________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 30 . . . . April 9, 2010

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Can You Dance? Music with Brian.

Brian Morcombe.
Guelph, ON: Music With Brian, Inc. (www.musicwithBrian.com), 2009.
1 CD, 45 min., 28 sec., $9.99.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 2-5.

Review by Jeff Nielsen.

*** /4

Brian Morcombe is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who really wants to make your kids to sing and dance like mad.

     Morcombe, who records under the moniker Music With Brian (musicwithbrian.com), comes from Brampton, ON, and went from playing his guitar in the park to entertaining the wee ones to touring Canada with his partners-in-rhyme, Melody the Hippo and Alan the Lion. On this album, Morcombe plays almost everything by himself, including sax, drums, piano, harmonica and clarinet. Songs like the traditional "When the Saint Go Marching In" and the original "Old George Black" succeed at getting the very young moving their feet and flapping their arms. Besides using a fine array of instruments, Morcome uses a wide array of genres such as rockabilly ("Can You Dance"), country ("A Month and A Day") and even a bit of rap ("Apples and Bananas"). A love of music permeates the entire album.

     While there's no shortage of fun, Morcombe sometimes falls into the trap of trying too hard to please parents, children and teachers all at once, which can result in some blandness. This blandness can manifest in the words to the almost painfully Canadian song "I'm Sorry" ("If you are trying to think of a word you can choose/Say thank you, please or sorry and you can't lose"). However, the charming story-telling of "The Woods" and the nonsense-verse of "Apples and Bananas" keep the album crisp, lyrically. That blandness does also creep into the arrangements occasionally, most noticeably on a version of "Waltzing Matilda" so nice, so jaunty that it sounds almost condescending. Fortunately such moments are more exception than rule here.

     So, if you've got a gang of ankle-biters with energy to burn, maybe this CD or a visit from Music With Brian is in order.

Recommended.

Jeff Nielsen usually teaches high school history in Lorette, MB, but he's taken a sabbatical this year which has resulted in more dancing.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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