Peter Himmelman

My Fabulous Plum

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Parents and children who enjoyed Peter Himmelman's first children's record, My Best Friend Is a Salamander, will not be disappointed by the self-released follow-up, though they may have a harder time coming up with a copy. My Fabulous Plum continues in much the same vein as Salamander, but it is actually an even more satisfying and ambitiously produced recording. Once again, Himmelman taps into his formidable comic and improvisational abilities, bouncing from track to track with an ebullient, silly energy that is certain to sentence his young listeners to 40 minutes of helpless cackling. Even when Himmelman is imparting a moral, as on "Ain't Nothin' to It" (an inspired object lesson about conquering fear) or "Love Feels the Same Way Everywhere" ("feelings are the one thing everybody heals, love is the only one that always seems to heal"), Himmelman still frames his lessons in delightfully wacky contexts. His first priority always seems to be entertainment. But no matter how many bizarre tales Himmelman tells, and no matter how many goofy characters are played by the singer and his talented children, he always takes the music seriously. Most of these tunes could be inserted easily into Himmelman's adult records. "A World Where You Only Eat Candy" and "Karena Chasing Butterflies" sound a little like some of Himmelman's ballads, and the title track draws much inspiration from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." That song is actually the only track that represents a slight lapse in originality. The idea of a magical flying fruit is, of course, borrowed from Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, and for all its energy, the song seems unnecessarily derivative. But this is a minor quibble and is unlikely to diminish the fun at all for tiny Himmelfans.

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