The Morning Announcements are a collaboration of musicians from Norfolk, Virginia, featuring members of power pop band The Mockers, and guest musicians, Eugene Edwards and Walter Clevenger. Here, their collective experience has been harnessed into a musical fusion of country pop for kids, and the result is this fabulous single "Don't Leave Recess in Pieces".
Now I'm no expert on country music as it's not really my cup of tea, but this particular song helped to change my mind. The energy and vitality of the song is unmistakable, and it is delivered with supreme confidence that resonates throughout the track. Furthermore, it is in essence a health and safety song, with the title succinctly expressing the importance of good behaviour and general well-being.
The song is uptempo and easy to dance to, beginning with a somewhat jangly intro, before crashing straight into the chorus. The chorus itself is quite anthemic, repeating the words 'don't leave' in a reciprocal pattern, where the words return with gusto through a melting microphone. It is also worth mentioning, that this song doesn't take much time to grow on you, it is incredibly catchy, and grabs your attention immediately.
The verses are short and sweet, and the lyrics whimsical and instructive, reminding the kids that rules are there for a reason, and it's in your own interest to follow them. Whether that involves heeding the bell when it rings, or making sure you don't leave a mess in the playground. The vocal delivery is almost Dylanesque, but this time with life lessons aimed squarely at the kids.
The instrumentation is refreshingly live, with a wandering melodic bass, punchy drums and a quite exquisite guitar part towards the end. The song finishes as it began with the chorus, but this time repeated by a vocalist eager to sing it again 'one more time'.
There is nothing contrived about this song, it is live and authentic, and despite its somewhat serious message is also great fun. As a result, it manages to both instruct and entertain, and does so in a non patronising manner. From my experience as a teacher, getting children to return to the classroom after recess is a perennial problem and this song might just provide the solution.
To fully appreciate the song, you should also check out the accompanying video featuring vintage footage of children navigating the school playground with varying degrees of success. All in all great energy, and a great message, maybe I should give country music a closer look, there is certainly a lot out there.
The Morning Announcements - safe and sound.