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SIMON MAYOR & HILARY JAMES Lullabies With Mandolins Acoustics CDACS 049

This album is targeted at a specific audience - parents, grandparents, and their young charges. It's essentially exactly what its title suggests; a collection of traditional lullabies and cradle songs - the production is very elegant, and the result is gentle and pleasing on the ear. Mayor excels as always on mandolin, guitar, fiddle, whistle, mandocello (and more), whilst James' voice, guitar and bass playing continue to delight.

Mayor and James have achieved acclaim for their significant contribution to children's music education (especially through their series of 'Musical Mystery Tour' CDs, and their regular school-based workshops and television/radio productions), so the present recording is a natural extension of this work.

I hadn't heard some of these tunes before, though most are very widely known - 'Lavender's Blue', 'Greig's Cradle Song', 'Dance To Your Daddy', 'Golden Slumbers', 'Raisins & Almonds', and the French lullaby 'Fais Dodo'. The selections are from England, France, North America, Germany and Italy; many are traditional, timeless songs, Grieg, Vivaldi and Schubert composed others.

I would certainly have been interested in purchasing this recording when my own children were very young (it's soothing and beautiful to listen to, and would surely calm a fractious child on long car journeys, at bedtime, etc). It's an elegant alternative to those mass-produced, vastly inferior children's music CDs on sale at your local branch of the Early Learning Centre. Mayor and James continue to record high quality, crafted music to be enjoyed by all age groups - I think the appeal of this recording will be limited due to its likely audience, but then again you could say that about most of the music reviewed by Living Tradition!

Debbie Koritsas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 60 of The Living Tradition magazine.