Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 Holiday Guide: Gifts of Music part two

Earlier this month we began this series by covering the Gifts of Music, then followed with DVDs and videos and special coverage on theme-oriented gifts covering one of the most popular of all children’s classics, The Wizard of Oz.

Today, we turn our attention back to one of the most popular categories – music, and gifts that specifically cover CD releases that were made during the last 12 months, which included some of the biggest names in the music industry.

Below you will find a broad range of artists that focused their talents on bringing compilation recordings to the marketplace for all family members.

These products have been researched for quality as well as value, and are geared to provide multiple age ranges with many hours of positive and fun-filled entertainment.

Best pricing options available at the time of this posting are provided below, but it is suggested that (when available) you cross-compare with your favorite online as well as stick and brick retailers.

You may wish to bookmark this page to enable further explorations of the highlighted links at your leisure, as there are numerous choices in this star-studded category, which covers a multitude of musical tastes.

As always, you are the best judge of what is appropriate for your child’s entertainment.

Putumayo Kids: Rock and Roll Playground

Released on June 29th this year, from the Putumayo Kids label, the company known as award-winning innovators in music for children, comes Rock and Roll Playground.

This album brought together a stellar lineup of talent including Grammy® Award winners Dan Zanes and Friends, Taj Mahal and 2009 Grammy nominee Brady Rymer, as well as Parents' and Choice® Gold award winner Roger Day, plus other notable and upcoming musicians that contributed to this historically musical take on the development of Rock and Roll.

Included with the CD is read-aloud illustrated booklet with notes tracing the history of this musical genre, and information about each song on the CD.

Sound samples for all 12 tracks of Putumayo Kids: Rock and Roll Playground is available through Putumayo Kids online, and best pricing for the CD is currently available at Import CDs for $9.79.

Maria Muldaur’s: Barnyard Dance Jug Music Band for Kids

From the distinctive and award-winning Music For Little People label comes a wonderful and fun collection of homegrown toe tapping, sing-along tunes for the whole family from award-winning, platinum selling vocalist Maria Muldaur whose career has spanned more than 47 years.

This collection of tunes, along with Muldaur’s distinctive vocals, utilizes everything from washboard and cowbells to pots and pans and spoons. This jug band recording is a happy audio romp designed to delight the spirit.

All tracks for Maria Muldaur’s: Barnyard Dance Jug Music Band for Kids are available to sound sample at New Releases Now, and the complete CD may be ordered through Marketplace for $6.77, or downloaded in MP3 format for .69 cents per track ($7.99 for the entire album) at iTunes.

Buckwheat Zydeco’s Bayou Boogie

Music for Little People presents another great album from the “Ambassador of Zydeco Music,” Grammy award-winning, Buckwheat Zydeco, who has become a true living Bayou music legend.

Great songs accompanied by guitar, accordion and Hammond B3 organ run the gamut from classic rock to original compositions presented in an enticing mix of Creole sounds that salute a niche of American culture.

Joined with Buck are music superstars Dan Zanes, Maria Muldaur, Laurie Berkner and Aaron Nigel Smith.

All tracks are available for listening at where the CD is priced at $7.45 and individual MP3 downloads are available for .99 cents per track.

Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti

A labor of love and generosity from an exceptional lineup of musical talent, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti was released in August as a fund raising effort to benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project after the devastating earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010.

A first time release from Spare the Rock Records, Many Hands was the brainchild of Dean Jones (Dog on Fleas) and was supported in kind by the many artists who deeply discounted or donated their efforts to bring an amazing mix of sounds, songs and moods that are sing able and danceable for the whole family.

Almost all of the selections on this 22-track album were recorded specially for this CD or were previously unreleased.

Contemporary music legends abound here – Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Mitchell, Dan Zanes and They Might Be Giants (to name just a few) have created an outstanding album to continue the much need support for the people of Haiti.

Sound samples for Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti are available for review at Marketplace, where the CD is priced at $9.02 and individual MP3 tracks are .99 cents each.

Pete Seeger’s Tomorrow’s Children

From Appleseed Recordings comes the iconic Grammy-winning folksinger/political activist, Pete Seeger in his latest studio album, Tomorrow’s Children.

An uplifting and inspirational mix of music and storytelling, Seeger is joined by youth from grammar to high school along with teachers and musicians from his hometown of Beacon, New York.

The album contains many tracks, written or adapted by the children themselves and exudes a feeling of camaraderie, empowerment and cooperation – a true passing of the torch of ideals to a new generation. Marketplace has sound samples for all 19 tracks of Pete Seeger’s Tomorrow’s Children. The CD is also available from Amazon for $9.98, or individual downloadable MP3 tracks for .99 cents each.

 The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band

People Magazine dubbed her “The queen of children’s music,” and on this CD, Laurie Berkner and her band deliver a good dose of royal treatment for the listener.

An excellent compilation of Berkner’s most requested songs includes such favorites as: "Open Your Heart;" “Rocketship Run; “Victor Vito” and many more.

You may sound sample all selections of The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band at and purchase the complete CD for $8.99 or download separate MP3 tracks for .99 cents each or the entire album for $9.99.

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