First, let's get this out of the way -- Banjos For Babes is a lot better than its cover might lead you to think. While I admit that the 4-year-old daughter of Atlanta neurologist/banjo player Josh Turknett has more drawing skills than I, a casual viewer might be forgiven if they opened the disk with some trepidation.
But once they get the disk into the CD player, they'll be fine, because this is a sweet and simple little collection of, well, songs for the youngest banjo fans. Nothing revolutionary here, just solid banjo playing, nice arrangements, and even an unfamiliar nugget or two. The leadoff track "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" adds a few other body parts into the mix, while "Old Dan Tucker" takes a slightly more leisurely approach to the song than is commonly heard. And I really liked "Coke Oven March," a song whose origin Turknett traces back to a music box. If Turknett doesn't quite have Pete Seeger's golden voice -- and, really, who does? -- it's pretty good, and he does a good job making what is essentially a one-man affair seem much fuller.
The song selections on the 42-minute album are most appropriate for kids ages 2 through 6, though the arrangements will have a broader appeal. You can listen to samples from the songs here or at the album's CDBaby page. Banjos For Babes is a well-crafted collection of folk takes on kids' classics, one worth checking out. Recommended.