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American Folksongs for Children

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Album Review

An earlier review summarizes this project as being for ages three to seven, but perhaps this isn't the best target audience for such an extensive project. Above all this set should be of interest to many listeners conceptually, as it represents a labor of love that spans a generation. Brother and sister Mike and Peggy Seeger have recorded the collection of simple children's folk songs their mother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, assembled and published in the book of the same title as this set. Both collections includes dozens and dozens of songs, from the ultra-familiar "Skip to My Lou" to the futile "Scraping up Sand in the Bottom of the Sea." The big question is: Who is it that is going to sit and listen to this whole thing? It is seriously pretty doubtful that most tots in the age groups listed above would get extensive use out of the three-album box or multiple-CD set, although there are individual songs that will be found appealing, no doubt. The more specifically focused collections the Seegers created for the same label or Folkways will find a more appreciative audience among children, as it is easier to see little folk enjoying one disc of all animal songs than wading through this entire morass of material. Fans of Mike Seeger's instrumental virtuosity in the old-timey music arena will also find this material a bit laid-back, since hot-shot picking wasn't the point here. (Kids would like the set better if it was, however). Librarians, music teachers, and other archivists are going to be the folks who really appreciate this collection, especially in tandem with the book. For sake of argument, the best vocal is on "Goodbye, Old Paint." Somewhere along the line the disastrous graphic decision was made to remove the charming black-and-white photo from the cover and replace it with a cheesy, folksy painting of the same scene.


Formed: 15 August 1933 in New York, NY

Genre: Children's Music

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

b. 15 August 1933, New York City, New York, USA. Seeger is the son of well-known musicologist Charles Seeger, and Ruth Crawford Seeger, composer and author. From his youngest days he was surrounded by traditional music, and learned to play the autoharp at the age of 12. A few years later, he started to play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dulcimer, mouth harp, and dobro. Together with his sister Peggy Seeger, he played with local square dance bands in the Washington area. His first involvement with country...
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