The Simon Sisters (Lucy and Carly)

Sing the Lobster Quadrille and Other Songs for Children

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In the late '60s, Lucy Simon, pregnant with her daughter Julie, wrote music to poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Edward Lear, William Blake, Lewis Carroll, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Robert Burns, and others. These were recorded in 1969 with her sister Carly Simon, then yet to become a solo singer/songwriter star, for an album geared toward children. As an artifact in the career of Carly Simon, it's a curiosity: she didn't write any of the songs, and only takes one vocal solo (on "A Red, Red Rose"), as most of the tracks are duets (Lucy Simon solos on "Calico Pie" and "Who Has Seen the Wind"). As music pure and simple, it's agreeable but twee pop-folk (and occasional light folk-rock), Sam Brown's arrangements tending especially toward fruitiness in the winds. Carly and Lucy's harmonies are a throwback to the coffeehouse folk era, as heard in their earlier, non-children's Kapp recordings. As a kid's album goes, though, it's well above the average in quality and depth of content. And there are hints of artistry that go beyond children's music: Carly Simon's vocal on "A Red, Red Rose" is low, earthy, and subtle, and "A Pavane for the Nursery" has beautiful bittersweet harmonies. Incidentally, the version of "Wynken, Blynken and Nod" here is not the same as the original modest hit version that the Simon Sisters had with the differently spelled "Winken, Blinken and Nod" in the mid-'60s. Also, it was reissued on Columbia in 1973, retitled The Simon Sisters Sing for Children, with a different cover and some additional recording and mixing done in 1973.