Mr. Richard & the Pound Hounds
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Mr. Richard & the Pound Hounds

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"KidVid 2008 Champion: "Cheese" - Mr. Richard"

KidVid 2008 Champion: "Cheese" - Mr. Richard
For a variety of non-music-related reasons, I've been slack in formally noting this on the front page of the site, but I wanted to extend my congratulations to Florida's Mr. Richard, who took on all comers in KidVid Tournament 2008, and took the title of KidVid Tournament 2008 with the help of a most remarkable fanbase. (I always knew he had an active fanbase -- I had no idea just how active until the Tournament.)

Congratulations to him and all the other performers (especially New York's The Jimmies, who took on Mr. Richard with their video for "Cheese" and together broke all commenting records to smithereens in their epic semifinal matchup, extended.) I don't quite know what form KidVid Tournament 2009 will take, but it'll be here...

"Review in Brief: Polka Dot Puzzle - Mr. Richard"

I can't say that I've been the biggest Mr. Richard fan in the past. On his first couple CDs, while they were enjoyable enough, I just couldn't quite hear what it was that attracted Florida-based Richard Peeples one of the most devoted fanbases in the genre. It might have been me, but more likely it was that Peeples' live show didn't translate perfectly to disk.

But with his most recent disk, Polka Dot Puzzle, I think Mr. Richard finally has a CD that will play well with those who won't get to hear his live show. Musically, the album covers a broad stylistic range, from the sunny pop-rock of "Treehouse" to the lo-fi "Woo Woo Truck" to the Italian pastiche of the jokey "Cheese." Such stylistic diversity is not rare anymore in the genre (if it ever was), but at least it's well-done. Check out the horns on "Bubble Bath" -- it's little well-thought-out additions such as those that elevate songs from pedestrian to something kinda special. I also need to commend "Butterfly Day," on which Lunch Money's Molly Ledford sweet voice harmonizes nicely with Peeples' gruff one.

Lyrically, Mr. Richard is definitely in tune with his inner 7-year-old, such as on "Treehouse." "Sorry, there's no girls allowed / But it's OK since you brought your dog / It's way cooler than the Honeycomb Hideout." (OK, perhaps that last line really shows he's in tune with his own inner 7-year-old.) I can hear how, even without his backing musicians, the songs here (even the ones I didn't enjoy as much) would really communicate kids ages 3 through 8. Right now you can hear "Treehouse" at his Myspace page or sample all the tracks at the album's CDBaby page.

At barely 24 minutes in length (with 2 1/2 minutes of that a "hello" song and a "goodbye" song), Polka Dot Puzzle is barely more than an EP. But it's a fun EP, and one showcases Mr. Richard's strengths, even to those who probably won't be hearing him live any time soon. Recommended.

- December 26, 2007

"Parenting Picks Ages 5-8"

by Erika Milvy

"Richard Peeples' skewered melodies, groovin' guitar, and zany lyrics about pigs, fish, and underwear rival the sound of kid-fave They Might Be Giants."
- Parenting Magazine, May 2005

"They've Got The Beat!"

- by Billy Heller

Start Your Year On The Right Note

It's hard to pinpoint trends in children's music - but that hasn't stopped us from coming up with our own spin on what's happening in a field that's growing as fast as the kids themselves...

Here's more about the Socks and other platters that matter:

THE DIRTY SOCK FUNTIME BAND: "Mr. Clown and the Day the Sun Got Wet"

ASHEBA: "No More Monkeys"

LUNCH MONEY: "Silly Reflection"

DAN ZANES: "Parades and Panoramas"

THE MUDCAKES: "Songs for Little Monkeys"

MR. RICHARD: "Might As Well Sing"

Mr. Richard (Richard Peeples) was born in Louisiana, moved to Mississippi in sixth grade and now lives in Florida. So why is there a song called "Long Island Railroad Blues" on his album? He says he owes it to a girlfriend from Long Island. While most of the disc is pretty folky, one song that caught our attention is garage rocky "Sammy Snake", a hip ode to a hipless animal.

- The New York Post, January 8, 2005

"Tots flock to hear 'Mr. Richard' sing"


It's not even 10 a.m. and already the crowd at the Chick-fil-A in Winter Springs is elbow-to-elbow. With more than half the group age 5 and younger, bystanders might think there are some hungry youngsters in there.

But it's not the food that's bringing them in. It's the tunes. More specifically, it's Mr. Richard .

You probably won't hear him on mainstream radio stations and if you don't have young kids, you wouldn't know him at all. But among the preschool set in Central Florida, Mr. Richard has become the gold standard for music.

For the past three years, Richard Peeples, the man behind songs that include "Milking It" and "Stinkeroo!," has been packing local bookstores, libraries, toy stores and fast-food restaurants with free concerts that bring in people by the hundreds.

With funny lyrics (one of his songs is about underwear) and a vocal range that goes from pig snorts to opera-style singing, Peeples easily keeps kids entertained. But, more importantly, he's been able to captivate the adults (mostly moms and dads) who buy his CDs and drive their kids to the concerts.

"I think his appeal is that his songs are real, the music is good and even though the lyrics are kid-like, they are not childish," said DeLand resident Christine Tamayo, 37, whose three kids -- ages 7, 5 and 3 -- enjoy the music. "I've even caught myself listening to his album, even though I dropped the children off at school an hour before."

It's attitudes like Tamayo's, and countless other parents, that keeps Peeples going. He's set to put out his third CD in December called "Polka Dot Puzzle."

Already, his first two CDs -- "Might As Well Sing" and "Tummy Talk" -- have sold about 2,000 each. Even though he never set out to be a children's music star, it's something he was meant to do. He's happy to take his music wherever it might go and thrilled to introduce a new generation to music and instruments.

Peeples, 46, first picked up a guitar when he was a teenager -- with The Beach Boys, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones as his strongest influences as a young adult -- and has hardly put it down since.

Raised in Louisiana and Mississippi, Peeples worked at Walt Disney World attractions, as a park ranger in Colorado and, back in Florida, as a storyteller at Orange County libraries. All the time, his guitar and the catchy lyrics floating around in his head were never far away.

In 2004, after recording his first album, Peeples quit his storytelling job and had his first concert at an Orlando park. The concert was packed with families he met during his five-year tenure with Orange County libraries and the CD sold quickly, he said.

"From quitting one day to the next day that happening -- covering my rent and all my bills in a one-hour gig -- I think I did the right thing," he said. "I didn't really look back. I never got scared or anything."

Since then, Peeples' success has been based on word-of-mouth. Besides playing private birthday parties, Peeples (who got the name Mr. Richard from his young fans) plays at libraries, Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores and Chick-fil-A, among other places, across Central Florida.

"I started off with eight people signed up for my e-mail list," he said. "Now, I have like 900 and something on my e-mail list. And they forward it to other people."

Virginia Torgler, marketing director for the Chick-fil-A in Winter Springs, said she heard about Peeples from customers and is happy to have the shows because they're good, clean fun.

"He appeals to the moms and the kids," she said. "I think he's fun -- he's our audience."

Every show starts out pretty much the same. Fans arrive hours early to claim a seat -- and this particular Thursday at Barnes & Noble in east Orlando was no different.

By the time he introduced himself to start the show, more than 200 parents and kids clamored to get closer to Peeples and hear the tunes.

He's always got his instruments -- a guitar and a harmonica, among other things -- nearby. But also at every show is a gaggle of young fans -- some who bring their own guitars -- standing by his side and ready to mimic his every move, down to brow swipes and facial expressions.

It's mostly boys who bring out their guitars, Peeples said. But one of his goals is make the guitar appealing to girls, too.

"I wanted to hopefully spark some girls to pick up some instruments. It always seems like boys play guitar," he said. "If the only thing that comes out of me being on Earth is that I got some girls to play the guitar, I would go happy."

cut and paste this address into your browser to see the article online with photography and audio
- Daytona Beach News Journal 10.03.07

"Mr. Richard"

Mr. Richard is a very popular kids' music performer from Florida who has released three CDs of music for kids. Last year, I received Richard's 2nd CD, Tummy Talk, and I enjoyed that, especially the first track, the title track, which has an incredibly catchy funky-bluesy guitar riff, a kickin' pre-chorus ("when your tummy starts talkin' a mile a minute, that's the time you know you gotta put something in it"), and an utterly infectious groove to it. It's an all-around terrific anthem to the noises your stomach can make when it's hungry and was an instant classic for me in the kids' music realm. In fact, I think I may have liked the whole album even better if I didn't keep comparing the rest of it to that first track, which was so hard to measure up to.

Fast forward ahead to this year when Richard's 3rd album, Polka Dot Puzzle, arrives in the mail. I was looking forward to checking it out, having already seen the great video for one of the songs, "Cheese" (see the video below), and the album definitely lived up to my hopes and is a terrific volume of kids' music with a lot of humor and musical fun.

Richard has a tremendous ability for generating catchy guitar riffs, and the jumpy acoustic opening figure on Polka Dot Puzzle's second track, "Treehouse", is a nice example of that. The emphasis on "E" in the chorus ("tree-E-house") is a little strange, but it's a good hook, nonetheless. "The Woo Woo Truck" is a very cool tune in the vein of The Violent Femmes, describing what to do when you hear a fire engine coming by.

"Bubble Bath" has an amazing squirrely funk riff and some nice horn licks as Richard adds a laundry list of the things you can make with the bubbles in your bath; a bubble beard, a bubble wig, etc. "Straw Slot", about a kid with a missing tooth, sounds like John Mellencamp meets the Byrds and has yet another catchy guitar riff and funny lines like "I look like Alfred E. Neuman when I smile".

The "Pots n' Pans" track is one that is probably more "appreciated" than "enjoyed", what with its Stomp-y clinging and clanging of actual pots and pans throughout, but it's a nice testament to the rhythmic and musical possibilities available all around you.

The song "Pooch Smooch" is a real blues-rock gem with some wonderfully distorted harmonica, and there's a fun video for that which you can see below. One quibble about the production of the song... There's a point in each chorus when there are kids screaming in reaction to the dog kissing them, but the screaming is a really loud, blood-curdling kind of screech that seems to imply the terror of "I fell into a pool of sharks with a big gash on my leg" and not "my dog just slobbered all over me... ewww, gross!"

"Butterfly Day" is a jangly pop tune sung along with Molly Ledford that reminds me of the great pop songs for kids that Roger Day produces. The album also begins and ends with "Hello, everybody" and "goodbye, everybody" tracks, which is something you hear now and then on kids' albums, but these are done very well and do invite you into the album and leave you feeling good at the end.

It wouldn't be right for me to cover Mr. Richard and keep it real without mentioning that, well... if he was a contestant on a show like American Kids Idol, the celebrity judge equivalent of Randy Jackson would probably be using the term "pitchy" quite a lot. But Mr. Richard has a similar vocal vibe to Barry Louis Polisar, where okay, his vocals aren't the most polished, but his vocal delivery is still very cool and just right in a way that sort of represents the spirit or voice of a kid.

It's time to go off on one of my tangents here... it's been a while... Thinking of the impact of the song "Tummy Talk" as the first track on that album, it brings to mind the importance of the track order on CDs and what a difficult decision that often is. I recall many years ago making an observation that a lot of albums from my favorite bands and artists seemed to have the big hit song as the 3rd or 4th track. I'm sure there are a million exceptions to that, but remembering that observation now I think the reasoning for that may be that if you always put that big first single as the first track on the album, then it might create an expectation for the album that is difficult to live up to. Also, a lot of times the hit single song might be a little poppier than the rest of the tracks on a rock album, or it might be a ballad on an album of otherwise upbeat songs, so if you put it first then there is a false sense of what the album and/or the artist is really about.

So with that thinking, the best track to put first is probably something that is cool and inviting and memorable and representative of the artist and the album, and makes you want to listen further, but isn't really the knock-out song that the first single is intended to be. By the time you reach that knock-out track at the 3rd or 4th slot, you're already hooked big-time and though the rest of the album still may not match up to that hit song, initially, at least... you're likely to appreciate it for what it is and will probably grow to love some of the other songs more than that big hit, once they get under your skin.

I'm not necesarily saying that Mr. Richard should have put the song "Tummy Talk" 3rd or 4th on his Tummy Talk album instead of 1st... Maybe it would have been better, from my point of view, at least... But he did what he felt was right for his album for his taste and for his fans and so that's fine. And certainly an argument can be made that people are fickle with what they listen to and if something doesn't really grab them right away, there goes your chance to grab them at all... in which case maybe your very best track should be the first one on the album. I should also admit that I am absolutely not an expert in this regard, having second-guessed the track order on three of my four kids' CDs and even resequencing one of them when reordering more copies after its second run. I can say that my next album feels just right in its track sequencing in terms of the flow that it has, and I think that may be the most important consideration, as opposed to thinking about what songs are the standouts and where they fall in the mix.

Anyway, just thought I'd share a few thoughts about that, since it came up... It may even become moot before too long as musical buying and listening habits seem to gravitate more and more towards the downloadable single, as opposed to the album. I hope that the album never dies entirely, though, as it is always nice to share a lengthier slice of musical time with a talented artist who has created a group of songs that work really well together... like, for example, Mr. Richard's Polka Dot Puzzle!

- 03.17.08

"Sweet Relief"

by Jim Abbott

"Parents' suffering ends, kids are happy. Insipid and inane have gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Barney is really a dinosaur now.

Parents will always be called on to make sacrifices for their kids, but suffering through mind-numbing songs apparently isn't required anymore. A new breed of kid-friendly performers is making music that everyone can enjoy.

"If you want children to grow up and value music, then you have to introduce them to music when they are young," says Elizabeth Wimberley-Bernbaum, 36, a Maitland mother of two young children who enjoys the new trend. "What are you teaching them to like?

Richard Peeples, an Orlando children's performer who launched his career as "Mr. Richard" after working as a library storyteller, echoes that sentiment. He started his music career playing with Mississippi blues-rocker Jimbo Mathus, who still contributes to Mr. Richard music.

Mr. Richard's whimsical songs go by such titles as "Airplane Jane" and "Stinkeroo!," the latter about, well, things that stink. In one of his typical nods to adults, the finale includes a snippet of the distinctive guitar riff from Lynyrd Skynyrd's "That Smell." A song about underwear is also an audience favorite.

How is it that a guy who wanted to be a rock star back in his 20s can enjoy doing such silly songs? Peeples says it was an easy transition.

"I love kids and music, so it was a great combination for me," says Peeples, 45. "Many times, I prefer their company to grown-ups' because they are so straight with you and so funny. I never talk to a kid like they're a little baby. I talk to them like they are friends. They're people, but they're really short."

Family music

Observers don't see the new wave of children's entertainers falling into the same image problems that befell Barney. The key is to do music that involves the whole family.

"With anything in children's entertainment, you can oversaturate the market," says Sloan Coleman, the president of Wiggles Live USA Inc. "I've seen it with live characters or animated characters, you always have that worry, 'Are we taking it too far?' "

The Wiggles, an Australian quartet that has found a platform on the Disney Channel, began the transition from the Barney era. Three of the four members have degrees in preschool education; three of the four also once played in a rock band called the Cockroaches.

Somehow, those elements became the Wiggles: "Four adults that were a band for children," Coleman says.

Turns out the kids aren't the only ones listening.

- Orlando Sentinel, September 24, 2006

"If I Hear That One More Time..."

by Mary Ann Horne

Our friend Mr. M., father of a baby and a preschooler, suggests we post something about "music kids will love that won't drive parents crazy." I know exactly what he means. Some music for young kids can be insipid, irritating, idiotic -- and it can stick to the inside of a parent's brain like Super Glue!

It doesn't have to be that way. There is a genre -- taking hold in Central Florida and elsewhere -- of lively music that the whole family can enjoy -- really enjoy. If you're eager to move beyond The Wiggles and Sesame Street, read on for information about CDs, live performances, downloads and Web sites that can liberate your ears!!!

To kick off the music party, Mr. M. hooked me up with three cool blogs where parent-friendly kid music is reviewed and discussed: Zoogobble, Children's Music that Rocks, and Head, Shoulders, Knees and all that. The Head, Shoulders blog also goes all out to link music to early childhood education and has lots of fun suggestions for listening and learning with your kids.

One interesting thing about these blogs is that they are all reviewing and talking about different stuff. There are lots of artists creating wonderful music for kids and parents to share.

In Central Florida, we have a jewel in Richard Peeples a.k.a Mr. Richard, whom fellow blogger Sandra Pedicini wrote about last month. Mr. Richard uses lots of music styles to showcase his whimsical lyrics. He also invites other musicians whom you might not immediately associate with kids' music -- such as Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers fame -- to put extra punch on select tracks. And he performs around the area often.

In a completely different style, The Forefathers, a local group that plays original world music, is popular with kids and parents. Their music is energizing and their events are often family-oriented, because -- as the name implies -- they have some kids. The Forefathers are big at Ms. E's Fabulous Preschool. And not just because some of the moms there are married to band members!!

Like me, Mr. M. is a fan of Dan Zanes, formerly of the Del Fuegos and now the king of Dan Zanes & Friends, where "regardless of your age, size or temperament, if you like to sing along and dance with wild abandon, this music is for you!" The CDs are littered with star power including Sheryl Crow, Roseanne Cash, Lou Reed and many, many others.

We also like They Might Be Giants. (They do the theme song for Disney Channel's "Higglytown Heroes.") They have a musical DVD that my Little Chairman loves called "Here Come the ABCs." Trust me, the alphabet has never been so cool. But be warned that not all TMBG music is child-friendly, so you need to look for the kid-specific selections.

Or you can follow the example of my fellow Parent Place blogger Steven Ford who describes some "mix" CDs he burns for his little ones: "I burn songs I like and mix them with Disney tunes or kid sing-along tunes. That way, you might hear Radiohead, then "Wish Upon a Star" then Led Zep and then "Hot Potato" from the Wiggles, etc."

So there you are. Lots of ideas and info, and almost all these links lead you to other places where you can find more new family music. Go for it. And, as always, report back to Parent Place on what you find out there.

- Orlando Sentinel, July 6, 2006

"A Chat with Mr. Richard"

- Sandra Pedicini on Jun 3, 2006

"I have so many parents say their glad I came along. They don't have to listen to the Wiggles any more." - Mr. Richard.

If you're a parent in Central Florida, there's a good chance you've heard Richard Peeples, better known as Mr. Richard, play around town. If you haven't, you should check him out - and soon, because he's starting to get attention outside Orlando. Parenting magazine last year named his first children's CD Might As Well Sing one of its Parenting Picks, and the New York Post called it one of a few kids' "platters that matter." Mr. Richard plays kids' music, with an attitude: clever lyrics and a bluesy style that's just as fun for you as it is for your preschoolers.

I first discovered Mr. Richard a few months ago, singing to a group of kids at the new Lake Eola farmers' market about losing his toes. I saw him again at Borders, where he often plays these days. I had "Airplane Jane" running through my head the rest of the day. "Airplane Jane, with no last name, she flies so high up in the sky, says hi to birds..."

Mr. Richard is back in town now, after recently returning from a tour of Tennessee and Mississippi. He also recently signed with a new label, 219 Records, and hopes to eventually entertain kids around the country.

For now, you'll still often find him at local bookstores, usually on Friday and Saturday mornings. Mr. Richard has a Web site with his latest local tour dates on it. (You can also book him for birthday parties, for $75.)

You can check out his music at – which lets you listen to samples of other kids' music as well - such as some of Mr. Richard's favorites: Ralph Covert, Dan Zanes, and the Dirty Fox Funtime Band. I also recommend Milkshake, another kids' artist that Mr. Richard mentioned when I chatted with him recently.

Mr. Richard played in rock bands, worked at Disney and told stories at the Orlando Public Library before finding his niche as a children's songwriter and singer. He began combining storytelling with his love of music at the Orlando Public Library and soon a new career was born.

Mr. Richard doesn't have kids of his own. "I don't have children but I know so many children," he said recently. "I feel like I have kids for 30 minutes at a time."

Among his classics: "Underwear." When playing to children, he said, it's a topic that can't go wrong. The idea for the "Please Don't Tell Me You're Going to Wear that Superhero Costume Again Blues" came from a friend whose young son wore the same Spider Man costume for days on end. My personal favorite is "Airplane Jane." The idea for that song came from a friend at the library who used Airplane Jane as her e-mail moniker.

"Music just makes them so happy," he said of the children he entertains. "You just get such a good feeling, such a good vibe off kids. They don't hide anything."

Another advantage of playing to such a young audience: "They don't smoke."

But they can get plenty wild. Mr. Richard remembers how once when he was performing at a Presbyterian day school, a group of girls got on stage and started dancing so hard they knocked some of his equipment to the floor. Yikes!
- Orlando Sentinel

"Interview: Mr. Richard"

Florida's Mr. Richard has no kids of his own, but he's got plenty of fans in the single-digit set. He has three albums of kids' music to his credit, the most recent being Polka Dot Puzzle, and a most devoted fanbase (which helped him take the 2008 KidVid Tournament crown for his "Cheese" video).

Mr. Richard (real name: Richard Peeples) recently sat down and answered a few questions about himself and his music. Read onward for his thoughts on his guitar influences, the problem with delayed gratifications and kids, and the most perfect pop song ever.

Zooglobble: What were your musical influences growing up?
Mr. Richard: When I was little, I knew all the words to “Bottle Of Wine” by the Fireballs, and my brother and I wore the grooves off our copy of “The Jungle Book”, which gave us an early appreciation of Louis Prima. Like most kids, I heard what my parents listened to on records and the radio, so that meant the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and all those great AM pop hits of the late 60’s/early 70’s.

When I started learning the guitar in 9th grade, I was totally into the Rolling Stones, so it was all about Keith Richards. He’s such a rhythm master. I also loved Hendrix and Brian May, but it was Keith’s licks I tried to copy, although my playing is closer to another hero, Dave Davies of the Kinks. However, I am first drawn to the words and emotion in a song, so I always ended up being the front man in bands, with better guitarists handling the gun-slinging duties.

Since you never stop “growing up”, other favorites are the Beach Boys, Elvis Costello, Replacements, Young Fresh Fellows, Wilco, Guided By Voices, and I am drawn to smart-alecks like Todd Snider and Randy Newman.

How did you find yourself playing kids' music?

I always enjoyed the company of kids, even when I was a teenager (which is totally uncool, I know), and worked in children’s theater in college. Working at Disney World puts you in front of lots of children, and in the National Park Service my fellow rangers knew I actually liked getting “stuck” with a school group.

In 1999, I landed a job at the Orlando Public Library as a storyteller, and that was the first time it occurred to me to combine my love of music with entertaining children. I began with traditional kids’ songs, and then performed covers of other children’s artists, which naturally led to writing my own tunes. I left the working world when my first album was finished, in 2004.

What do you prefer -- writing songs, recording songs, or playing them live?
All three are fun parts of the whole process. Writing is great because there are no rules: words first, then melody, or vice versa; there’s no one saying, “You can’t do that”. Recording is always such a journey of discovery, taking a rough sketch and turning it into something full and colorful. But to answer your question, playing your own songs live is such a blast, and when kids laugh and sing and dance to them, that’s the reward.

Where do you get inspiration for writing kids' songs? Has that become easier the longer you've played?
Many ideas are directly from children; listening to them (or eavesdropping), or anecdotes told by their parents. Other inspiration comes from my own childhood, trying to remember feelings and places and things, and frankly, I often think like a child. It’s a gift, really, to have a kid’s sense of wonderment about the world, although it has cost me a girlfriend or two in the past. And yes, writing for kids has become easier. My love of pop music serves me well in the melody department, and by the way, the most perfect pop song ever is “Head Over Heels” by the Go-Go’s, if you were wondering!

What's the hardest part about playing live for kids? The easiest?
Speaking as a full-blooded musician, the hardest part is showing up on time. That, and volume. The volume from the PA has to be low so as to not harm little ears, but loud enough to be heard over the moms’ talking. Any mom will tell you: they don’t get out enough, and when they see other moms, they have lots of catching up to do! So, the chatter level just gets higher and higher as a show proceeds, but I love it because that means they’re having a good time.

The easiest thing about one of my gigs is the kids just shout out the titles, so I don’t have to think about what’s next. Sometimes I do explain that when they are grown and go to a show, they may have to wait for their favorite song to appear near the end, but they usually don’t want to hear a speech about delayed gratification.

What are the differences between playing a small store/library show and something bigger (an outdoor show)? Which do you prefer?
Well, I like both, because of the differences. A small, intimate setting is great for kids to comment and ask questions face-to-face, and allows me to sort of play off that. It’s another thing entirely to have 500 elementary students in the cafetorium singing the chorus to “Underwear” acappella, waving their arms; that makes me feel like Bruce Springsteen. Oh, the power!

You have a very devoted fanbase, probably the most devoted I've seen -- what do you attribute that to?
It must be my charm and good looks! Actually they could best answer that; but kids like the songs, and nothing is more gratifying than playing to a totally new audience and having them embrace my tunes and dance. Plus I think I’m an honest performer, in that I’m just being myself, and everyone at a show is a part of it, like a gang of friends for that moment in time. Thanks, by the way, for mentioning my fans, I praise them in every interview I’ve done. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the moms (and dads) who bring the kids to my shows every week. I pinch myself when I think how lucky I am to do this for a living, and I owe it all to my loyal fans!

You still play in an "adult" band -- how has your relationship/ participation in the band changed since you've become increasingly busy with your kids' music?
To the point that it just isn’t happening any more. I play an average of 30 kids’ shows a month (I should mention that I don’t have children of my own), and at opposite hours of “regular” musicians. Grown-up shows are at 9, 10, 11 pm, and mine are 12 hours later. But my musician friends are totally supportive and love to play on my albums, my old friend Matt McWhirter being integral to my work.

The past six months I’ve been so lucky to have Rick and Rachel, a mom and dad (not married to each other) play drums and bass. They went from bringing their kids to see me to being on stage. Like good troupers, they love playing so much they even show up to play the non-paying bookstore gigs. So now I have a band of adults playing kiddie rock, which has always been a long-term goal, and we are able to play some of my rocking tunes that don’t really work when I’m the solo/acoustic guy.

What's next for you?
Onward and upward! Like any musician, I want my next album to be better than the last, my next show to reach more new fans, etc. The thought occurred to me that I could stay right here in Orlando and perform the same set for the next 20 years, because not only do kids love repetition, they are a renewable resource: new ones just keep coming along. But I want to share my music with as many families as possible, so more road trips are in my future. Fame and fortune are not as important as being part of kids having fun. It’s my mission on Earth.

- 06.12.08


Might As Well Sing (2004)
Tummy Talk (2005)
Polka Dot Puzzle (2007)



“...among the preschool set in Central Florida, Mr. Richard has become the gold standard for music.” Daytona Beach News-Journal

When kids gotta rock, there’s only one choice: Mr Richard & the Pound Hounds. A Mr. Richard show is always packed with happy kids who sing and dance around like girl pilots, race like fire trucks, soar like butterflies and shimmy like snakes. Solo or with the Hounds, Mr Richard plays over 400 shows a year.

Richard hails from Shreveport, Louisiana, and listened to the Kinks, Go-Go’s and Replacements while playing his guitar. After a stint playing covers in bar bands and frat parties, Richard recorded his first children's album, "Might As Well Sing," with the help of Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers/Buddy Guy fame:
... one of six new kids' "Platters That Matter": New York Post
..."Parenting Pick" for 5-8 year-olds: Parenting magazine
...Children's Music Web Awards: Best Recording for Children Ages 5-8 & Best Song ("Underwear")

This debut album was followed by “Tummy Talk” and “Polka Dot Puzzle,” and now Mr Richard & the Pound Hounds (Rachel Webb on bass/vocals; Rick Hartig on drums) regularly rock out the swingset crowd in venues ranging from the local bookstore to the Kid's Tent at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston. “Playing for kids is such a kick,” says Richard, “they hear that drumbeat and just go nuts, just like their parents did not so long ago.” In fact, the grown-ups are included in these pop-rockers’ dance-along rave-up sets, because they can’t sit still, either.

If you want the whole family rocking at your event, you’re sure to please when Mr Richard & the Pound Hounds are on the bill!

“terrific...Richard has a tremendous ability for generating catchy guitar riffs” Cool Tunes For Kids

“...injects a refreshing dose of the South into kids' music” Allmusic

“Music to our ears--Orlando’s Mr. Richard is steering kids music on the high road” Orlando Sentinel

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