Various Artists

Daddy-O Daddy!: Rare Family Songs of Woody Guthrie

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As passionate as dust bowl troubadour Woody Guthrie was about politics and inequality, he was even more passionate about children, particularly his own. It has been long known that Guthrie left behind a wealth of unrecorded and half completed songs while he was living in New York near the end of his life, the most famous of these appearing as Billy Bragg and Wilco's collaborations on the Mermaid Avenue albums. It stands to reason that many of his incomplete song outlines would revolve around children, and many of these appear on Daddy-O Daddy!: Rare Family Songs of Woody Guthrie. "New Baby Train" provides a typically Woody view on the old legend of the stork delivering newborns, performed with a gruff sentimentality and bluesy harmonica by Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson. Bragg himself appears on the album on the humorous "Dry Bed," recounting a certain growth step in early childhood, and also on "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8," chanting through a fun blast of nonsense sentences recalling his live interpretations of the Guthrie-penned "Hoodoo Voodoo." Nonsense lyrics seemed to have been swirling around the songwriter's pen since his satirical "Howdjadoo" in the early '30s, and these songs are no exception. Adults may cringe a little through the "zoop, zoop, zoopity-zoop"s and the "zippety hop"s, but kids are sure to love it, and grown-up artists like Taj Mahal, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Cissy Houston keep the sound and feel of the songs a million miles from Barney's prehistoric tunes.

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