Performers include: Toots & The Maytals, Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt
Burning Souls, Eric Bibb, Asheba, Alain Schneider, Johnny Dread, Dal Dos Santos, Marty Dread, Mousta Largo, Jessica.
Liner Note Author: Jacob Edgar.
Illustrator: Nicola Heindl.
Translator: Julien Massardier.
Continuing the line of kid-friendly music from around the world, Putumayo Kids Presents: Reggae Playground takes up the standard and runs through a series of reggae works from a tour manager's nightmare of locations. Starting and ending in the Caribbean, the album makes stops in Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Americas, and the South Pacific. Pedigrees are excellent on Playground, with connections to Bob Marley tossed in here and there. The music is all upbeat (even the surprisingly sad "Le Vieil Elephant" has a happy tone if one doesn't know the French). There have been other compilations of reggae from around the world (including Putumayo's own Reggae Around the World), but this one is an excellent showcase of both directions of influence. On some tracks, the artist clearly is essentially a non-Jamaican performing straightforward Jamaican reggae. On others, the artist fuses aesthetics of the form with their own forms and ideals, and on still other tracks Jamaicans take up American and British pop (the Burning Souls take up the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" ably, and Toots & the Maytals provide an excellent cover of "Take Me Home Country Roads," hearkening back all the way to Yellowman in the process). An outstanding album for children by any measure, and moreover an entirely enjoyable album for adults, with relatively little "dumbing down" of the music as far as children's albums go, and some excellent performances all around. ~ Adam Greenberg
Dirty Linen (p.84) - "Throughout, the instruments put on a full-force beat that makes you want to laugh and dance..."