That Daddy-O Daddy!
is an exceptional record worthy of listeners who span the generational spectrum ought to come as no ground-shaker. Forget, for a moment, that this is a Woody Guthrie
tribute--a designation signaling that whatever's to come, it'll be electric-blanket cozy--and focus instead on the talent that producer Frankie Fuchs pulled together here. There's the glorious rough stuff of Taj Mahal
; Billy Bragg
& the Blokes' robust riptide; Cissy Houston
's graceful vocal sway; and the back-porch warble of Ramblin' Jack Elliott
, among others. It's a meandering but easy-to-follow recipe of master interpreters, in other words, and one that's not afraid to intermingle ingredients. Add to that the tingly thrill of being on the receiving end of raw material mined from folk music's dear, departed pop (six unreleased, unrecorded, and in some cases unfinished tracks poke up), and you can't help feeling a little awed. Cue this up for kids as young as 2, as the whirly-twirl of tracks like "Tippy-Tap Toe" and "Little Sack o' Sugar" will set them to swooping, swaying, and singing the way Woody would've wanted. Houston's "Sleep Eye" and Bragg's "Dry Bed" soar--one's as warm as the other is high-spirited. These 16 tracks, though, are to be savored for the simple joy with which their creator so deftly dashed them off. "Howdy Little Newlycome," Guthrie's own recitation of a wonderment-filled ditty he recorded in his kitchen in 1951, caps off a perfectly executed disc that pours its heart out in the name of a plainspoken genius. --Tammy La Gorce