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Sweet Honey Matures

by Kathy O’Connell

The women known as Sweet Honey in the Rock combine outstanding music with positive messages of empowerment in their latest CD, Experience 101. Founded in 1973, Sweet Honey in the Rock is the musical equivalent of a beloved family elder whose real life wisdom inspires young minds.

Their latest CD confirms that role in family music. "The journey is as wonderful as the goal" is the sage advice in "4 U 2 Know As U Grow," opening the album. "All I Have to Do" declares: "The Light that's in me is the same as the Light that shines in you!"

The influence of African rhythm and storytelling that has marked Sweet Honey's work continues. "Do What the Spirit Say Do" puts new words into a traditional spiritual. The song then becomes a joyous celebration of a variety of heroes such as Sojourner Truth, Judith Jamison, and "my people marchin' from Selma to Montgomery." It's my favorite song on a wonderful CD, and should be a classroom staple.

Experience 101 aims at an older audience than earlier Sweet Honey albums, and it is the extra touch of maturity that makes it so special. The women who sang to babies now sing to middle schoolers. We feel worthy of the trust these women have given us, to "Trust in your blessings and all will flow like sweet honey from heaven" ("Trust").

You can't go wrong with an album that exclaims "Education Is the Key." Get some Experience 101 at www.sweethoney.com

Rock and Reflection
Imaginative kids and their families will enjoy the latest CD from Delaware Valley favorite Miss Amy, so I guess that's everybody. I Wanna Know How It Works is a delightful mix of rock ("Ever Stop to Wonder?") and reflection ("It's Not Impossible").

"Weights and Measures" is a rhythmic litany that makes you wonder "how big is a whisper" and rhymes "deciliter" with "Lovely Rita meter maid."

"Amazing Body" challenges us to "swing as high as Venus Williams," getting us moving at any age. Miss Amy's rock influences are strong. There are also some nice holiday-centric songs on this album, including a "Hippity Hop" rap about the Easter Bunny. My personal favorite, "Dancing on a Rainbow," is a charming St. Patrick's Day tale. Find this energetic woman and her whole band at www.MissAmyKids.com

Sumptuous Chickens
What can I say about an album devoted to chicken? It doesn't lay an egg! Cowboy troubadour Buck Howdy's Chickens combines feathered favorites like "There Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" and fun original tunes like the title track.

The roots of rock and country are well represented here, with "Yakety Yak" and "You Are My Sunshine." But Chickens is more than nostalgia. Buck Howdy and BB bring the spirit of Bob Wills' Texas swing into the 21st century with humor and outstanding musical abilities.

The sumptuous production features lots of horns and multi-tracking, yet never loses the basic beauty of Buck Howdy and BB. Their voices and sense of fun makes Chickens a delight. Buck Howdy is at www.buckhowdy.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.