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Scary Disney Oldies in New CD

Celebrate Halloween all year with scary characters from movies. Disney Villains: Simply Sinister Songs recycles Disney’s enormous catalog of movie music by focusing on the opposite end of the spectrum from their princess franchise: the villains.

I quibble with the opener of “Pink Elephants on Parade” because it takes too long to get to the vocals, but track 2 sets the tone for the album with “Siamese Cat Song” from Lady & the Tramp. This captures the villainous creepiness of the movie through the brilliant dual vocal performance of Peggy Lee, complete with purrs.

A wealth of musical legends on this CD includes Louis Prima (The Jungle Book’s “I Wanna Be Like You”) and Eartha Kitt’s spirited “Snuff Out the Light” from The Emperor’s New Groove, a movie I had missed.

Plucking treasures from lesser-known Disney movies introduces a new audience to Red Buttons and Jim Dale’s pondering of the possibilities of slicing and dicing “Every Little Piece” of Pete’s Dragon because “dragon cartilage will make you thin.”

My personal favorite is Pat Carroll’s wonderfully evil Ursula the Seawitch of The Little Mermaid talking Ariel out of her voice in “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” This outstanding collection ends with Keith David’s baritone doing Randy Newman’s “Friends on the Other Side” from The Princess and the Frog. These aren’t the songs that get the awards, but they’re often a film’s highlight. It’s nice to see the character parts getting some attention.http://disney.go.com

Another Gem from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s place in family music grows stronger with the release of their second hip-hop CD for kids, Underground Playground. Their philosophy that “who minds doesn’t matter and who matters doesn’t mind” is expanded in “Mind Over Matter.”

This is literate stuff that sparks with energy and stresses the power of friendship, as in “Secret Handshake” and its message of acceptance and that “some days your pizza got toppings; some days it’s plain.”

“Sky Music” starts with the story of a tin can tied to a kite and string and morphs into speculation on what clouds talked about “when they hung out in cloud school together.” Glimpses of musical styles from bluegrass to reggae to gospel are tossed throughout the album, reminding listeners of the wide range of musical ancestors hip-hop acknowledges.

But this is foremost a celebration of kids in a musical style that appeals to them. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo has put out another gem. www.secretagent23skidoo.com

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the Peabody-award-winning Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.

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