Today I start reviewing children’s CDs on an infrequent (yet hopefully regular) basis. I’ve been adding children’s CDs to our collection for some time now with the anticipation of playing music for the wee one, and so far it’s a fun experience. I picked up this CD over the past week to complete my Amazon order:
The Smithsonian Folkways Children’s Music Collection is a nice array of children’s folksongs that the peeps at the Smith have assembled for today’s music consumer. As someone who would like to show my kids that there is more music than the Barneyfication or Kidsbopification of crappy songs, this is a great addition to any library. Artists like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, even Leadbelly joins in on the fun.
Naysayers will say “oh, but there’s too many depressing songs about coal mines, working in them, and kids working in coal mines.” To those people I say: you’re right. Not for the faint of heart, these songs are a slice of American history — not white-washed for you enjoyment. So there’s a song about a kid having to work in a coal mine. Big deal! Use it to hold over your children’s heads when they won’t make their bed. (“If you don’t finish your vegetables, I’m calling that ol’ mine boss and telling him you’ll be there at the crack of dawn, hammer in hand, ready to swing till the sun go down!”) All kidding aside, this is a great collection. My favorites so far are all the Woody Guthrie songs, the Leadbelly song, and the famous “Yippie-ti-yi-yo, git along little dawgies” song. I’ll probably hunt down Leadbelly Sings For Children as well as as many of the Woody Guthrie collections I can find. Dude had a lot of kids, and wrote a lot of songs for them.
I give this album an A-, if only because some of you might find some songs disturbing for wee ones.