The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Why Didn't I Think Of That?

It's about time.

I mean, why more artists don't hop on board the songbook bandwagon is surprising to me. Dan Zanes, Ralph Covert, and Laurie Berkner have dipped their toes in that water, but Peter Yarrow is diving in headfirst. In a couple weeks, he'll be releasing two books, Favorite Folk Songs and Sleepytime Songs, that each feature lyrics, guitar notations, and notes on 12 classic folk songs. In addition, they'll each include a CD of the book's songs featuring Peter, Bethany and Rufus, a trio featuring Yarrow, his daughter Bethany Yarrow, and cellist Rufus Cappadocia. He's not stopping there -- Songs to Sing Together will be released next year and Nursery Rhymes is currently on tap for 2010.

The beauty of these books (besides the, well, beauty of the illustrations) is that they're a great mix of tunes familiar and less so. So families looking to sing together -- and why shouldn't they? -- will have a few songs they can easily master along with some songs they can learn.

I'm not always a fan of CDs embedded in picture books -- where do we keep 'em, for one thing -- but I think for this purpose, it's great. While families could get many of these things in just a regular CD with liner notes, I think by putting it in book format, it encourages the singing rather than the listening. It's a concept a lot of other artists could consider.

Anyway, here are the track listings for the two CDs.

FavoriteFolkSongs.jpgFavorite Folk Songs
The Golden Vanity
Skip to My Lou
Cockles and Mussels
The Fox
Springfield Mountain
The Erie Canal
Beautiful City
Rock-a My Soul
The Cruel War
O Mary Don't You Weep
I've Been Working on the Railroad
Sloop John B

SleepytimeSongs.jpgSleepytime Songs
All Through the Night
Puff, the Magic Dragon
Ole Blue
All the Pretty Horses
Hush, Little Baby
The Water is Wide
Down in the Valley
All My Trials
On Top of Old Smokey
Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot
Brahms' Lullaby