Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family,
Go Waggaloo
(Smithsonian Folkways, 2009)

Go Waggaloo is a collection of children's songs written by various members of the Guthrie family. Although Sarah Lee gets the main credit, it's very much a family affair. She, her husband Johnny Irion, father Arlo, various Guthrie children and family friends such as Pete Seeger and Tao Rodriguez Seeger all sing and play on the record and the songs. Sarah Lee, though, does get most of the leads.

The main charm of the album is its living-room feel. It doesn't sound like a professionally produced album and, in this case, that's a compliment. It's as though everyone is sitting around the fireplace singing and clapping along, tossing in a rough, untested harmony here and there or singing unison on the chorus. Go Waggaloo is roughhewn and homemade, definitely not sanded smooth at the edges.

The songs -- some, like the title song, written from lyrics that Woodie Guthrie, the family patriarch, left behind -- celebrate the ordinary moments of a kid's life, like walking in your daddy's shoes. going to show and tell, and dancing on a bright, clear day. Pete Seeger leads on a couple of traditional songs and everybody seems to be having a very good time.

Young kids will have a good time listening.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

16 January 2010

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