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FAMILY

'Folk Music' for Kids a True Celebration

July 31, 1996|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Happy, comical, at times soulful, "A Child's Celebration of Folk Music," a new release from Music for Little People, is aptly named. This collection of traditional and original songs sung by such notables as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Sweet Honey in the Rock is truly celebratory in both spirit and performance.

Here are silly songs like "There Ain't No Bugs on Me (There May Be Bugs on the Rest of You Mugs . . . )" by David Grisman and Jerry Garcia, Buckwheat Zydeco's ebullient rendition of "Crawfish Song," a joyous "Run Molly Run" by Sweet Honey in the Rock and the all-time best traveling song, the legendary Guthrie's "Riding in My Car (Car Song)."

Seeger, another folk-era legend, is heard serving up the multi-versed "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" and Maria Muldaur, aided by a kid chorus, gives "Would You Like to Swing on a Star" her unique, raspy spin.

A softer mood comes with Raffi's global anthem "World We Love," David Mallett's "Garden Song" and, in a highlight among highlights, Taj Mahal's poignant treatment of "Little Brown Dog," a musical tall tale.

This is the latest release in the top-quality "Celebration" series that includes "A Child's Celebration of Song," ". . . of Showtunes," ". . . of Broadway" and ". . . of Rock 'n' Roll."

* "A Child's Celebration of Folk Music," Music for Little People/Rhino Records, CD: $15.98; audiocassette: $9.98. (800) 727-2233.

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Face It: Although the success of "Babymugs!," "Baby Faces" and other baby-centered home videos has led to an avalanche of similar products, one recent entry is a standout worth mention: "Ebony Expressions," which calls itself the "First African-American Video for Infants/Toddlers," from the newly formed Playtime Productions.

It's 30 well-produced, captivating minutes of adorable babies, toddlers and preschoolers of color, filmed indoors and outdoors, at play, snacking and napping, with African-inspired music and a little repeat-after-me-style learning thrown in: counting, body part identification and the alphabet.

* "Ebony Expressions," Playtime Productions, $12.95, plus shipping and handling. (888) 96-EBONY (toll free).

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Package Deal: Sony Wonder has gotten into the baby-vid biz, too, but with less appealing results. Its slick new "Baby, It's You" home video series has just been launched with "Multiple Madness," featuring twins and triplets. The contrived playroom setting and poses lessen the natural charm of the young subjects, however, and the accompanying pop tunes, like "Three Times a Lady" and "Knock 3 Times," add to a too-obviously packaged feel.

* "Baby It's You," Sony Wonder, 30 minutes, $9.98 each.

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