Susan Stewart
April 05, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

Down the Do-Re-Mi

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Red Grammer
Producers
BMG, The Children's Group
genre
Kids and Family

We gave it an A

However you feel about John Denver’s heartfelt tenor, you must admit he would have made a great children’s entertainer. The proof is Red Grammer, a 37-year-old country boy from New Jersey. Grammer sounds exactly like Denver and sings exclusively to children, and he’s wonderful.

Sweet, not saccharine, and countrified without being corn pone, Grammer is anatural. Nothing about Down the Do-Re-Mi, his third album, is at all forced or condescending. It’s good material, professionally presented.

”Do-Re-Mi” has eight good songs and five excellent ones. Grammer and his wife, Kathy, wrote the good songs. They include a ballad about the early-morning patter of tiny feet (not an activity that a tired parent will cherish, but pleasant) and cover topics from world peace to the contents of a barnyard.

The Grammers’ best original song, ”The ABC’s of You,” has a Denveresque opening (”If I wrote down all of my feelings for you/I’d probably fill up an ocean or two”); the rest is alphabetized cleverness: ”I think you’re A gift, a gem, and genuinely generous,/Honest, high-grade, impressive, interesting ” And so on, from A to Z. A great idea.

”Down the Do-Re-Mi” also includes four excellent interpretations of traditional tunes: the lovely dirge ”Grandfather’s Clock,” the rollicking ”(All God’s Critters Got a) Place in the Choir,” the laundry-list tune ”Rattlin’ Bog,” and — this old Girl Scout’s favorite — ”Land of the Silver Birch.” You know it: minor key, Japanese simplicity. ”Where the mighty moose wanders at will,” etc. ”Silver Birch” perfectly represents a fourth grader’s image of Native Americans. Close your eyes and dream of teepees.

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