Itty-Bitty Review: Frog Trouble - Sandra Boynton

Transient

I'm a Sandra Boynton fan from way back, mostly for her simple and brilliantly funny illustrated books for young (pre-)readers, but also for some of her albums of family-friendly music.  She's tackled Broadway, rock, and retro on previous albums, and for her fifth collection of songs she's gone Nashville.

On Frog Trouble, Boynton and her musical partner, the arranger Michael Ford, offer up another dozen songs of often surreal and animal-based nature.  Take the unreliable narrator of "Frog Trouble" (or don't), or the meta-approach of "CopyCat"  (I think you can probably guess how a song with that title gets meta).  But a number of the songs, some of them the album's strongest, play it mostly straight -- Alison Krauss' lovely take on "End of Summer Storm" and Ryan Adams performing "When Pigs Fly," which takes that absurd premise and turns it into something beautiful.

Of course, the key for Boynton and Ford is finding the right artists for the songs.  They return to Krauss and Mark Lanegan, who've sung on previous Boynton albums, and many of the other choices are inspired, if not always totally country -- I'm not complaining that Ben Folds ("Broken Piano") and Fountains of Wayne ("Trucks") are on the disk by any means, and Brad Paisley is a good sport on "CopyCat."  Also: Kacey Musgraves singing anything is a good thing.  It's most appropriate for kids ages 6 and up.  You can find the 34-minute album anywhere and also in book form should you desire whimsical illustrations and sheet music.

One need not be a country fan to enjoy Frog Trouble ; a kid-like sense of humor and occasional taste for the absurd will suffice.  It's my favorite Boynton-Ford album.  Definitely recommended.

Note: I was provided a copy of the album for possible review.