For listeners of all ages, Boynton and Michael Ford’s latest CD/songbook combination presents 12 new songs in a country-western mode.
In this grand collection for children and their caregivers, the producers of Philadelphia Chickens (2002) sample styles beyond country music: cowboy, bluegrass and blues, honkytonk and hillbilly rock. The book has three sections: lyrics (or at least the first verse or two), written by Boynton and illustrated with her cartoons; musical notation (melody and chords) and complete words; and performers’ biographies. On the CD, the all-star collection of musicians includes names familiar to fans of the genre. They put these songs over convincingly, although it’s hard to imagine there weren’t some giggles along the way. The tunes, some written in collaboration with keyboardist Ford, are catchy and appealing, the arrangements simple enough to understand the words and the lyrics, which are appropriate for young children. There’s heartbreak, as a bunny bewails how “[t]hey make me clean up my room”; a small boy’s delight in “Trucks”; the dreamy “When Pigs Fly”; and two different versions of the titular “Frog Trouble.” The background percussion for “I’ve Got a Dog” includes The Scotty Brothers playing spoons. “Alligator Stroll” is followed by instructions and diagrams for simple dance steps. Backmatter includes instructions for making a folded-paper frog puppet.
This is children’s music grown-ups won’t mind hearing over and over, no trouble at all. (Songbook/CD. 3 & up)