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FAMILY

Lullabies, Jazz, Show Tunes for the Little Ones

August 20, 1996|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A different bounce, beat or lyric spin can heat up familiar songs or cool them down, and can set toes tapping and heads nodding. Three of the four audio releases here do just that; the fourth is an original, with its own distinctive rhythms.

* "Louis Armstrong: Disney Songs the Satchmo Way": This Walt Disney Records re-release of the captivating 1968 album sounds as if the legendary jazz great had a blast recording it. Here are some of Disney's happiest tunes made even happier with Armstrong's unique touch, from "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" to "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." Liner notes from top trumpeters Al Hirt, Terence Blanchard and Leroy Jones are included.

* CD: retail price varies. Audiocassette: $8.98. Widely available.

* "Rock-a-Bye Baby" is another Disney release, this one a compilation of synthesized pop tunes and some Disney classics "lullabized" for sleepy tots. Featured artists include Toni Childs covering Smashing Pumpkins' "Farewell and Goodnight" (the group created appropriate new lyrics to fit the theme); Lebo M doing Amy Grant's "Baby Baby"; Tyler Collins' sweet rendition of Meredith Willson's "Till There Was You"; and David Pack on John Lennon's soulful "Beautiful Boy." The highlight, however, and the most spontaneous-sounding number on the album, is the Wild Colonials' husky-voiced, mellow performance of the Disney anthem "When You Wish Upon a Star."

* CD: retail price varies. Audiocassette: $9.98.

* "Broadway With a Beat" is an independent release by TV and musical stage pro Eileen Barnett, whose assured vocals are a treat in this well-chosen collection of kid-pleasing familiar and less familiar tunes from Broadway shows. Most fun are a funny-spooky rendition of "Hernando's Hideaway" from "Pajama Game," Rodgers and Hammerstein's charming "One Foot, Other Foot" from "Allegro," "Magic to Do" from "Pippin" and "Yum Ticky Ticky Tum" from "Carnival."

* Shaker Dog Music, P.O. Box 56586, Sherman Oaks 91413. CD: $15, audiocassette: $10, plus shipping.

* "Simon's Pond": This delightful release is a labor of love by an Indiana plumber named Monroe Alfrey, whose hobby is songwriting and whose inspiration is his toddler son, Simon. There's nothing amateurish, however, about Alfrey's vivid word pictures, humorous nonsense verses and soulful ballads, done in country, R&B and rock-oldie style. A few highlights: "Daddy's Tools," "The Monkey and the Lion (and Their Travelin' Band)," "Spin Around, Hop Around (Oink, Quack, Moo)" and the stunning title song, a father's gentle lullaby to his beloved baby son.

* 5 Speed Productions, CD: $12.95, audiocassette: $9.95, plus shipping. (800) 445-9395.

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