February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Blue Clouds (CD)

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A baby sitting on a red flowerBlue Clouds. CD. 39 min. with booklet. Smithsonian Folkways. 2012. ISBN unavail. $11.99.
PreS-Gr 3–Beautiful harmonies and Elizabeth Mitchell’s lovely, sweet voice are the hallmarks of this outstanding collection of traditional and original songs. She’s joined by her husband, Daniel Littleton, and daughter, Storey, as well as others. Mitchell has breathed new life into these traditional songs and has transformed several classic rock numbers into folk style with elegant and simple arrangements. In addition to the top-notch vocal performances, the band and guest musicians give outstanding performances on a variety of instruments, including acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, cello, viola, zither, dulcimer, piano, recorder, oboe, drums, percussion, xylophone, glockenspiel, and more. Mitchell performs beautiful covers of some classic rock pieces: “I Wish You Well” (Bill Withers), “Kooks” (David Bowie), “Everyone” (Van Morrison), “May This Be Love” (Jimi Hendrix), and “Blue Sky” (Allman Brothers). “Arm in Arm” (octopus love), “Rollin’ Baby,” and “Blue Clouds” (a lullaby) are all original songs. Traditional numbers include “Hop Up, My Ladies,” a medley of “Froggie Went a-Courtin’” with “King Kong Kitchie,” “San Toki” (Mountain Bunny, Korean), “Summer Is Icumen In” (medieval round), “The Little Bird,” “Circle of the Sun” (dedicated to Storey’s cousin who passed away at age four), “Moon Don’t Go,” and “Yuki” (Snow, Japanese). The booklet has notes for each of the songs and is illustrated with pictures from Remy Charlip’s 1969 book, Arm in Arm (Parent’s Magazine Press, 1965). This fantastic album should be in every library’s collection of music for children.–Beverly Wrigglesworth, San Antonio Public Library, TX