Christina Harrison,
Wee Folk Songs
(Glenanne, 1996)

Christina Harrison's Wee Folk Songs is a cheery mix of the sweet, the silly and the strange with strong appeal for a range of ages. Harrison's lilting Scottish-accented voice is well-suited to her choices, and the simple accompaniments allow her voice to shine.

Some of the songs will be familiar to many listeners, such as "Puff the Magic Dragon," "The Unicorn" and "Mairzy Doats." Others may be new to U.S. listeners, but they are immediately engaging, such as the swinging waltz tempo of "Doon in Egilsay Street" or the ludicrously funny "Skyscraper Wean." In this one, the "wean" (a child) complains that since moving to a skyscraper, she's had to miss a meal each day, since the "pieces" (piece of bread with something on it) that her mother flings her from the 19th floor while she's outdoors playing never reach her. Some children may need to have it explained, but once the idea of piece-flinging is clarified, the song is giggle-inducing. Don't be surprised if your own wean starts demanding a "piece with jeely" after listening to the song a few times. "Red Yo-yo" is equally silly, with an infectious melody and an oom-pa-pa beat supporting the lyrics about a global search for a lost red yo-yo.

"My Hamburger Mooed at Me" is a quirky song with a bouncy melody about a most unusual picnic. "Teddy's Song," about a child's exploration of the house at night and the mischief s/he attributes to "Teddy" might raise an eyebrow when Teddy gets into Daddy's beer. Still, the child's exploits are more likely just to strike a chord in the memories of parents -- and grandparents. Harrison closes the CD with a traditional lullaby, "October Winds," and the sweet, haunting melody is a perfect finish.

Harrison accompanies herself on acoustic guitar with Roger Hollman on electric guitar and special effects and Robert C. Clifton on keyboards. A glossary clues listeners in to unfamiliar words, and the liner notes include all lyrics. Overall the CD is a delight -- the dozen tracks, which include a recitation of Walter de la Mare's "Someone," are all appealing and varied, and Harrison's voice is enviably lovely. Wee Folk Songs is a treat for the wee and not-so-wee ones alike.

[ by Donna Scanlon ]
Rambles: 1 September 2001

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