Simon Mayor
& Hilary James,
Lullabies with Mandolin
(Acoustics, 2004)

Lullabies often are neglected in our society. Everyone sees them as little nonsense songs sung from tone-deaf fathers to beautiful contralto in nurseries. Thanks to this album we may rescue some of the greatest bits of music for generations to come. These lullabies cannot be wasted on the babies.

The pieces on offer are not only instrumental. Hilary James sings a beautiful version of "Lavender's Blue" to open the album. We also hear the beautiful traditional "Over the Hills and Far Away" as purloined by John Gay for his Beggar's Opera a few centuries ago.

The range of the songs and tunes is fascinating. "Raisins and Almonds" sounds like a wonderous Yiddish song. They perform from the classical repertoire with "Greig's Cradle Song" and "Schubert's Cradle Song." You also get "Dance to Your Daddy" and "All the Pretty Little Horses."

A few years ago the experts were telling us that babies should be exposed to classical music, even in the womb. All babies, whatever age up to 90 years, must be exposed to these lullabies.

Parents should get two copies of this album. One can be put on continuous play in the nursery to nurture discerning music lovers. The other should be in the sitting room to re-educate adults in the joys of lullabies.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 11 December 2004

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