Reviewed by Gregory Keer
The Mother’s Day edition of FMR: Quick Picks is headed by Potluck, the new album from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. This sunshiney follow up to Oh Lucky Day! radiates with warm-hearted songs about kid vehicles (“On My Bike,” starter businesses (“Lemonade Stand”), familiar mice (“Tres Ratones”), and imaginary companions (“Invisible Friend”). Making this alt-rock for kids CD even more blessed is the fact that band leaders Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis are getting married this month. Lots to celebrate, especially for listeners of this great-sounding collection.
Mother of two Hope Harris takes the art of singing and songwriting very seriously. That doesn’t stop her from adding playfuflness to her musical lessons about 19th and 20th century visual artists for Picasso, That’s Who! (And So Can You!). Harris brushes her songs with Latin sounds (“Picasso, That’s Who”), jazz (“Swingin’ Little Duck,” about Alexander Calder), and French folk (“Impression, Monet”). This is a beautifully crafted and smartly researched production that charms as it teaches.
Yet another gem from the Putumayo Kids music series comes in the form of Cowboy Playground. Classic and original Country & Western songs are by everyone from Riders in the Sky (“I’n an Old Cowhand”) to the inimitable Buck Howdy (“Pecos Bill”). This is a well curated selection of fine and usually mellow pieces for new listeners and long-time C&W fans.
We head further south for the origins of the blues, the genre Gaye Adegbalola uses to deliver her tunes about manners (“Please, Please, Please, Please”), muilti-generational experiences (“Grandma & Grandpa’s House”), and responsibility “Don’t-Be-Moody-Do-Yo’-Duty Song”). A proud mom, educator, and winner of of the Blues Music Award, Adegbalola serves up “Blues in All Flavors” with purpose, passion, and humor.
I Am Happy! with Sukey Molloy is a recording that engages babies to preschoolers with interactive tunes (“I Put a Scarf on My Head”), new experiences (“Riding on a Ferry’), and soothing messages (“Be Happy Don’t Worry”). Molloy trained as a dancer before turning to singing and it translates well as she inspires the very young to move and wonder. Infant-toddler and preschool teachers would do well in using this as a soundtrack to their programs.