Michael William Harrison
& Linda King,
For Kids of All Ages
(self-produced, 2006)

It is hard to ignore an album that features some of the best in the realm of folk, traditional and well-loved songs. It is even harder to ignore it if it features a kids' choir. If you add a pair of performers with an obvious love of the songs, it is irresistible. This is such an album.

So many of us have become used to old standards and oft-played songs that we forget the value of the works. This is especially true for some of the tracks offered on For Kids of All Ages, led by Michael William Harrison and Linda King.

Appropriately, the CD opens with "A Place in the Choir," featuring the full ensemble, and moves on to the excellent "Garden Song." Gordon Lightfoot's "The Pony Man" is lesser-known song on the album, as is "Leatherwing Bat," an Appalachian folk song.

Unusually for a CD originating in the U.S.A., we get "Saint Patrick was a Gentleman," but then again the Irish get everywhere -- especially where good music exists. This is further borne out by appearances by "Molly Malone" (in a lovely and quiet rendition) and "St. Brendan's Fair Isle" (listen again closely to this mythical tale retold).

Tommy Makem's great humorous song of Irish conflict, "The Orange & the Green," is also given a beautiful outing here, reminding us of a time when such matters could be sung about. The assembled singers perform the children's favourite, "The Unicorn Song," to great effect. A new song to me was "Angels Around Your Bed" from the pen of Bob Bennett. This is a beautiful song and is thoughtfully delivered. The CD closes with "Waltzing With Bears."

This is a marvelous album in the literal sense of the word, in that we can marvel at these all-too-often-forgotten classic songs. We can marvel too at the fact that they still attract the attention of young people. The pity is that many children may not have exposure to them because they are not on the iPod playlist. That is the great pity of mass entertainment -- we lose too many of our old songs in the rush for the new.

Buy this album. Buy it a few times, for you, for your children and for a local school.

by Nicky Rossiter
17 June 2006

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