***The Spanglish Wrangler***

I first reviewed Will Thomas' collection of bilingual kids' tunes back in May, when it existed only as mp3s on his website. Now that Spanglish Sing-Along has been released as a physical CD, complete with awesome revamped cover art and a slightly different, less clunky title (formerly The Spanglish Wrangler Sings Bilingual Songs for the Whole Family), I thought I'd repost an edited version of the original review. And Bill Childs, over at Spare the Rock, gave Will a cool little writeup in the July issue of Parenting magazine, as well.

Here ya go:

'Will Thomas' bilingual tunes for kids are fun and funny and witty, and, most importantly to adults, stand up to repeated listenings. While Thomas has recorded grownup albums at Birdland Recording Studios in Town Creek, Alabama (very close to my hometown), he laid down the basic tracks for Spanglish Sing-Along at his home studio in Miami Beach.

You can practice your Spanish vocabulary by inference in the song "Emociones;" while "(They Call It) Spanish Monday," based on T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday Blues," helps you brush up on the days of the week. "Desayuno Boogie" is a celebration of breakfast, while the swampy funk of "Broccoli" describes a girl's love of that vegetable.

"Eres Mi Vida" is a Spanish-language version of "You Are My Sunshine," and the story of "Cucaracha" is set to the music of Earth Wind and Fire's "September." "Bailla Pollito" is a funny little tale about a reluctant dancer, while "I Love My Dog" is a little reminiscent of the old classic "Down By the Bay." Additional vocab practice is provided by "Gator and Bee" and "Bear's Picnic," directions en Espanol on the former and present tense verbs on the latter ("I sing, canto, y'all sing, cantais", etc.).

Thomas' intimate, downhome, bluesy performance and playful songwriting style make this collection a perfect teaching tool in both the classroom and at home. You're not smacked in the head with ridiculously bombastic production, and the lyrics don't make kids (or adults) feel like dunces. This is a great project from an artist who is a welcome addition to the kids' music world.'

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