JEAN RITCHIE’S KENTUCKY MOTHER GOOSE: SONGS AND STORIES FROM MY CHILDHOOD
BY JEAN RITCHIE WITH SUSAN BRUMFIELD
Hal Leonard 9781495007880. Hardback, 103 pages, b&w and colored pictures and photos, CD included, $19.99.
Jean Ritchie—singer, songwriter and dulcimer player—is perhaps best known in the bluegrass world for her songs “Blue Diamond Mines,” “Black Waters,” and “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore.” But throughout her long life (1922-2015), Jean had a passionate interest in “folk” songs, including these songs from her Kentucky childhood. I remember “circle game” songs like these—“Ring Around The Rosy,” “The Farmer In The Dell,” “London Bridge Is Falling Down”—from my own Georgia childhood. However, almost all of the songs here were unfamiliar to me with the exception of “Go In And Out The Window.” Even Jean’s version of “London’s Bridge” had a different melody and different words.
Each song is presented in standard musical notation and includes a short description of how that particular game is played. The book is chock-full of wonderful photos of Jean and the Ritchie family. It also comes with a CD that features dozens of Jean’s recordings, both old and new. The hardback book is of the highest quality, with slick glossy paper, beautifully printed. Kentucky Mother Goose would make a lovely gift. So lovely that I bought one for my own daughter! (Hal Leonard Books, 7777 West Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53213, www.halleonard.com.)MHH