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4.0 out of 5 stars
American Folk Songs For Children
Format: Audio CDChange
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2000
Forget about purple dinosaurs and inept adults dumbing down low quality music to hyponotize children with insincere emotion. This is the real stuff. This album is quality authentic music that children love! My kids wear this album out and better yet I like it. Maybe a little to real for TV culture. Also check out woody guthries - "songs for mother and child to grow on" and "the nursery years".
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2001
It is so nice to have children's music that is fun for them and doesn't include any sappy, "disneyized," or otherwise insipid singing! We bought the CD because we wore out the tape and we don't even have a front porch, a rocker, or a 10 gallon hat between us! -- Also, it's neat that the music is historically significant.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 24, 2006
I love this. My children have all loved it. It's just great, authentic folk music, easy to listen to, easy to sing, easy to apply to whatever you might be doing. The way folk music ought to be.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2008
One customer who reviewed this item said that it was too "folksy". Well, duh!...It is folk music. Perhaps if the "folk songs" were rapped? Or a little electric guitar with distortion added? <eye roll> As a mother, who comes from a long line of "folksy" people from Appalachia, I want my children to appreciate their "folksy" heritage. I've heard some fine music coming from many-a "hillbilly's front porch". Some people think that "folk" music is the polished-up hippie music that they are familiar with (not that that isn't good stuff, too); but, if "folksy" is what "yer lookin' fer" then this is the CD set for you! Listen to this with your children, and then read them Cynthia Rylant's book "When I Was Young in the Mountains" or "The Relative's Came".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2004
I bought this first as audio tape and then as CDs and I bought them for ME. At first my children didn't want to listen but I asked them to listen for 10 minutes (a ride to school) and when I picked them up at the end of the day they demanded to know why the tape wasn't on the same song. Many of the songs have become favorites for singing around the house; "The Juniper Tree" has a beautiful melody! "All Around the Kitchen" is great for getting everyone up and moving.
Some of the songs are very short, only a couple of lines long, and made us wonder if they were portions of longer but now forgotten songs.
We have great discussions about life and social customs and history prompted by the songs. Some of the themes and songs may be disturbing to some children. My children insist we skip over one song which contains the story of the murder of a child by a neighbour. It was a bit of a shock to hear the phrase "stabbed him like a sheep" next to "Roll That Brown Jug" and "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain".
We also have "Not For Children Only" by Garcia and Grisman. We like the jokes and spoken pieces on NFCO but the length and variety of "American Folk Songs For Children"
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 1998
I highly recommend this CD. The scope is by no means limited to children; anyone who enjoys good old fashioned melodies will find a cornucopia here. The songs are fun, the singing fine, the variety of downhome accompaniment makes you feel like you are on the front porch of grandpa's farm. One can also order the book of the same name from which this CD was made; see the informative review of the book at the Amazon page for the book. Mike and Peggy Seeger take a straightforward, uncluttered approach to this music, and for 100 songs the price is right!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 25, 2008
In the 1948, Ruth Crawford Seeger published a seminal collection of folk music called "American Folk Songs For Children," a group of 94 songs and instructions for using them in the classroom that hepled introduce folk music into American schools throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

With this 2-cd set, two of her (now adult) kids have recorded every song in the book, with a little help from friends. The songs range from a mere 8 seconds long to almost 6 minutes. It's done in a straight-forward and sometimes playful way, some songs being a capella and some with accompaniment of folk instruments including acoustic guitar, dulcimer, autoharp, banjo, fiddle, and some light percussion.

If you're not "into" folk music, there's a good chance this isn't for you. It may, however, be interesting to your young kids. I have the book too and in it there are many instructions and suggestions on how to get kids to participate in the music, making up dances and their own verses. If you're the kind of person afraid or dismissive of "hillbilly" music or who mainly shops for your kids entertainment at toys r us, I say this: expand your horizons, perhaps, it can only do your kids some good.

I saw the review deriding the female vocal and was prepared for the worst when I got this cd, and I thought it was fine. She sounds great singing an octave above her brother, and conveys a lot of charm on many of the tracks.

I do, however, see this as more of an archival project than a viable "let's listen to the entire 2 cds now, kids!" kind of experience. I think they wanted to make sure an audio recording of all the songs in their mom's book was preserved. It's really a treasure trove of kids' rhymes and fun folk songs, though, and more people should hear it than probably will.

It should be noted that Dan Zanes' kids music "hit" "All Around the Kitchen" came from Ruth Crawford Seeger book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2007
This collection of 94 songs is more than I was expecting. Two years ago my son and I got this at the library, then we kept checking it out and discovered we needed it, forever. The songs are accompanied by guitars, fiddles, harmonicas, and other folk instruments. Some have no music at all. There are so many songs and yet, each one is very unique. The songs are short and memorable, too.

For us, these songs have transcended being just entertaining and are now useful. I use them all the time to gently transition my son from one activity to another. For instance, I'll use "Walk along, John" to let him know I am going to start walking again when we have stopped on a trail, or even in a grocery isle. "Rose, Rose and up she rises" for occasionally getting him up in the morning. "The Closet Key" is used if we lose something. And so on. I use these songs with my son to entertain, play, teach, transition or whatever we want. He is six.

My son's favorite song was "Dog Tick" for a long time and now it's "What'll we do with the baby". I love these songs because they are true folk songs that are portable and can be sung or hummed, anywhere. Second, I love that these songs because they have endured for decades thru oral tradition and now have successfully been passed down to my son.

He likes songs from many genres and he's happy to put on Misty Mountain Hop by Led Zeppelin, the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar or Shiny Happy People by REM. But, these folks songs are equally lovable, as far as he is concerned.

And he absolutely would join anyone on their porch for a sing along.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2008
The songs are full of interesting combinations of words and rhythm, but Mike and Peggy often seem to miss the subtle brilliance of the off-beat energy of half of the songs. Most of the songs were done better by their original composers. What is also missing is the intonation, accent, gruffness and uniqueness of the voices of a variety of singers. I get the feeling sometimes that they were trying to rush through the 95 songs just to get them done.

The half of the songs they did well are still worth listening to. The musicians really seem to be enjoying themselves, and that is one of the most important elements essential to children's music. I have sifted through and selected the good ones to shuffle with our other children's songs which makes them easier to appreciate.

In the cd booklet that comes with the discs they talk about adaptation of tunes and words, but they don't credit any of the original artists. Its worth the effort to look the songs up online to find some other singers for these songs.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2002
My five year old daughter and I picked this from the library first. After renewing it several times, we knew we had to buy it. I hear her humming and singing tunes from it all the time. I would definately say it is one of the best albums we have ever purchased!
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