I've been trying without much luck to come up with an interesting hook for this review of Lucy's Parade, the debut CD from the LA-based band Jambo. Which really isn't fair to the band or this album, because both are pretty good.
The album is a straight-forward roots-rock album geared at the preschool/kindergarten set. Bandleader Steve Pierson, a blues guitarist, has a knack for writing the happiest blues-inflected tunes you'll ever hear. The standout track here is "Lady Bug Boogie," an infectious and rollicking boogie with ever-so-slightly silly lines like "I like all kinds of corn / But my favorite kind of corn / Is the candy corn." Other fun songs here are the "Where Do They Go?" (a bluesy and slightly fanciful song from the point of view of the preschool-aged child wondering what his parents do during the day) and the strutting title track. "Five Butterflies" is a slow track that doesn't sound a lot like the rest of the upbeat album, but it's a sweet counting song.
I should note that the band sounds really good. Pierson's got an appealing voice and plays a mean guitar. Pierson's wife Melinda McGraw deserves special mention here as her harmony vocals add a lot to the songs throughout the album, but the whole band just sounds like they're having fun.
So in the end, I still don't have a hook for this review, which maybe reflects that this Jambo's not breaking any new ground here. But what they've done is put together a solid group of songs, and that's enough for most of us (including me). Lucy's Parade is a well-done CD that's firmly for kids but with a rootsy musical approach that will appeal to a lot of parents. Recommended.