Mae Robertson
& Don Jackson,
All Through the Night:
Lullabies and Love Songs

(Lyric Partners, 1995)

There's something special in a gentle song shared at night between a parent and child, and Mae Robertson and Don Jackson capture that quality in All Through the Night, a purely lovely CD.

Robertson and Jackson combine classic with contemporary and traditional songs, starting with Gordon Bok's sunny and evocative "Isle au Haut Lullaby." Two more lullabies by contemporary singer-songwriters follow: "Lullaby (Like a Ship)" by Cris Williamson and "First Lullaby" by Bill Staines. All three feature sweet melodies which invite gentle rocking and lyrics filled with soothing and reassuring images.

Robertson and Jackson's cover of "John O'Dreams" is at a faster tempo than I've heard before, and it works; the tempo add a sense of cheer and coziness. "Starry Lullaby" is hymn-like and appealing, packed with celestial images including "Angels danc[ing] on the rings of Saturn."

"Can't Help Falling in Love With You" might seem an odd choice for a children's CD, but it captures that utterly besotted feeling experienced when a child comes to stay in your home and your heart. "Love Me Tender" serves the same purpose, as does Robert Burns' "My Love is Like a Red Red Rose."

Other unusual yet appropriate tracks include "Hobo's Lullaby," "Dream Angus," which I wish I'd known about when my son was younger -- his teddy bear is named Angus -- and "Across the Bridge Where Angels Dwell."

"All Through the Night," the title track, is the penultimate song, and "The Water is Wide" closes the CD. While the final song, with its bittersweet lyrics, might seem to be an odd note on which to end the CD, but it reflects another reality. Children grow up and away, and sorrows are mixed with joys. Paired with the protective promises in "All Through the Night," the song is a tribute to the trials and rewards of parenting.

Robertson's voice is lovely, warm and appealing, and Jackson's harmonies are a perfect match. An ensemble of skilled musicians provide accompaniment which is interesting, never cloying and always just right.

If you know folks who are expecting or adopting a child, get them a copy of this CD. If you have children, pick up a copy for yourself. Turn down the lights, snuggle up and relax as Mae Robertson and Don Jackson carry you "All Through the Night."

[ by Donna Scanlon ]
Rambles: 8 July 2001

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