Radio Playlist: Lullabies (July 2011)

It's been waaaay too long since I've updated the Zooglobble radio station lullaby list. (Ahem.) So here ya go. Streams at night along with random songs interspersed throughout the day. (Note that songs are in fairly random order, and are played in totally random order.) Caspar Babypants - "Calling From Clouds" (Here I Am!) Dan Zanes & Friends - "The Good Night Waltz" (Family Dance) Elizabeth Mitchell & Lisa Loeb - "Free Little Bird" (Catch the Moon) Frances England - "Spring Has Sprung" (Family Tree) The Jellydots - "Captain Sleep" (Hey You Kids!) Lunch Money - "At the River" (Dizzy) Mae Robertson & Don Jackson - "Hobo's Lullaby" (All Through the Night) Music Together - "Shenendoah" (Fiddle) Raffi - "Rock-A-Bye Baby" (The Corner Grocery Store) Ralph's World - "Many Things to Know" (At the Bottom of the Sea) Renee & Jeremy - "Rely" (C'mon) Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - "Desifinado" (Getz/Gilberto) Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke - "Summery Lullaby" (Hey Pepito!) Essie Jain - "Midnight Starship" (Until the Light of Morning) Jason Falkner - "Michelle" (Bedtime with the Beatles) Tanya Donelly - "Moon River" (Sing Me to Sleep) Sarah Sharp - "Donut Song" (Sweet Songs) Randy Kaplan - "Forever Young" (The Kids Are All Id) Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band - "Down in the Valley" (Play!) Mr. and Mrs. Muffins - "The Ladybird's Lullaby" (The Striped Ladybird) The Okee Dokee Brothers - "Sweet Dreams" (Take It Outside)

Share: "Innocent When You Dream" - Mark Erelli

InnocentWhenYouDream.jpgAfter the hubbub of the Fourth of July, perhaps your family needs a little more relaxation. Mark Erelli is here to help. His recently-re-released 2007 album Innocent When You Dream is streaming online, making it easy to check out my favorite lullaby release thus far this year. Really, it's a sweet little disk (or packet of information zooming across the intrawebs, whatever your medium).

Review: A Trio of Sleepy Disks

Time once again for another stroll -- a long, langurous stroll we might not actually complete because we're so tired -- down lullaby lane. The last couple times I did this, I reviewed seven lullaby albums, but maybe because I'm only doing this a year after my last list, I only have three to add. Let's get started... you're probably tired anyway. InnocentWhenYouDream.jpgFirst up is my favorite of the trio, New England singer-songwriter Mark Erelli's Innocent When You Dream, originally released in 2007 and back in print once again. Like many lullaby disks these days, it's not a collection of traditional (or even standard) lullabies; rather, the album includes songs by "some of [Erelli's] favorite writers that have a certain tenderness to them," and even subtitles the album "Lullabies and Love Songs." Which is why you get folks like Tom Waits, Tom Petty, Wilco, and Shawn Colvin getting covered here. (I already said how much I liked Erelli's cover of Wilco's "My Darling"; the song is originally from this album.) They are songs of comfort and reassurance, so, yes, lullabies, if not ones with easy-to-remember lyrics. Sonically, the album is perfectly pitched, as if Erelli were sitting in the corner of your nursery or around the campfire, singing to you and/or your child, accompanying himself on guitar. It avoids the common lullaby album mistake of being so overwrought that it'll keep everyone awake. Listen to a couple tracks from the 30-minute album here. Innocent When You Dream is a lovely little album and will soothe all but the most savage beast. A couple more albums after the jump.

Itty-Bitty Review: Acoustic Dreamland (Putumayo) - Various Artists

AcousticDreamland.jpgThe sight of Nicola Heindl's illustration immediately brands it as a Putumayo disk. But take off the animated cover of Acoustic Dreamland, the latest collection from Putumayo Kids, replace it with some tastefully sepia-tinged photograph of, I don't know, a moon rising over a barn, and you could totally sell this collection at Pottery Barn, perhaps. Which is to say that this isn't so much a kids music album as it is just a kid-friendly album. But oh what a nicely curated album it is. I never would have pegged Wilco as a source for lullabies, but Mark Erelli's version of "My Darling" outshines the original, methinks. Ditto for Elizabeth Mitchell's cover of the Allman Brothers' "Blue Sky." Kids musicians aren't totally shut out here -- Frances England records a new song, "Here With Me," for the collection, and Kesang Marstrand lends a song from her excellent lullaby collection as well. As with many Putumayo disks, however, the value in the collection isn't so much the individual songs as much as it is the fact that someone has spent the time finding the tracks and saving the listener the effort. The album is appropriate for all ages, though the lullaby nature of means that you're more likely to spin it with kids ages 5 and less. You can sample some of the tracks here. I can totally see Acoustic Dreamland being used at nap time or quiet time or during a nighttime feeding. And, buried on a hard drive and stripped of its album art, long past your kids nap, eat at night, or are ever quiet, listened by you and you alone. Recommended.

Seven Sleepy Lullaby Albums (The Sequel)

A couple years ago, I put together a review of seven lullaby albums. It's time to do another review of lullaby albums that have crossed my desk in the past six to nine months and, what do you know?, there are seven more. Must be a lucky number. UntilTheLightOfMorning.jpgThe most striking lullaby album in this collection is Until the Light of Morning, the recently released album from New Yorker (via London) Essie Jain. As Jain notes in her liner notes, the 35-minute album is "designed to unwind itself as it goes along, as the music becomes softer and more relaxed, eventually becoming as instrumental as the heart beat." It's definitely the best-constructed lullaby album here, perfected for moving from evening play time to sleep time. The music and lovely packaging make it a good choice for gifting to the new parent... or maybe even your own family. (Listen to a couple songs here and 3 more from a live Daytrotter session.) Definitely recommended. SingMeToSleep.jpgSing Me To Sleep from American Laundromat Records is the latest in the time-honored tradition of getting indie rock artists to record music for kids. The For the Kids series can cross "lullaby disk" off their to-do list, because this fits the bill. The indie artists here such as Stars, Dean & Britta, and Tanya Donelly cover others' songs for the album. As you might expect given the compilation nature of the disk, the definition of "lullaby" gets stretched considerably. I love The Leisure Society's take on "Inchworm," but it gets far too peppy to be a lullaby, and I'm not sure "Little Boxes" is really a lullaby in any sense of the word. (Also, can we please put a five-year moratorium on covers of "Pure Imagination" and "Rainbow Connection," both covered here and a billion other kid-related comps?) Far better are Dala's take on "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and Telekinesis' version of "Can't Get It Out of My Head," along with a number of other tracks. There's a limited edition with tracks from Julie Peel and the Coctails, and more -- the tracks from those artists in particular definitely aren't throwaway tracks and are probably worth the extra cash, along with a gorgeous instrumental version of "The Sound of Silence" from the Abbasi Brothers. Peter Broderick's "You Are My Sunshine" may induce nightmares, though, and count me among those wondering why Say Hi covered the Violent Femmes track "Kiss Off" (it does make for interesting listening, though, I'll give it that much). Proceeds from the album will go to The Valerie Fund, which provides support for the comprehensive health care of children with cancer and blood disorders. (Listen to songs from the album here.) It might not be a perfect album, but you can certainly find a good 30 minutes of excellent lullabies. Recommended. I think these two albums are the cream of this particular crop of disks, but there are 5 more after the jump -- you're bound to find at least one of these that appeal to you...

Monday Morning Smile: "MLK" (U2, arr. Bob Chilcott) - "Vox Laci Youth Choir"

The last time I did this, the smile was more of a grin. Well, after hearing the Phoenix Chorale do a fabulous version of U2's "MLK" as arranged by Bob Chilcott at their sold-out "Darkness and Light" concert on Saturday, I knew I wanted to share this lullaby. I preferred the Chorale's version to anything I could find online, but I think you'll get the point. A bit of calm for the week ahead. Vox Laci Youth Choir - "MLK" (U2, arr. Bob Chilcott) [YouTube]