Release Date: 2006
Label: Putumayo Kids
1. Choo Choo Ch’Boogie – Clifton Chenier2. They All Ask’d For You – The Meters3. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner – Kermit Ruffins4. Second Line – Charmaine Neville5. Skip To My Blues – Buckwheat Zydeco6. Ya Ya – Lee Dorsey7. I Like It Like That – Chris Kenner8. Whole Lotta Lovin’ – Fats Domino9. Ain’t Got No Home – Clarnce ‘Frogman’ Henry10. Row Row Your Boat – Dr. John11. When The Saints Go Marchin’ In – Hack Bartholomew
A natural follow-up to Putumayo Kids’ Folk Playground and French Playground volumes, New Orleans Playground gathers 11 songs by mostly prominent New Orleans artists not necessarily intended for children but high in their child-friendly fun quotient. The selection is careful to avoid the condescension that marks all too much children’s music. Four tracks in a row, for example, will be familiar to adults who remember Top 40 radio of the ’50s and ’60s: Lee Dorsey‘s “Ya Ya,” Chris Kenner‘s “I Like It Like That,” Fats Domino‘s “Whole Lotta Lovin’,” and Clarence “Frogman” Henry‘s “Ain’t Go No Home.” Any parent who recalls these oldies will be more than happy to have their own child singing along to these evergreens. The Meters “They All Ask’d for You” is an oft-recorded trifle recollecting a trip to the zoo, and you can bet no one else has ever done to “Row Row Your Boat” what Dr. John does to it here. Clifton Chenier‘s “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie,” made famous by Louis Jordan, Asleep at the Wheel, and many others, is another that should go down easily with any kid who likes a catchy tune (which is to say nearly all of them). Kermit Ruffins invites a group of kids to help him out with “Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner” and a traditional, rousing performance of the perennial “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” is the perfect way to wrap it all up, as performed by Hack Bartholomew. Only Charmaine Neville‘s “Second Line” feels out of place here. It’s a perfectly spirited, up-tempo New Orleans dance tune, but doesn’t particularly work within the context of the other entries here. Nonetheless, New Orleans Playground is a good-time collection that, as the cliché goes, will appeal to anyone from two to 102.