Review: Randy Kaplan – Mr Diddie Wah Diddie

Posted on: Monday, Sep 10, 2012

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Randy Kaplan – Mr Diddie Wah Diddie

(my KaZooMusic/Universal Music Enterprises: B0016715-02)

Randy Kaplan has had a wide and varied career from acting in the theatre to prime time television, but he has undoubtedly found an extremely comfortable niche position, that of, an accomplished child entertainer and an adult blues, country blues, folk and ragtime performer. On this, his third child friendly music album, he introduces the Blues to an extremely young generation. To establish the history, scene and surroundings, we have the narrator, one ‘Lightnin’ Bodkins’ a craggy Delta old timer, who explains the origins of not only the number but also gives a potted biography of the original author and performer of each number.

Obviously all the numbers have had all the adult references removed and very tasteful alternative child appropriate lyrical content is succinctly replaced (as have some of the titles) to great effect and charm. In between each of the numbers a continuing conversation between Lighnin’ and Randy takes place to not only introduce each number but to try and find Randy a suitable blues moniker. A very nice touch indeed is the eager and interested interaction from a number of children who have sat in on the recording of the album, keenly asking questions and telling Randy exactly what they like and dislike as the session progresses.

In all there are seventeen numbers, each of them exquisitely performed with as much relevance and adherence to their original styles and arrangements as possible. In no particular order, here is a sample of the featured authors / performers; Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Blind Blake, Papa Charlie Jackson, Jimmie Rodgers and Sonny Boy Williamson (the first). A highly informative set of sleeve notes are included. Randy has a very pleasant engaging style of play that displays an undoubted talent and love of the music that he is endeavouring to introduce to the youngest of all generations. Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.randykaplan.com

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