The Free Design

Sing for Very Important People

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The Free Design always sounded a bit like a pop group for children, and they made the leap there themselves on their wonderful 1970 album Free Design Sing for Very Important People. Inspired by Peter, Paul & Mary's Peter, Paul and Mommy album and the fact that all of the Dedricks were parents by then, the record collects some of their kid-friendly previously released songs like "Kites Are Fun," "Bubbles," and "Daniel Dolphin" and adds some songs written and recorded for the project. The tunes they came up with are among their best; "Don't Cry, Baby" is harmonically rich and lyrically charming, "Ronda Go 'Round" sounds like a song angels might make up to keep themselves happy while floating through the heavens, and "Love You" is a bubbling a cappella delight. They also cover a few songs, turning in a sweet version of "Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?," a reverent and solemn "Children's Waltz," a chamber jazz take on "Scarlet Tree," and a loping "Little Cowboy" (which was written Art Dedrick, the siblings' father). The Free Design's almost unbearably light and sweet feel, their flowing harmonies, and their lyrical and musical childlike sense of wonder make the record a smashing success artistically. It's too bad not many kids got a chance to hear it at the time -- the world might have turned out to be a much mellower place. At least we can spin it for our very important people now.

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