Shake Sugaree: Taj Mahal Sings And Plays For Children

Music review by
Molly Jackel, Common Sense Media
Shake Sugaree: Taj Mahal Sings And Plays For Children Music Poster Image
Bluesman celebrates traditional American art form.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

There's a song about betting and one about pawning everything before going to heaven.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that '"Light Rain," a song about betting on the ponies, and "Shake Sugaree," with its chorus about pawning everything before going to heaven, are strange choices for a children's album. In general, Mahal's light, soulful tone makes up for these odd lyrics.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 and 16-year-old Written byjujubeebop October 30, 2011

Funkalicious bluesy dance music for everybody

I started listening to this album with my oldest who is now 18, and my younger daughter (7), and we still dance to it regularly. It’s always a go-to kids’ music... Continue reading

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What's the story?

Veteran bluesman Taj Mahal guides young listeners through this traditional American art form. (Several tracks are by African-American women, and featured folk songs come from West Africa and the Caribbean.)

Is it any good?

Blues may seem like an ambitious musical choice for young children, but Taj Mahal creates an intimate storytelling atmosphere. His folksy introductions, his two young children (they're the playful back-up singers), and his bright guitar-picking all help make the music accessible to kids.

In "Fishin' Blues," Mahal's sunny guitar-picking and ringing harmonics sound like a warm summer day on a muddy riverbank, inspiring images of jumping fish and glinting water. "Brown Girl in the Ring" is a danceable Caribbean folk song with infectious lyrics. The song's drum machine dance beat is contrived, but Taj's tempo and enthusiasm are disarming. The album ends with "Little Brown Dog," a sweet, melancholy child's dream of riding around the world on a big-eared, long-legged brown dog.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about traditional American folk music after a listen to this album. Most educational value, though, comes from the rhythmic movement and singing this music will inspire.

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