No Annoying Baby Talk

Putumayo Kids Presents Folk Playground (Putumayo World Music)

Various Artists

By Cricket Bidwell

Putumayo Kids, a division of Putumayo World Music, has released a CD for children that avoids the cloying, forced sweetness that I usually find kids' music to be. The disc brings together some of the biggest names in folk and children's music today, including Eric Bibb, Brady Rymer (formerly of From Good Homes) and '80s rocker Michelle Shocked.

A few are songs I remember from my early years, such as "Polly Wolly Doodle," "Froggie Went a Courtin'" and "This Old Man," but there are a few new ones, like Rymer's "It's All How You Look At It," with lyrics that some adults I know could take a lesson from: "It's all how you look at it and how you look at it's really up to you." It's all about little girls playing house in a cardboard box and boys in their pot and pan bands, imaginations running full force.

The cult figure Leon Redbone makes an appearance on "Polly Wolly Doodle," giving it a nice jazzy-bluesy feel. Trout Fishing in America chime in with "Fill It Up," a lovely ditty about ice cream and growing up. One of the best things about this collection of songs is how the musicians understand that children don't need to be spoken to as if they only have half a brain - not one song is delivered in that annoying style that so many adults seem to take with little ones. There's no "baby talk" here.

Honestly, this disc is as much fun for adults as it is for kids - the melodies and harmonies are bouncy and light and it's interesting to note the different takes on kid's classics these artists bring.

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