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Music Review: Elizabeth Mitchell – Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie

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Woody Guthrie was one of the finest folk singers and songwriters America has ever produced, and I knew I wanted to review this CD and share it with my seven-month-old granddaughter Ava. It turns out we both loved it so much that as soon as it finished, we started Little Seed over from the beginning.

Elizabeth Mitchell has the perfect voice for these songs, and the simple but perfect musical accompaniment could not be made more perfect.

Ava laughed her way through “Riding in My Car,” “Bling Blang,” and “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.” We both laughed through “Why, Oh Why?” with its lyrics, “Why, oh why, oh why?/Because, because, because, because/Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.” What parent cannot relate?

I loved the whimsy of all the lyrics, and Ava just loved the sound. When she’s a little older, she’ll appreciate Woody’s stories of ponies that fly to the moon and the sun in “Merry-Go-Round,” the extreme sweetness of “One Day Old,” the playfulness of “Who’s My Pretty Little Baby?” and “Little Sugar,” the perfect simplicity of “Grassy Grass Grass,” and the joyfulness of “Little Seed.”

I was thrilled to find that all the lyrics for “This Land is Your Land” are here, including the sassy, “As I was walking, I saw a sign there/And on the sign it said, ‘No Trespassing’/But on the other side it didn’t say nothing/That side was made for you and me,” and “Nobody living can ever stop me/As I go walking that Freedom highway.” No song has ever done a better job of capturing the free American spirit than that one does.

An added bonus is the 20-page booklet with photos and notes by Mitchell about the songs, the musicians and how the recording was made.

This is, quite simply, the best children’s album I’ve ever heard. In fact, I’m going to go right ahead and buy another copy of Little Seed for my 17-month-old granddaughter Adeleine, and you should go buy one for every baby, toddler, and preschooler you know. They will thank you for it! It’s never too early to introduce your children to Woody Guthrie and the heritage of great folk music.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.