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Music Reviews

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March 5, 1997
Music for Children  
Let's start with a pair of kid's reviews by my bride, Gail:

Celebration of Song Various Artists, A Child's Celebration of Song 2 (Music For Little People 1996) -- This is a collection of a dozen songs by numerous talented artists expressing varied musical styles will inspire families to sing and dance together.

Celebration of Song 2 begins with "Iko Iko" by Sebastian the Crab (with vocals by Sam Wright), a tropical tune that kicks off the festival of music. "Thumbellina" sung by Danny Kaye is truly joyous, as well as "Inchworm" sung by Victoria Jackson (both of these great tunes were written by Frank Loesser).

Raffi, an all-time favorite child's singer, performs the up-beat, "Bananaphone." And "Choo Choo Boogaloo" by Buckwheat Zydeco is guaranteed to liven up your day.

Michelle Shocked Michelle Shocked contributes "Flying Lesson," a very special song that is packed with energy and fun. "Flying Lesson" is an excellent song to interact with your children by "flap, flap your wings" and "clap, clap your hands" and "stomp, stomp your feet." (This is our morning exercise song.)

Celebration of Song 2 is rich in rhythms and instrumentations that will perk up your mood: you'll find your child singing along, too. Add the joy of music to your lives - play A Child's Celebration of Song 2.

Big BluesVarious Artists, Big Blues - Blues Music for Kids (Kid Rhino 1996) -- Leib Ostrow (who produced Child's Celebration of Song) also assembled Big Blues, a collection of blues tunes performed by an all-star cast.

Blues lovers, parents and children alike will be drawn to this collection of great classic and creative new songs that contain a musical rainbow of feelings.

The first track is Michelle Shocked's "Flying Lesson," which really gets the album off on the right foot. A favorite around our house is "The Rainy Day Blues" by B. B. King. (I bet you can relate, we had our share this year.)

The album continues with Sonny Terry's great harmony vocals on "Pick a Bale o' Cotton." 70's star Maria Muldaur contributes two tunes -- "Waggy Tailed Dog" and "Candy Store Blues." (Where do they come up with these names?)

"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" by the Fabulous Thunderbirds and "Funky Bluesy ABC's" by Taj Mahal prove that, although the songs are geared toward little folks, the artists are very grownup.

This collection will bring smiles and laughter and inspiration to make the adventure of growing up a little more rich and a little less painful. Big Blues For Kids is an experience you and your children shouldn't miss. Share the joy of music with your family, and support Leib Ostrow's efforts in compiling interesting music for your children.

Graham ParkerGraham Parker, Acid Bubblegum (Razor & Tie 1996) - Seven Graham Parker albums were released (or re-released) in 1996. But only Acid Bubblegum (his 19th release) contains new music.

Showing that he hasn't lost the edge that propelled him from England as one of the angry young men with Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello [though Elvis' principal grudge is directed these days toward women (rather than society)], Parker continues to make edgy, intelligent rock.

Parker encourages fans not to buy the re-issues (such as Heat Treatment), and says, "Consider this: on my last royalty statement from Arista, I owed them $800,000 - so you won't be doing me a favor by buying these old records!"

Continues Parker, "Better to move into the future than to re-tread the same old tired ground. Acid Bubblegum has all of the typical Parker elements you'd expect anyway: extreme hostility ('Turn It In To Hate'), flippancy disguised as extreme hostility ('Bubblegum Cancer'), and complete impenetrable lyrics ("Impenetrable")."

And Parker's description isn't too far off the mark. Recorded with members of the Fuggs, Acid Bubblegum has more of an up-tempo feel than such classic works as The Mona Lisa's Sister (1988). From the bouncy "Bean Counter" to the thought-provoking "The Got It Wrong (As Usual)," Parker continues to turn out good old, pissed-off rock-n-roll. And let's give thanks for that.

-- Randy Krbechek
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