Music Reviews by John Wood

by John Wood

Once again, award-winning Putamayo World Music’s series for kids hits one out of the musical ballpark with Sing Along With Putumayo. A fine complement of talented artists present folk and blues classics in a variety of musical styles. The collection kicks off with a blast from the past with Arlo Guthrie’s “Bling-Blang.” Bob Dylan’s “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” takes a funky turn with Tim O’Brien, and Keb’ Mo and Taj Mahal stylishly overhaul “Love Train” and “Don’t You Push Me Down” respectively. Among other nice performances, the CD closer “I Will Be Your Friend” sums up the meaning and strength of this fine collection.

Putumayo deserves extra praise for its excellent support material. Not only are the informative liner notes in English, Spanish and French, but its Web site,, includes sing-along lyrics, song chords, screen savers and fun facts about different cultures.

Sing Along With Putumayo, Putumayo Kids; $15.98 CD;

Mifflin Lowe, noted humorist and author, has ventured into the children’s music market with a plethora of songs and poems about the strange and true names for groups of animals. Beasts By the Bunches employs a bevy of musical styles that fit the animals' attitudes. The country-western feel of “A Rag of Colts” is appropriately wild and wooly, and it’s easy to imagine some rough-and-tumble miners belting “A Labor of Moles,” shovels and picks at the ready. “A Troop of Kangaroos” takes on a British music-hall feel, and Lowe’s delivery is perfect on the clever poetry of “A Clowder of Cats.” This clever collection tickles the funny bone and informs and educates as it goes.

Beasts By the Bunches, Loco Records; $10.50 CD;
– John Wood

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From United Parenting Publications, May 2004