Various Artists

All Together Now: Beatles Stuff for Kids of All Ages [B&N Exclusive]

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On All Together Now, rock artists like Rachael Yamagata, the Bangles and Grandaddy's Jason Lytle collaborate with children on a selection of classic Beatles songs. The result is music that will satisfy the old and the young. The renditions are not dumbed down for the kids. The lead vocalists are generally the adults while the children serve mainly as support singers. As a result, the performances don't come off like school recital versions of the Beatles or the work of the Kidz Bop Kids. Instead, they wind up as entertaining, well-crafted interpretations, as evidenced on the leadoff track "Magical Mystery Tour," featuring current New York Doll guitarist Steve Conte on vocals and "Love Me Do," where the kids harmonize with the aptly cast Marshall Crenshaw (who once played John Lennon in Beatlemania). The kids ably handle the lead chores on three appropriately selected tunes: "Hello Goodbye," "Birthday" and "Yellow Submarine." The Bangles' bright turn on "Good Day Sunshine" actually makes them sound like a grown-up version of the kid singers. Producer Kevin Salem (an indie rocker turned dad) keeps the arrangements quite faithful, slipping in only the occasional sound effect. While this approach keeps the music from becoming too cutesy, it also raises the question why listen to these over the Beatles' originals? Similarly, the song selection is fairly familiar with "And Your Bird Can Sing" standing out as a lesser known Beatles tune that still fits in nicely with the family friendly song list. That said the adult singers do bring their personalities to their performances. "All You Need Is Love" benefits from Lytle's slightly dreamy vocals, while Yamagata's light rasp brings an endearing warmth to "Here Comes the Sun." Minor qualms aside, this highly enjoyable project provides a fun, briskly paced romp through the Beatles' catalog and offers a wonderful opportunity for grown-ups to share their love of the band with a new generation.

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