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Canadian Trio’s Alphabet Extravaganza

TIMES STAFF WRITER

“Come Follow the Band,” sing a “Chicken Medley,” hear frogs go “Gatgoon” (not ribbet ) and take a walk on “The Sunny Side of the Street,” with that feel-good phenomenon of children’s music: Sharon, Lois and Bram.

The three Canadian stars of the Nickelodeon cable channel’s award-winning “Elephant Show” have just released their new album, “Sing A to Z,” and it’s an alphabet extravaganza, a 26-letter salute.

(They’re also touring the West Coast. Concert stops include the Universal Amphitheatre next Saturday and the San Diego Convention Center on Feb. 24.)

With styles that range from folk to jazz to blues, and with a multicultural song selection, this is the trio’s usual mix of the traditional and contemporary--and, as usual, it is unusually appealing.

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The trademark voices, bubbly, warm and mellow as molasses, blend with polished instrumentals--brass, percussion, strings and winds--in less familiar songs such as “The Cubanola Glide,” “Caballitto Blanco” and “Owl Lullaby,” and in perennials such as “Hush, Little Baby” and “Baby Face.” Joe Raposo’s evocative “Somebody Come and Play” and the comic “Jellyman Kelly” are highlights.

Young children introduce each letter (you may have to explain zed ) and join in select offerings--"Gatgoon,” the frog song, is irresistible--and the Youth Outreach Choir makes a big contribution on “New World Coming.”

And yes, the group’s signature tune “Skinnamarink” is here, turned into “XYZinnamarink,” with xylophone, yodels and zither. This is one album that’s bound to make car trips shorter, and moms and dads can sing along too.

A&M; Children’s Music and Video. Cassette, $8.98; CD, $14.95. Information: (800) 888-5301.

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