Fun & Games
'Consider this purchase essential even if the budget is limited.' - School Library Journal 'Fun and Games,' winner of a Parents' Choice Silver Honor, and multiple GOLD winner of the Children's Music Web, continues in the tradition of 'Emily Songs' providing great music for kids of all ages and their parents. An adventurously played, high-energy blend of happy, upbeat acoustic music. Like favorite records of old, this disc will happily stay in your CD player for a while. This is REAL music *you* will like as much as your kids. Honest. No kidding. Turn your kids onto some good tunes! We're rocking here. You won't be dissappointed. Besides that it has Jeff Bird and Margo Timmins of Canada's Cowboy Junkies. The tune Margo sings is worth the price of admission alone. Parent' Choice Silver Honor, September, 2002: 'Wheels, washing machines, hula hoops and the Earth itself 'Spin' with exuberance in this happy smile of an album from Ben Rudnick. Tears turn to 'Sun Showers,' palm trees sway while a breezy tropical island night passes in 'Twisting Low' and 'Hopscotch' chases the blues away. Rudnick's bouncy, colorful story songs, sung with neighborly warmth, are complemented by a smashing, multi-instrumental band of musicians.' - Lynne Heffley ©2002 Parents' Choice South Florida Parenting Magazine, October, 2002: 'Ben Rudnick sounds a little like Jimmy Buffett playing Tennessee bluegrass. And then he brings the Cowboy Junkies' ethereal-voiced Margo Timmins along for the ride. The result, as the title of Rudnick's second children's album suggests, is a whole lot of fun. Banjo player Adam DeLong recalls the good ole days of bluegrass on Blackberry Blossom and Sheik Scruggs, a bluegrass song with Middle Eastern overtones that actually work. Timmins haunting voice loses it's edgy Cowboy Junkies' sound and rings true and soft on the lullaby Everything is Alright. Not that your kids might not notice the musicianship and mix of musical sounds, but they'll like the wild variety of chirps, whistles, cowbells and other strange percussion instruments that Jeff Bird brings into the music. And they'll certainly be singing and dancing along with this fresh, original album.' Buzz McClain of the Washington Post had this to say: 'Ben Rudnick refuses to pander by making 'children's music,' with the result being a disc of sophisticated melodies, precise instrumentation and witty lyrics that delight the entire family. As evidence that he's aiming high, there are two instrumentals that showcase his playing. And he knows his audience: Anyone who can sing an ode to macaroni and cheese -- the substance upon which most of our kids voluntarily subsist on -- is paying attention.' Nashville Parent Magazine, August 1, 2002: 'Fun and Games is a lighthearted celebration of what kids do best -- play! 'Spin' extols the virtues of dizziness, while the upbeat 'Hopscotch' will make you want to start skipping right then and there. 'Macaroni and Cheese' is as close to a love song as a kid can get. The soothing 'Everything is Alright' (with vocals by the Cowboy Junkies' Margo Timmins) marks the end of another eventful day as a child. With this happy collection of songs, Rudnick explores the moments in a child's life that belong especially to children -- but that we can share if we want to.' - Ashley Crownover Baltimore's Child, October 2002: 'Once in awhile, I am able to say that a CD reaches not only the children but the parents as well. In that spirit, I am delighted to recommend Fun and Games with it's amazing range of bluegrass instruments to all the parents out there. Children won't know it, but they will be jumping and dancing around to the guitar, banjo, steel drum, mandolin, harmonica, bobby whistle, cowbell, wooden blocks and many other percussive instruments. With excellent musicianship, Ben Rudnick and Friends, take listeners on a musical trip through the tale of 'Sally Salamander,' to the blood pumping beat of 'Spin,' to the soothing sounds of 'Everything is Alright.' With positive lyrics to accompany the catchy melodies, you really can't help having fun with Fun and Games. No doubt the title is the only suitable name for this highly energetic collection of songs.' - Charlotte Rose Giza Publishers Weekly Reviews, September 2002 'As they did on Emily Songs, Rudnick and friends (including Jeff Bird and Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies) serve up some snazzy bluegrass-flavored entertainment. With all the bounce befitting the album's title, Rudnick sails through such happy original numbers as 'Spin,' about all sorts of circular motion - including kids twirling, 'Macaroni & Cheese,' an ode to the kid-friendly entrée, and 'Hopscotch,' a groovy tribute to this favorite sidewalk/schoolyard game. Stellar banjo and mandolin accompaniment lend a distinct flavor, especially on three instrumental tracks, but bluegrass is not the only game on this recording. Calypso ('Twisting Low'), rock, and a gentle, untraditional lullaby ('Everything Is Alright,' featuring vocals by Timmins) all get their due. The variety offered here spells listening enjoyment for the whole family. All ages.' Booklist Magazine, January 2003 'This eclectic collection covers a lot of territory, from commonplace to fanciful. Performer Ben Rudnick sticks pretty close to everyday concerns and activities in tunes about salamanders, hopscotch, macaroni and cheese, and spinning things. The venerable standard 'Swinging on a Star' fits right in, as does the jaunty instrumental 'Sailor's Hornpipe.' Rudnick's pleasing down-home style infuses the mostly original songs, which are fun, and in a curious way, mellow. What comes through is a distinct personality, far from the slick, polished anonymity found on some popular recordings for this age group. - Paul Shackman.