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A Child’s Garden of Soul

Author John Cech
Air Date 11/8/2004

A Child’s Garden of Soul Transcript

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That’s Archie Bell and the Drells, asking everyone to “Tighten Up”. It’s National Drum Month, and a good time for some music for kids that has a real beat to it. Music for Little People has a CD with just the right groove: it’s called A Child’s Celebration of Soul and it contains some of the standards by the great musicians of the genre, like Ike and Tina Turner doing “Proud Mary” and James Brown telling us to “Get on the Good Foot.” There’s Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man” long before it became a Blues Brothers bit, and, of course, Aretha Franklin’s anthem, “Respect” — a song that’s still fresh and waiting for new generations to discover.

Which is why this is music for kids: the values are even spelled out, and they spring directly from childhood — from the creative democracy of its games and play songs. The CD includes the Jackson Five’s breakthrough hit, “Rockin Robin,” a street rhyme that’s still being sung in MoTown and, probably, your town. Or listen to Rufus Thomas taking that old hand-clapping rhyme, “Miss Mary Mack,” and turning it into a new dance:

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These rhythms have been rippling through our culture for decades, and they provide a child with one of the musical strings that he needs to tune himself to our world — to find those songs in the key of life, with their chords of promise and their belief in the equality of everyday. Now, as Taj Mahal shows us, that’s something to dance to:

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Posted in Music