British pop and rock stars, always conscious of their image, rare record Christmas songs and it is almost (but not quite) unheard-of for them to record children's music. Paul McCartney had a British top three hit with We all stand together, a song from an animated children's film, but it definitely damaged his reputation in some quarters. Remembering that, the idea of any British pop and rock stars recording an entire album of children's music seemed such a ludicrous idea that it never occurred to me that it could ever happen. Still, it's amazing what those same pop and rock stars will do for charity.
This album of children's music was recorded for a very good cause - the Save the Children Fund's special project (Rewrite the future) to provide much-needed education for children in countries affected by conflict such as Sudan, Angola, Uganda, Afghanistan and Nepal. I can think of plenty of other countries that could be added to that list, but those are the one named in the booklet that comes with the CD. (Cynics might say that the arguments over Iraq mean that Britain and America are countries affected by conflict but I somehow don't think we count.)
I have to confess my ignorance when it comes to the music that these artists normally record but from the overall sound, I suspect that the music here reflects their normal styles except that the lyrics were written for children. If you're familiar with the normal music of the featured artists, your choice of favorite tracks may be influenced to some extent by who your favorite artists are. Being completely ignorant of such music, I'll nominate my favorites as The monkeys are breaking out the zoo (Belle and Sebastian), Mud (Ivor Cutler trio), The big ol' bug is the new baby now (Flaming Lips) and I am an astronaut (Snow Patrol).
This was a very brave effort that deserved to sell in huge quantities but I don't think it did. Despite the cause, it was just too way off the mainstream for most people. I've always been a very curious person, forever on the lookout for something different. As children's music goes, this is certainly different.