A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a great record for younger kids, in an age when they're getting buried by clips of modern pop music everywhere they turn. It's American folk, blues, and bluegrass done in a way to maximize the sing-along factor and clarity of lyrics. It's also gentle in a fun way.
What's the story?
SING ALONG WITH PUTUMAYO does a great job featuring songs once vital to the fabric of American music. For adults, it may bring back a grandparent's lullaby or a hauntingly great song once heard in an old movie. For kids, it's about reassuring and clear lyrics from gentle singers, backed by real music, that doubles as a way to ingrain some old classics into the subconscious. Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton do a beautifully simple version of "You Are My Sunshine" that will make parents want to grab their kids and squeeze them until the song is done. One of the best moments of the CD is when Keb'Mo' takes a step outside the classic format to softly groove on the O'Jays' 1970s hit, "Love Train." It's a song that, when stripped down enough to make the words stand out, delivers a solid message of togetherness. If that gets a bit too mellow for antsy kids, Rosie Flores gets them up dancing with a swinging "Red Red Robin."
Is it any good?
Once again, Putumayo has shown skill in selecting a format and artists to aptly fit a non-mainstream format. With artists like Arlo Guthrie, Keb'Mo', Rosie Flores, and Taj Mahal, the record has instant credibility. Though the content is meant for a young audience, the warm guitars, happy fiddle, and dab of real soul music (Rufus Thomas makes it abundantly clear that the farmer we all know and love, Old MacDonald, has needed to get down with his bad self for years) won't be lost on adults. Unlike lots of perceived children's music, which can get old quick, Sing Along with Putumayo is done so well, with a timely format, that it's bound to become a lasting family favorite.