Sunday, February 05, 2006

Review: All Through the Night - Mae Robertson and Don Jackson

Ah... the traditional lullabies. "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." "All Through the Night." Elvis.

Elvis? As in Presley?

I admit, I would not have expected Elvis Presley to be tops on my list of good lullaby artists. But Mae Robertson's and Don Jackson's album All Through The Night: Lullabies and Love Songs includes not just one but two songs made famous by Mr. Swivel-Hips himself. And those songs -- "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Love Me Tender" (co-written by Elvis) -- fit in wonderfully with this beautifully chosen and sung collection. Though not written specifically for a parent-child relationship, their placement in this collection shifts your perspective on the lyrics -- they really can be lullabies.

One of the advantages of the 15-song collection is that with the exception of the songs I've already mentioned above and "The Water is Wide," I was completely unfamiliar with the songs. Since the same dozen or so lullabies end up making it onto any lullaby CD, this variety is a good thing. Besides Elvis, Robertson also covers Van Morrison and poet Robert Burns on this CD. (Of course, on later CDs she covers Joni Mitchell and the Talking Heads, so this isn't just a one-CD fad.)

The songs are treated in a gentle folk style, guitar and occasionally piano and other folk instruments (Celtic harp, dobro). Over an entire album, the songs begin to blend together, but with a lullaby CD, that's as much to its credit as its detriment. And Robertson, with a beautiful voice, knows how not to oversell her songs.

I stumbled across this CD when I was desperate for a change from traditional lullaby CDs (even good ones) with our first child. This may have been the one I used to accompany late-night feedings more than any other. It's available at and Robertson's own website. Like any lullaby CD, it's most appropriate for kids aged 0-2, but your kindergartners may still want to listen at night. Highly recommended.

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