recess radio program

6/04/04
A World of Happiness
    by John Cech

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Be'tcha wanna know where you can find the rest of this new song by Deborah Harry. It's on a compilation CD called A World of Happiness, and it features several songs with Ms. Harry, a poetic recitation by Magic Johnson, and appearances from more than a dozen other performers and celebrities, like Lisa Loeb, Lou Rawls, Illeana Douglas, Samuel L. Jackson, Roseanna Arquette, and George Wendt. Yes, George Wendt, as in the guy from Cheers. One has to admire the energy and enthusiasm of this effort -- and its presentation of a united front of happiness and an upbeat approach to music -- goodness knows we need it. But, in truth, it's also a very mixed bag of talents, and some of them should really leave the singing to others. The arrangements can be relentlessly peppy, a tad condescending for today's young listeners, and a bit too sugary sweet. Alas, that's often what the celebrity bandwagon sounds or reads like, if you include the recent spate of books by Madonna, Jay Leno, the Duchess of York, Julie Andrews, Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and, oh yes, Elizabeth Taylor. What's missing from these group projects is the integrity of a vision, like the one to be found Marlo Thomas's pioneering classic, Free to Be You and Me, which still holds up well after decades. Still, there are a couple of surprises on this new CD -- like Gary Oldman and Gretchen Parlato's duet, "Syd and Lou Lullaby." A maybe that's a good place to tuck this week to bed.

Brief sound clip

Copyright 2004 John Cech

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Tuesday, 27-Apr-2004 09:27:54 EDT


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."