inky Do, Inky Don't 2:22
19. Let's Get Rough 1:43
20. Bull of Heaven 2:17
21. We Are The Scorpions 1:25
22. What's Your Sad Face For? 3:04
23. Bernice (featuring Paul Reyes + LLoyd) 3:10

Some brief explanations (before we let this recording disappear forever):

"Jorge" was the signature song of Anand (Innocent Dee) when I first met him. I nearly fell off a Brooklyn rooftop laughing the first time I heard him play it.

"Mildew" is one of the many ill-advised personas I took on in my pre-Dee days. Mildew hosted variety shows and would boast of being the "worst rapper in America."

"He Writes Big" is a tune I wrote for a student film called Big Albert by Sonny Quinn. About a kid who can only write big. Really big.

Tracks 17-22 are from the musical I co-wrote with some second graders in 2003 based on the Epic of Gilgamesh. Not long after I decided to start the Dees. We played some of these tunes at the first couple of Dees shows.

"Bernice" isn't a Dees song. It was written by our friend Paul Reyes (who gave us the original idea for "Henry Box Brown") Like many songs of the era, it deals with dogs, the Amish, and a woman whose life has spiraled out of control. I play drums (very very very badly) on the track.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Battle of Brooklyn lyrics

Battle of Brooklyn
words and music (c) (p) Lloyd Miller 2007

Ba-ba-ba-baba- Battle of Brooklyn (repeat)

verse 1
The British came over in boats
from Staten Island at the Narrows
back then there was no Verrazananana-nanananana...

verse 2
Twas at the Donegan Oak
the rebels held the high ground
and the redcoats were slowed
but it wasn't long
'fore they were on their way to Park Slope!

verse 3
The corner of Court Street and Atlantic Avenue
back then was high ground that Washington used
to watch the rebels' bold attack
and then the redcoats redcoats drove 'em back

The rebels took the Old Stone House
and then the redcoats redcoats drove 'em out

Few left alive
but there was just enough time
for Washington and the rest of the rebels to run to Jersey at night

Video here:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hilary Mantel: The Best Author Alive

I do most of my reading on the subway. Used to, before I had kids and their accompanying strollers, backpacks, lunchboxes, diaper bags, etc., I would regularly brave the train with huge hardcover books. I remember some particularly good workouts I got with a biography of Daniel Webster (a book that I ended up leaving in a cab before I finished it).

These days, though, I always wait for everything in paperback. That rule-- and the fact that I haven't succumbed to a Kindle -- is why I'm probably the only person I know who has not read Hilary's Mantel's Wolf Hall. As soon as I read a few sentences about it I knew that it was a book that I had to read. But I refused to break my paperback rule, even for such a book. Instead I delved into Mantel's early work starting with A Place of Greater Safety, one of the books on the Deedle Deedle Dees fall reading list.

A Place of Greater Safety is a book about the French Revolution, an absolute masterpiece of historical fiction. For me personally, it was also a turning point in my reading life. Before this book, which I read earlier this year, I found myself lifelessly turning the pages of current novels that critics and friends adored but that I found terribly boring. Even my beloved history books had lost their appeal. I kept reading them, but mostly out of obligation and compulsion.

I won't say anything further about A Place of Greater Safety except that you must read it. It saved my reading life. I'm now back to devouring every book I see -- bad books, great books, everything is fun again.

Also very worth your time are two very different books by Ms. Mantel: Beyond Black and Every Day is Mother's Day. Again I'll say very little about either except that both are ghost stories (of a kind). Read this New Yorker piece if you need more info: Actually, if you can wait, read one of Ms. Mantel's books before you read this article. It's far more fascinating to find out about her real self once you've met some of her fictional ones.

Wolf Hall, by the way, just came out in paperback. As soon as I finish Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (the Deedle Deedle Dees book club selection for September) you know what I'll be reading. (More on Kidder's book in a future post)


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Help us promote our show for Haiti!

Here's the brand-new poster for Many Hands, a family concert to benefit Haiti. The show is part of our variety show series at the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

In addition to the Deedle Deedle Dees, the event will also feature Dog on Fleas and Gustafer Yellowgold. We've all contributed tracks to the Many Hands album (so did Pete Seeger, Randy Kaplan, Lunch Money, Dan Zanes, TMBG, Elizabeth Mitchell and many others).

Download this image and print it out (let us know if you can't -- we'll e-mail you the jpg). Hang it up in your favorite local business. Or on the front of your house. And of course bring your whole family to the show!

your obt svt,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Major Deegan lyrics and chords

A mom wrote today asking for the chords to "Major Deegan" so that she could strum and sing it with her boys. We've actually had this request a number of times before and I'm only just now getting around to posting them.

Any other songs you'd like to learn? Let me know and I'll post the changes.

If you'd like to play along with me, visit SingalongwithLloyd on YouTube. There are two versions of "Major Deegan," one solo, one with Chris on the banjo.

Major Deegan
words and music by Lloyd Miller (BMI)
(c) (p) 2007
All Rights Reserved

Capo fret 1

Honk honk
Woo ooh Woo ooh

downstrum G 4X

Major Deegan, how ya feelin'?
Am C
I'm feelin' slow
West Side Highway, goin' my way
Am Em
No no no no no no

F Am Em G
The Emperor of Traffic says no
F Am
to the Brooklyn Bridge
Em G C
the Cross-Bronx, the BQE, and the Triborough

Honk honk
Woo ooh Woo ooh

GW, lowa or uppa?
It's 30 minutes in both ways
Jackie Ro-Ro, where do I go?
I don't know know know know know know know

The Emperor of Traffic has control
of the Williamsburg Bridge,
the Van Wyck, the FDR, the Verraza-na-no
No no no...

C Am Em G (2X)
F Am Em G (2X)

Major Deegan, how ya feelin'?
Belt Parkway, how ya been?
LIE, how dost ye be?
Why do I talk to the roads
when, Emperor of Traffic, you alone,
can answer my question:
"Tonight, how do I get home?"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Botanical ABCs

I compiled this for my sing-a-longs at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden yesterday. These are all real plants that grow there. I stuck mainly to the common names rather than the scientific ones I'm unable to pronounce, much less sing.

There were so many families there, though, I decided to scuttle my hello song that would have featured the names of all the kids present + plants that start with the same first letters (the song would have been several hours long -- I only saw a couple of toddlers and dads in Dead shirts who would have appreciated this excess).

See if you can find a plant that starts with the same letter as your name. Send it to me if you'd like me to include your name and plant in my upcoming YouTube video of "BBG," the song I didn't get to sing.

A is for artichoke thistle and andean fire
B is for butterfly weed
C is for crepe myrtle, castor bean, and cherry trees
D is for daffodils
E is for echinacea
F is for forsythias
G is for Graham thomas and George burns (common names for two flowers, no kidding)
H is for honeysuckle rose
I is for iris and indigo
J is for jimsomweed
K is for kew blue and kiwi
L is for lilies and lilacs
M is for Maggie Bell Slocum and magnolias
N is for Nathan Hale (another personified flower) and Norwich Castle
O is for orchid
P is for papaver somniferum (poppy)
Q is for quercus
R is for roses and rhododendrons
S is sacred lotus and sunflower
T is for tulips
U is for uvularia
V is for violetta and vase vine
W is for water lily, wisteria, witch-hazel, and wildflowers
X is for Xanthosoma
Y is a letter I need some from a gardener on
Z is for zinnia

Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)

Until I post this new tune, check out a bunch of other fun sing-a-long stuff here:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fort Greene Pop Quiz: Online Edition

If you missed the Fort Greene Pop Quiz at the Deedle Deedle Dees concert in Fort Greene Park this morning, you can take it online right now. Answers will be posted tomorrow.

To take the quiz, go to our Facebook page. Click "LIKE." Then post your answers on our wall or send them to me at If you get all three questions correct, we'll send you a free gift.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fort Greene Pop Quiz

The Deedle Deedle Dees are playing Fort Greene Park tomorrow. During the show we'll be giving a pop quiz on your knowledge of Fort Greene's history. Top scorers will receive a free copy of American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees.

This quiz will by no means be comprehensive. It will focus on the sort of things the Deedle Deedle Dees like to sort through in our heads. Long-time fans can probably guess what these things are, but if you'd like to be prepared for specific questions, visit our Facebook page and our Twitter feed for clues.

See you tomorrow!

The Deedle Deedle Dees

Weds, July 28

Fort Greene Park


New York



I remain
your obt svt,
Ulysses S. Dee (Lloyd)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Prison ships, birds covered in oil... Sea shanties, Deedle Deedle Dees-style

I just finished two songs I've been working on for a bit:

"Wallabout Bay"
From the point of view of bones buried beneath the prison ship monument in Fort Greene Park... We'll debut the tune at our show there on July 28th.

"Everybody Looks the Way That I Do"
A bluesy tune sung by birds, turtles, and other Gulf residents covered in crude. The Dees have always avoided current events for some reason. Maybe it's my fear of confrontation-- I like my controversies situated well in the past. But this song just kept coming back to me, demanding to be sung.

The band probably won't have time to rehearse before we play these songs live for the first time so I'm just going to put some videos up on YouTube so that the other Dees can learn them. Look for them in a couple of days -- you can learn them along with us.

your obt svt,

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Family Music with the Deedle Deedle Dees this summer

Hi everyone--I wanted to let you know about all the family music stuff we're doing this summer:

The Deedle Deedle Dees will be doing concerts in NYC and beyond. Here are our two New York dates:

Tuesday, July 6th, in Madison Square Park at 10:30am

Wednesday, July 28th in Fort Greene Park at 10am

And we'll also be in Massachusetts and Kentucky (and probably one stop in between KY and NY):

Saturday, July 17th-- Green River Festival -- Greenfield, MA

Saturday, July 31st -- Applebee's Park -- Lexington, KY

Saturday, August 21st -- Many Hands CD release party -- Somerville, MA

More dates TBA

I'm doing two more nature and music workshops this summer. They're on July 28th at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden at 6 and 7pm. Ages 1 and up. Songs, stories, nature walk. It's awesome. More details soon.

In response to your requests, I keep posting more videos on our sing-a-long YouTube channel. Let me know what else you'd like me to put up there.

Hope to see you soon,
Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)
facebook: search for "deedle deedle dees"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Keep voting for the Dees until July 6th -- Nickelodeon awards voting period extended

Hi Dees fans,
Nickelodeon has extended the nomination period for their Parents Picks awards. That means you can keep voting for the Deedle Deedle Dees every day until July 6th.

We're eligible in two categories:

Best Kids Music CD
for our album, American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees. You'll find it under "t" for "The."

Best Party Entertainer
Many of you have hired me, Ulysses S. Dee (Lloyd Miller), for your party. You can vote for me as "The Deedle Deedle Dees (Rock for Kids!)" Also under "t."

You can nominate us once a day, every day, from now until JULY 6th at

If you're having trouble figuring out how to vote, here's what you do:

• To vote for our album -->Click on "Products," then "kids music CD." You'll find our album there.

• To vote for Lloyd and the Deedle Deedle Dees for party entertainter--->Click on "Places," then "New York City," then "party entertainter. You'll find the band name there.

By the way, you have to join Nickelodeon Parents Connect to vote. You can choose to receive no communication from them in the future -- it's a painless membership.

see you soon,
Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)

next show:
Brooklyn Promenade (north end)
this Saturday, June 19
11:30 am
our first completely acoustic show in years

New sing-a-long videos just posted on our sing-a-long YouTube channel!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Deedle Deedle Dees LIVE, ACOUSTIC, INTERACTIVE (and free!)

The Deedle Deedle Dees are playing a free outdoor show this Saturday. We're playing totally acoustic (no mics or anything) and will be bringing instruments for the kids to play. Should be super-fun.

The Deedle Deedle Dees
Saturday, June 19th
The Brooklyn Promenade (north end)

By the way, I just posted some brand-new videos on our sing-a-long YouTube channel:

your obt svt,
Lloyd (Ulysses S. Dee)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Last variety show of the spring this Saturday

The Deedle Deedle Dees are hosting our final variety show of the spring this Saturday, May 8th. We'll resume this monthly event in September.

This week is our Fela show. Nothing more to say. You have to come.

The Deedle Deedle Dees Family Variety Show

Fela Kuti edition
this Saturday, May 8th
The Knitting Factory
361 Metropolitan Ave

The Deedle Deedle Dees

Roy Nathanson (Jazz Passengers, Lounge Lizards, Sotto Voce) and his son Gabe Nathanson

Tony Jarvis (sax player for Broadway hit musical, Fela!)

Brooklyn preschoolers performing an original Fela-style protest song they wrote with Ulysses S. Dee

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New variety show poster... Want one?

Would you like a copy of our super bad new poster for the May edition of the Deedle Deedle Dees Family Variety Show? We'll mail you one. In fact, we'll mail you two. But there's a catch, you must hang one of the posters up in a public (and legal) place somewhere in the five boroughs. Preferably in the window of a business you frequent -- a cafe, kids boutique, etc.

Just send Lloyd a note at if you'd like to take us up on our offer. Do it now. The show is less than two weeks away!

This poster was created by Jim Paul, AKA James Paul. He designed the sleeve for American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees. He's also doing all our posters these days. Check him out at He also fronts the ultimate NYC psychadelic garage band, Undersea Explosion

And, yes, Jim is also the voice of Baldy on Freedom in a Box.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New write-up of variety show on Mommy Poppins

Mommy Poppins is a very easy-to-use site for parents looking for activities, products, etc. Their daily updates are especially well done.

They recently wrote this about our variety show:

New posts related to our variety show themes coming soon. April is our baseball show -- expect lots of useless, but awesome trivia.


Monday, March 22, 2010

New review up on Out With the Kids

This is a cool, very thorough site written by a dad in Pennsylvania. Spend some time there after you read this review, which has lots of good links to learn more about our song subjects.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Book club meeting for East to the Dawn

Our book club for East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler will meet the week of April 5th. We're going to meet at Sycamore, a cozy bar on Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, one night. We also might have a meeting at Book Court on Court Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Check here for meeting times.

Our April book will be about baseball. I'm waiting to hear from Book Court (our favorite local bookstore) can order copies of Only the Ball Was White by Robert Peterson. It's wonderful, but I want to make sure it's still back in print (it was out for a while, then back).


Fela in May

Our long-awaited Fela Kuti-themed variety show is definitely set for May 8th. We had to push the show back in order to have enough time to work with the Brooklyn preschoolers who are writing a song with us for the show.

As I've mentioned, we're going to be joined at this event by members of the cast of Fela!



April variety show: Baseball!

The Deedle Deedle Dees Family Variety Show is going to celebrate the start of the season with a baseball program on April 10th. We're trying to get some players from the Brooklyn Cyclones to join us as well as a representative of the new Jackie Robinson museum they're opening on Varick Street. Let us know if you can help us with either of these things.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our new variety show debuts this Saturday!

The Deedle Deedle Dees Family Variety Show

Debut show: Little Red Airplane!
A celebration of Women Who Fly, Fight, Write, and Rock!

- The Deedle Deedle Dees performing songs about Nellie Bly, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Hanson Robinson, Sojourner Truth, Emily Roebling, Susan B. Anthony, and other women we admire. We'll also be performing a brand-new song based on Mathilda and the Orange Balloon by Randall de Sève!

- Randall de Sève, author of Toy Boat, reading from her new book, Mathilda and the Orange Balloon

- Kid singers and emcees

- The Red Hook Ramblers!

- Ali Hammer!

- Free balloons (orange ones, of course!)

- A goodie bag for every family

The Knitting Factory 361 Metropolitan Ave Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

$10 a person, $20 a family

upcoming variety shows: April 10, May 8

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Deedle Deedle Dees / Red Hook Ramblers Winter Tour

The Deedle Deedle Dees and the Red Hook Ramblers are starting our two-week tour of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas this week. Below is the full schedule, including evening performances.

Who are the Red Hook Ramblers? The Ramblers are NYC's premier Dixieland band. Chris Johnson (AKA Booker Dee) plays banjo and piano with them. On our new album, the Ramblers play the horn parts on "Growl Growl," "Xu Lapi Knewel, New Jersey," and "Bring 'Em In." On the road, they'll be adding horns, guitars, lap steel, banjo, and other stuff to many more songs. And at night, the Deedle Deedle Dees will turn into their back-up band, performing old-timey jazz, blues, and other great party music.

Key to schedule below:
DDDs = Family concert featuring the Deedle Deedle Dees. Open to the public. Ages 0 and up.
RHRs = Old-time jazz/ blues/ soul / more. Nothing inappropriate for kids, but most of these shows will conflict with bedtime

Tuesday, Feb. 23 - Cleveland, OH
DDDs: Cleveland Heights Library 7pm (school-aged show)
Weds, Feb. 24 - Cleveland, OH
DDDs: Cleveland Heights Library 11am (preschool show)

Thurs, Feb. 25th - Knoxville, TN
DDDs: WDVX Blue Plate Special 12noon
Live radio taping with audience! They said we could invite a couple of elementary school classes but we haven't yet -- know any schools within walking distance of this studio?

Fri, Feb. 26th - Little Rock, AR
DDDs - School shows all day
DDDs live on KARN News Radio, details soon

Sat, Feb. 27th - Little Rock, AR
DDDs: Clinton Presidential Library 10:30am

Sun, Feb. 28th - Nashville, TN
DDDs: Davis-Kidd Booksellers 2pm
2121 Green Hills Village Dr
Nashville, TN 37215-2601
(615) 385-2645

Tues, March 2nd - Lexington, KY
RHRs: Transylvania University 7pm
Open to students and faculty only.

Weds, March 3rd
Lexington, KY
DDDs: Lexington Public Library 10:30 am
Frankfurt, KY
DDDs: school shows all afternoon
Lexington, KY
DDDs: Curtains at 8 on WUKY Public Radio 8pm
Listen live at
RHRs: Gumbo Ya Ya 10pm

Thurs, March 4th - Athens, OH
RHRs - Casa Cantina 10:30 pm

Sat, March 6th - Pittsburgh, PA
DDDs: Saturday Light Brigade 11am
LIVE radio taping with audience!
DDDs: 2pm -- Pittsburgh Children's Museum 2pm