Maria Muldaur

Barnyard Dance: Jug Band Music for Kids

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As Maria Muldaur puts it in her liner notes, jug band music is, by its very nature, a "happy, snappy, lighthearted, humorous, goofy, wacky, high-spirited" sound, which certainly would appeal to any child. Why this now-marginalized genre -- born in the '20s and popularized in the '60s via acts such as the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and the Even Dozen Jug Band (of which Muldaur was a member) -- was never marketed with kids in mind is a good question, but Muldaur hits the perfect note with this collection. Played on washboards, spoons, kazoo, and other fun instruments -- as well as guitar, banjo, bass, fiddle, et. al. -- these old songs, with titles like "I Love to Ride My Camel" (wonder if it's the same camel Muldaur sent to bed on her '70s hit "Midnight at the Oasis"), "Under the Chicken Tree," and "Singing in the Bathtub" are whimsical and silly, yet never condescending as so much children's music tends to be. Muldaur's voice is huskier than it was back when she was making her popular albums in the '70s, but it's well-suited to these tunes. This is what she started out doing half-a-century ago, and adults with a soft spot for the jug band-folk style, and for Muldaur's output in recent years, will undoubtedly enjoy this music -- much of it from the traditional folk canon -- as much as their little ones.

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