Before Dan Zanes, before Barney, before Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, kids' music in its infancy was sometimes rough-hewn, often poorly recorded, but definitely full of heart and soul. These five classic children's albums should be on everyone's "must-hear" list, especially if you have young music fans in the house.
Seeger's first full album of tunes for kids draws specifically from stepmother Ruth Crawford Seeger's folk song collection of the same name, originally published in 1948. American Folk Songs for Children remains as influential today as it was groundbreaking when it was released over half a century ago.
No one had recorded such an intimate, practical, and fun music instruction album for kids before Call and Response was released in 1957. This was Ella Jenkins' debut album, kicking off a still-thriving music career that spans six decades. Call and Response is full of chants, melodies, rhythms, and songs from around the world, all tied together by Jenkins' conversational style.
Songs to Grow On for Mother and Child was originally released in 1956 on the Folkways label. The album features Guthrie playing guitar and singing 18 of his original compositions, sometimes without any musical accompaniment at all. Many children’s artists have covered several of these simple songs, including "Grassy Grass Grass," "Little Sack of Sugar," "Who’s My Pretty Baby," and "Bling Blang."
Despite being a rough-around-the-edges character, Huddie Ledbetter was an important documentarian of traditional blues and folk tunes, including play and party songs for children. He had a magical rapport with kids at live concerts, heard here on Lead Belly Sings for Children. This CD collects almost 30 sing-alongs, work songs, and folk classics performed in Lead Belly's unique style.