Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Maria Muldaur's Barnyard Dance

Maria Muldaur's Barnyard Dance

Spring 2011 Music
Ages: All Ages
CD Price: $13.98

Long before the radio ready "Midnight in the Oasis," singer Maria Muldaur began her career in the early 1960s as Maria D'Amato, performing with John Sebastian, David Grisman, and Stefan Grossman as part of the Even Dozen Jug Band and also as a founding member of the seminal Jim Kweskin & His Jug Band. Her career has included flirtations with pop, gospel, blues, rock and jazz. Jug Band Music for Kids is her fourth children's music CD. The album features twelve traditional tunes and cover songs drawn from the classic jug band era. Starting with the childlike "I Like to Ride a Camel," Muldaur set the tone for a very fun musical experience. Smiley Burnette's "Mama Don't Allow No Jugband Music Round Here,"(a variation of J.J Cale's "Mama Don't Allow No Guitar Playing Round Here") also introduces the various instruments that make the music.

Jug band music is a perfect sound for kids because of its homemade qualities and rootsy simple structures, which can be created on everyday objects such as spoons, kazoo, harmonica and pots and pans. In fact, to best experience this CD, we recommend constructing and playing homemade instruments while listening. Highlights from this fine recording include "The Barnyard Dance," which is a southern, vegetable variation of the "Butterfly Ball," while her version of Fats Waller's "Don't Let it Bother You" is pure joy. "Singing in the Bathtub" was originally featured in a 1929 movie and a 1930 cartoon, and spoofs the then popular "Singin' in the Rain, while "Threw It Out the Window" combines classic Mother Goose rhymes with nonsense lyrics for a wonderfully silly effect. Elsewhere, Muldaur tackles Big Bill Broonzy's song of independence "All By Myself," ex-husband's Geoff Muldaur's strange ditty "Under the Chicken Tree" and Cab Calloway's classic "Everybody Eats When They Come To My House." "Circus Song" hails from her days with Kweskin, while Skiffle king Lonnie Donegan's novelty song "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On the Bedpost Overnight)" features Devlin Champlin 's wailing banjo. The album closes with Muldaur revisiting her classic jug Band rendition of Leadbelly's "Relax Your Mind." Muldaur's voice has taken on a pleasing weather-worn rasp in recent years and nothing suits it better than this "down home" music. Jug Band Music for Kids is an album for both kids and their very lucky adult friends to enjoy for some time to come.

Lahri Bond   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

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