Well, here’s something different. Apparently the tallest man in Derbyshire, storyteller David Gibb decided there simply wasn’t enough quality music for children and, inspired by the children’s music movement in America which has seen several high profile artists recording specifically for the younger generation, set about writing and compiling one of his own – Letters Through Your Door.
Variously backed by fiddles, accordion, melodeon, banjo, ukulele, melodeon and brass, this playful but never patronising (or childish) collection includes four traditional children’s songs, although perhaps most will only be familiar with Hush Little Baby, a song which, also known as Mockingbird, has been frequently adapted for the pop canon, most notably by Inez and Charlie Foxx. The other three non originals are a ska shanty version of He’s A Navvy, a handclap and stomp calypso Drop Peter Drop and folksy squeezebox and fiddle shanty Sailing 123.
Of Gibb’s own songs, particular joys are The Dog Won’t Listen To Me, a sort of zydeco blues Gilbert O’Sullivan, brassy rock n roller Letters Through Your Door which suggests Eliz hanging out with Roy Wood’s Wizzard and, despite the title, the quite lovely, nigh-hymnal closing track, Wiggle Your Way Towards Me with its pizzicato fiddle, hurry home to me lyrics and choral finale.
The album’s also notable for featuring several guest vocal appearances from folk world luminaries. Nancy Kerr is there on Hush Little Baby, Lucy Ward features on the jazzy double-bass and brushed snare There’s A Dragon In My Bedroom, opening uke strummed goodtime shuffle From A to B duets with Blue Rose Code, Jez Lowe trades verses and harmonises on playful piano ditty Monkey See Monkey Dream and, fellow Derbyshire musician and 2014 Folk Singer of the Year, Bella Hardy takes lead for A Few Years Older, a song about making your own mark and decisions that will strike a chord with anyone for whom the answer is always no.
With a stage show to complement the CD, this is a welcome bridge for children too old for In The Night Garden and too young for the world of today’s inappropriate pop princesses.
There’s A Dragon In My Bedroom (ft. Lucy Ward)
Review by: Mike Davies
Released 6 October via Hairpin records
Order via Amazon
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