Itty-Bitty Review: Honey, Sugar Baby Mine - The Von Swing Family

HoneySugarBabyMine.jpgThe story of Brooklyn's Libby Shapiro isn't terribly novel at this point. As she puts it in her PR materials:

Throw a rock and hit a musician in Brooklyn, it is true. And [she's] yet another professional musician living in that fine borough who spent her life making music for adults, who, once she had a family, started singing for and with the kids the songs she loved and sang as a child...
Whatever points Shapiro loses for originality, though, she picks up in putting together a winning collection of kids' favorites (with a few curveballs mixed in) on her debut album as "Wanda Von Swing" on the Von Swing Family's Honey, Sugar Baby Mine. The band puts a Cajun/zydeco stamp on some of the traditional songs such as "Skip To My Lou" and "Crawdad," putting piano, accordion, guitar, and stand-up bass to good use. All the songs feature Shapiro's distinctive and full-bodied voice, which sometimes comes close to overpowering the simpler toddler songs, but on songs like "Buffalo Gals/Red Haired Boy" and Shapiro's original "Shake It, Baby, Shake It," it makes for a good match. And it's impossible not to like an album that ends with a gently rollicking cover of Hank Williams' "Jambalaya."

The album will appeal most to kids ages 2 through 7. You can hear samples of the tracks at the album's CDBaby page. Honey, Sugar Baby Mine is what might've happened had Dan Zanes swung through Louisiana many years ago as he was starting to think about music for families. It's just good kids and family music, American roots style. Recommended.