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Penner, Fred. Oak Street Music Inc., 1988. Phonodisc. 1-12". 33 l/3rpm. $11.99. Distributed by A&M Records.

Ages 3 and up
Reviewed by Christine Buchanan

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

Fred Penner's latest album, named after his successful television program, will undoubtedly be welcomed by all those who have enjoyed his four previous recordings. Eighteen songs, including some old favourites such as "Ten in the Bed" and "Mairzy Doats." are presented along with many pieces written or arranged by Fred Penner himself. The musical arrangements are lively and Interesting; they effectively utilize a variety of Instruments from Fred's familiar guitar to a penny whistle, accordion, South American flute, mandolin and many others. Several fine musicians. Including Ken and Chris Whltely. and various adult and child singers support Fred in different combinations. There are some reflective pieces such as "I Am the Wind" and "A Father's Song" mixed in with the predominantly funny and lively songs, and the album as a whole has the same cheerful, energetic, good-natured spirit one sees in Fred Penner's performances.

The overall professional quality of this record and the occasional "bluesy" touch probably attest to the presence of musician/producer Ken Whitely, who co-produced this album with Fred Penner and who has been similarly involved with a number of the better children's recordings available today. A leaflet gives the words to the songs and some suggestions for creative activities based on the songs. Incidentally, the theme music for Fred's television program is of course the first item on the record, which is also available on cassette.

A very worthwhile purchase for school and public libraries as well as for family listening.

Christine Buchanan, Toronto, Ont.
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