A Hug and a Song
Rooted firmly in the American folk traditions of Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton and Hedy West, this sixth album by Massachusetts-based singer/songwriter Fran Friedman offers fifteen new tracks for younger children. As with her previous recordings, Friedman draws on material written by a host of fine songwriters for her simple acoustic arrangements. The general theme of the album is about kindness, empathy and understanding, and Friedman begins with the traditional song “Shake A Friend’s Hand.” From there, Brent Holmes’ “Bears Have Coats of Many Colors” is a song which is both informative about the world’s Caniforms, as well as acting as a metaphor about diversity. There are some fun songs which contain little educational moments, like Meredith Wilson’s “I See the Moon,” Berchie Green’s “There Was Once a Puffin,” and Malvina Reynolds’ “Magic Penny.” Also included are topical songs such as Dorothy Cresswell’s “Oh, It’s Love That Makes A Family,” Lisa Atkinson’s “Just the Same,” and Susan Salidor’s classic “I’ve Got Peace in My Fingers.” Freidman is a fine interpreter of songs, possessing a friendly, warm voice, and backing herself on guitar or bass, with able accompaniment by friends on keyboard, banjo and fiddle. Other highlights include a slightly modified rendition of Pam Donkin’s lovely “Planting Seeds of Love,” a sweet take on Janet Slaroff’s “Oh, Won’t You Sing Along,” and a soft and gentle closing lullaby in Dennis and Anna Soloway’s “Tomorrow’s Just A Dream Away.” This is a fine source album for parents, teachers, and educators, who wish to find good songs to sing with kids.
Lahri Bond ©2019 Parents’ Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.