Nick Jr.’s short-lived but totally awesome Jack’s Big Music Show was a gem in a sea of kids-show drivel. Though driven by three puppets — Jack, Mary and doggie Mel — the show featured in-the-flesh guests who brought their favorite instruments and genres to jam with Jack.
1. Buddy Guy
With trademark polka-dot Stratocaster in hand, blues master Buddy Guy plays the King of Swing, and swing he does. The coolest thing about Jack’s is that the guests really played and sang, unlike on some shows on which there would be a whole lotta lip syncing going on. Here, Buddy kicks up a nifty solo while educating kids about jump blues and swing. Even as he enters his twilight years, the bluesman has still got chops — and style for miles.
2. Yolanda Adams
Gospel legend Adams hips viewers to an upbeat gospel number, encouraging everyone to do The Me Dance. The message, of course, is it’s OK to be you; it’s the one thing you can never do wrong. A staple of the show is the Dance Party (Yipeeeeee!), and Adams was the perfect choice for this episode.
3. Dancy Nancy
Speaking of Dance Party (Yipeeeeee!), Dancy Nancy, a celebrity in her own right on Jack’s Big Music Show, would bring the fun. A total nerd on the outside, she could kick a huge groove — and get totally funky. Mel mans — or “dogs” — the turntables, giving kids a hint of hip-hop loops. That was the beauty of this show; its wide variety and authentic representation of genres.
4. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
No, not the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This is just one of those jams that Mary, Mel and Jack perform by themselves. Here they play surf music, adding their own goofy, easy-to-sing-along-with lyrics. Cool thing No. 637 about Jack’s Big Music Show: The puppeteers learn the songs and, as closely as possible, “perform” them. Meaning, Jack’s hands move to the part of the guitar neck that the actual guitarist would be playing. Though kids won’t learn how to play instruments this way, it certainly helps them understand a little more about how music is created.
5. Andrew Bird
The multi-talented Bird, playing “Dr. Strings,” is called in to help the clubhouse crew fix a broken instrument. As always, the jam is fun and bouncy, combining Americana and Paul McCartney-esque pop with Bird’s distinct approach to singing. Guitars, mandolins and violins. Bird fixes them all with a whistle and a smile.