Sue Trainor,
In a Closeup
(self-produced, 1992)

Sue Trainor is a well-known figure in the children's music community; she has won several awards for her children's music. She is also a member of the folk trio Hot Soup. In a Closeup is a solo CD of comedy songs, ballads and parodies.

The CD begins with "The Murderous Toy," a parody of the classic children's song "The Marvelous Toy," in which the longed-for toy decimates the family and the neighborhood before its batteries run down. Next up is "Distant Thunder" by Pete Kennedy, a lovely folk ballad. This is followed by "Golfing with Hares," the story of Auntie Agnes, the wife of Uncle Walter who went "Waltzing with Bears." Next up is a warning about what happens when you spend all night courting in "Roseville Fair, Part II."

"Dance in Coal Canyon" is the next ballad, a story about a woman who disappears and whose broken body is found in Coal Canyon. "Man of Good Intent" follows, a ballad about a good young man who, despite his good intentions, ends up a slaver.

"In a Closeup," the title track, is a parody of Julie Gold's popular tune "From a Distance." This song tells of the world from an ant's point of view, the complete opposite of the song that she is parodizing. "Healthy Life" is a funny take on keeping up with the latest health fads. "Chainsaw" is a bluesy look at one woman's requirements in a man. In "The Mistress," a wife takes a humorous look at how perfect her husband's mistress is for her.

"Sludge Train" tells the true story of a sludge backup in Baltimore and the city's difficulties in cleaning up its sewage. "Open Mike Blues" tells the story of a beginner's reluctance to make her debut at open mike night.

Trainor has a lovely voice and it really shows on the ballads such as "Dance in Coal Canyon" and "A Man of Good Intent." She also has a wicked sense of humor as shown by "The Murderous Toy" and "Sludge Train" (or "The Poo-Poo Choo-Choo Public Relations Lament"). And yet, her talent for parody is not necessarily vicious or mean. For example, "In a Closeup" is almost as tender as the original "From a Distance." It's easy to see why she would be a popular performer with kids.

If you like parody and comedy, try Sue Trainor. You don't have to be a kid to like her!

[ by Laurie Thayer ]