One Camp Street
Cambridge, MA 02140 USA
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Cynthia A. Harney
Siblings Mike & Peggy Seeger present ninety-four American Folksongs For Children on this 2 CD set, both as a companion to the book and a tribute to their mother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, who compiled these songs in the 1940's (American Folksongs For Children, Doubleday, 1948 and 1995). Combined with the extensive liner notes, these songs are a lesson in both children & folk music, a lesson that spans generations. The Seeger offspring have accompanied many of the tunes with autoharp, banjo, concertina, dulcimer, fiddle, guitar, jews harp, mandolin, mouth harp, and pan pipes. They sing them simply, just as children would do.
There are songs about people (Old Aunt Kate) and days gone by (Who Built The Ark: Noah, Noah). There are songs about animals (Bought Me A Cat) and songs about the weather (It Rained A Mist). There are songs for the little ones and songs for us all. There are songs parents sing for their children (Hush 'n' Bye) and songs children sing while they play (Sally Go Round The Sunshine). There are songs about life, there are songs about death. To quote the Seegers, "The songs are about the world in which children must later work and live."
While most titles range from one to two minutes in length, some are longer (Frog Went A-Courtin' 5:40), a few are much shorter (Eency Weency Spider 0:21, Old Mister Rabbit 0:08). Still, don't expect the kids to sit through both CDs in one sitting, as the set runs well over two hours. One unfortunate error- Free Little Bird is listed as track #45 on disc one. It is actually track #1 on disc two. Each subsequent track number is incorrect. This is a great resource for any parent or educator with an interest in passing on the tradition of folk music to children. Whether you're looking for a lullaby or a glimpse of the past, you'll find something on Mike & Peggy Seeger's recording of AMERICAN FOLKSONGS FOR CHILDREN. Remember- It doesn't matter to the song or your child that you don't play dulcimer or guitar, or that you really do sound like a frog. Just sing a song. You'll all be happy.
Edited by: Allen Price