That said, I almost universally dislike when children themselves are singing the songs. The little voices just tend to sound so whiny! I prefer an adult singer with some simple but well-performed accompaniment.
Here is a list of my top recommendations for children's artists:
1. Nancy Cassidy
This is the woman I grew up listening to! I have mega nostalgia when it comes to her albums, and still know every song by heart. They were originally released by Klutz. Each album historically came with a lyric book so kids can follow along (we had the cassette tapes growing up). I'm not sure if the newest version of the cds comes with these, but I'd bet you can find them on eBay. She has a great voice, and it's easy to sing along.
KidsSongs Jubilee (my favorite)
I never heard of Raffi as a child. How is that even possible? I feel like everyone else my age grew up with his music. Now I know I was really missing out! We now have a ton of his albums, and I love them all. He's quite a prolific artist! Here are all the ones I can definitely recommend:
Singable Songs for the Very Young
Rise and Shine
One Light, One Sun
Bananaphone (one of the kids' favorites)
More Singable Songs
The Corner Grocery Store
Raffi's Christmas Album
Raffi Radio (Tom and I have been known to put on the song 'Coconut' even after the kids are in bed just because it's so enjoyable)
As I was compiling this list, I discovered that he has two new albums I've never even listened to! It genuinely feels like I discovered a goldmine, and I just declared to Tom that Sly and Stella will each be receiving a Raffi album for their birthdays next month :-)
3. Elizabeth Mitchell
She's a newer artist than the others I've mentioned. I first heard her lovely voice at a friends' house, when she put on an album for her children. Elizabeth sings a lot of modern renditions of traditional folk songs. Her stuff is probably the easiest to find at your local library.
You Are My Sunshine
You Are My Little Bird
Little Seed (my all-time favorite - all the songs are covers of Woody Guthrie songs)
4. Peggy and Mike Seeger
A sister and brother duo (their half-brother is Pete Seeger). I only have one of their albums (so far!), but I've been loving it. On this, they are singing the entire collection of folk songs their mother Ruth published in one of her several song books (see it here).
American Folk Songs for Children
I recently found another of Ruth Seeger's books at a library book sale, and it's a sweet collection of songs. I've seen that the siblings recorded an album of these as well, and I'm looking forward to hearing it sometime.
5. Making Music Praying Twice
I really like the idea of this program, intended to teach music and rhythm (and a bit of the Faith) to young children. The song selections are pretty good, though I'll say that the singers' voices/singing style is sometimes not my favorite. But it's a great intro to some simple, fun songs for kids. I've heard my children singing songs off these albums more than any of the other ones, even though I've played them less times.
Making Music Praying Twice Family Edition
Who are your family's favorite children's artists? I'd love to give them a listen!
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