Putumayo Kids Presents: New Orleans Playground
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2007, Volume 14, #5
Written by John Metzger
Like Putumayo’s other compilations, New Orleans Playground is an album for kids that adults truly can love, though the reason stems largely from the fact that most of its songs weren’t written with children necessarily in mind. Nevertheless, the extension is a natural one, especially considering the never-ending love affair that New Orleans-based musicians consistently have had with the coltish music of the 1950s and the 1960s. Charmaine Neville’s Second Line, for example, may have been released in 1998, but it essentially ruminates upon a melody that merges a classic parade song with Bill Haley’s Rock around the Clock. Elsewhere, The Meters’ playfully outlines a trip to the zoo on They All Ask’d for You; Clifton Chenier cheerfully chugs through Choo Choo Ch’Boogie; and, of course, Lee Dorsey’s Ya Ya, Fats Domino’s Whole Lotta Lovin’, Clarence "Frogman" Henry’s Ain’t Got No Home, and Chris Kenner’s I Like It Like That are all familiar classics that capture the air of more innocent times. As for the tracks that actually are aimed at tots — such as Dr. John’s interpretation of Row Row Your Boat and Buckwheat Zydeco’s re-christened variation on Skip to My Lou — they are so masterfully reworked that they bear little resemblance to the terribly wearisome conventionality of the tunes on which they are based. Because its 11 selections barely stretch past the 30-minute mark, New Orleans Playground provides only a superficial glimpse at the Crescent City’s vast legacy, but like any good educational program worth its salt, the outing successfully establishes the notion that there’s a lot more material that merits further investigation. ½
Putumayo Kids Presents: New Orleans Playground is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box