Publishers Friedman/Fairfax's Life, Times, & Music Series of CD/book packages combines a ten-and-three-quarters by five-and-a-half-inch paperback of 72 pages with a compilation disc of music, all covering, in survey fashion, some genre of music. The company's Lullabies & Bedtime Stories title, in both audio and print form, is a mixed-purpose release, not quite a collection to be used to put children to bed, and not quite a scholarly examination of the subject, but a little bit of both. Author Carin Dewhirst assembles a fair amount of historical study on lullabies with an emphasis on international differences and similarities. She also throws in some actual bedtime stories and poems, of course, but they are more for illustrative purposes than anything else, and a parent flipping through the book looking for something to read to a child may not come upon the right pages immediately. Similarly, while the music included on the disc manufactured by Sony Music Special Products, and drawn largely from recordings made in the late '80s and early '90s, doesn't contain any raucous stuff, neither is it exactly a consistent bedtime collection of children's music. Rather, like the book, in its own way the album attempts to span different types of lullaby music, from contemporary folk (Tom Chapin's "Bedtime Round/City Lullaby") to gospel/CCM (the Deniece Williams and Sandi Patti selections, which are explicit expressions of Christian religious belief), and from new age (Chris Spheeris' "Innocent One" and Pamala Ballingham's "Voyage for Dreamers") to traditional pop (Rosemary Clooney's "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral [That's an Irish Lullaby]" and Doc Severinsen's "Goodnight, My Someone"). The result is a project that is more about lullabies and bedtime stories than really a collection of lullabies and bedtime stories, and maybe that's something a parent will want to peruse after putting the children to bed instead of trying to use it to do so.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann