The Teddy Bear's Picnic, an hourlong album of zoologically inclined entertainments scored for wind ensemble, may be enjoyed by children, grownups, and those refusing to fit into either category. The melodies, which are splendidly rendered by George Foreman and the New Columbian Brass Band, all date from the years 1900-1921, when live bands regularly performed for the public under the open sky in parks and arenas across the land. The heartwarming title track, which was composed by John W. Bratton, is followed by "A Morning in Noah's Ark," a seven-minute novelty punctuated with animal noises of every description. Insects and other arthropods are saluted with Paul Eno's "In Bugdom," Paul Lincke's "Glow Worm Idyll," and Fred L. Moreland's "Parade of the Doodle Bugs." Ornithological delights include "Chicken Reel," "The Magpie and the Parrot," "Turkey in the Straw" in its original guise as a humoresque for clarinet and band, and a restless interlude inspired by "Two Little Bullfinches." The New Columbian Brass Band boasts of two clarinetists and two cornetists; featured instruments are Allison Shaw's xylophone during Zez Confrey's "Kitten on the Keys," Betsey Hill's piccolo during Arthur Pryor's "The Whistler and His Dog," and Marty Erickson's tuba during L.P. Laurendeau's "Elephantine Polka." Listen also for a fine treatment of Charles L. Hunter's "Porcupine Rag," a rather outlandish trombone part in C.L. Barnhouse's "Somewhere a Cow Is Bawling," and, to wrap up the package in style, a smart interpretation of the old-time jazz standard "Tiger Rag," a French quadrille first introduced on phonograph records under this title by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. The Teddy Bear's Picnic would be an excellent choice for those who wish to teach and encourage children to listen to chamber music; it may also be used while grooming dogs, cats, and other mammals.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
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