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Disney Albums Sing to the Moods of Children

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Parents and the very youngest listeners will find a song to match almost any mood in Walt Disney Records’ beguiling new three-album Disney Babies series: “Lullaby,” “Wake-up” and “Playtime.”

A mostly pleasing mix of old and new, the selections have been newly recorded in a variety of styles from folk and country to early rock ‘n’ roll.

The first in the series, the previously released “Lullaby” album, is the sweetest pleasure. It includes graceful selections from classic Disney films--"Stay Awake” (“Mary Poppins”), “La La Lu” (“Lady and the Tramp”), “Baby Mine” (“Dumbo”) and more--plus traditional tunes such as “All the Pretty Little Horses.”

There’s also endearing new material. “Fast Asleep” and “Sleep, Daddy, Sleep,” sung by a child, are all cuddly charm. The comic “Ho Ho Hum” is guaranteed to get the most stubborn holdouts yawning.

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Vocalists include some guest artists, among them Stephen Bishop, Billy Gaines and Larry Groce, whose “Junk Food Junkie” was a novelty pop hit in the ‘70s.

“Wake-up” is equally eclectic. George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” and Bob Dylan’s “New Morning” keep company with an orange juice-and-toast narration over music from Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” and the classic “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

The vocalizations tend toward a certain easy-listening sameness, but standouts include a soulful “It’s a Beautiful Morning” and the perky “Wake-Up Symphony” by Michael and Patricia Silversher.

“Playtime,” with its accompanying activity guide, provides plenty of parent and baby interaction, but it has a few rough spots.

The tempo in “Ten Little Fingers’ ” is far too fast--forget the suggested finger game--and “John Brown’s Baby” with “a cold upon its chest” is a dubious choice for inclusion. But Shepard Stern’s sweet, funky “Big Hugs and Kisses” is a heart-stealer and the Silvershers score again with their bouncy “Little Cowpoke” and delightful “A Tickle Dee Dum” full of “huggles and snuggles.”

Favorite preschool standards such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “The Wheels on the Bus” are well-represented too.

Walt Disney Records. Widely available. Cassette, $8.98 each; CD, various prices. (800) 346-4445.


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