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Growing Up with Ella Jenkins
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Performer Notes
  • Solo performer: Ella Jenkins (vocals).
  • Recorded in 1976. Originally released on Folkways Records (7662). Includes liner notes by Ella Jenkins.
  • All tracks have been digitally remastered.
  • Ella Jenkins is a dependable performer for delivering intelligent, high-quality folk-based children's music. That's what she does with acoustic guitar, ukulele, and banjo in this set, sometimes relying on just chanting and handclapping. It was recorded at the Mary Crane Center in Chicago and originally issued in 1976, with Guy Guilbert adding some instrumentation and vocals. From a musical standpoint, it might rate as one of her less enjoyable recordings, not due to her own work but some attributes of the performance that might occasionally irritate listeners (albeit primarily adults, rather than the kids toward whom this is aimed). There's a good amount of enthusiastic but discordant singing by the children in the audience, who in fact carry the whole vocal performance on "Farmer Brown Had Ten Green Apples." The insistent kazoos of "Show Me" are also a lot more fun to play than to hear, and one might also say that of the squeaky mouse effects on a few numbers. It's nice, admittedly, to hear mice described in a positive light rather than as pests in the 32-second "I Think Mice Are Rather Nice." Still, these tunes are easy to assimilate and sing, and well done by the performer, though some are on the extremely elementary level (with repeated phrases aplenty), closer to the lower range of the three- to nine-year-olds who serve as the album's target audience. ~ Richie Unterberger
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