Canadian fiddler, Gordie MacKeeman (also known by the stage name, Crazylegs due to his style of dancing) has released the first volume of Folk For Little Folk. Though the recording is primarily intended for a children’s audience, MacKeeman has approached this concept in a way that will engage grown up listeners as well.
From the minute the opening track, All Around the Kitchen, began, I was immediately struck by MacKeeman’s abilities on the fiddle. His playing on this particular tune is reminiscent of many great old time fiddlers. As I was listening to this project, I thought all of the material on Folk For Little Folk Volume 1 would be performed in that same fiery style MacKeeman utilized on All Around the Kitchen and Big Rock Candy Mountain. I quickly realized that there was so much more to this project from a stylistic standpoint. Get Out There and Dance for instance is performed as a western swing number while the children’s standard, Old MacDonald is performed as an up-tempo bluegrass instrumental. The most impressive thing about this musical variety is how adept Gordie MacKeeman is at approaching these various styles on his instrument.
Folk For Little Folk Volume 1 has a very nice mix on terms of the overall song selection. While songs such as Snaccident, Dancing in the Bathtub, and Hokey Pokey are clearly geared for children, other tunes such as Chicken Reel, Mama Don’t Allow, and Listen to the Mockingbird, could be equally enjoyed by children and parents alike.
I had not heard of Gordie “Crazylegs” MacKeeman prior to hearing Folk for Little Folk Volume 1 and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect going in, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. As I stated earlier, McKeeman is a wonderful stylist on the fiddle and it shows in spades here. One of Gordie’s ultimate goals with Folk For Little Folk Volume 1 was to make a recording that could have equal appeal not just for children, but those of all ages. I believe that Gordie MacKeeman has succeeded in that aim.