Animal Crackers in My Soup: The Songs of Shirley Temple
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Never has there been a better time to climb aboard the Good Ship Lollipop. With folk-blues great Maria Muldaur at the helm, Shirley Temple's classics shed their girlie-poo preciousness and shimmy into a new-millennium attitude, speckled with spunk, finger-snapping rhythms, and jazzy sophistication. These 13 songs, all of whose '30-era lyrics prove watertight, send nostalgia walking the gangplank, and lower the life rafts for a new generation of car-seated crooners. Muldaur glides, gravel voiced, into long-lost favorites like "An Old Straw Hat," "Goodnight My Love," and "I Love to Walk in the Rain," but it's on a handful of duets that she shines brightest. "You've Gotta Eat Your Spinach, Baby" with Norton Buffalo serves up a cheeky give-and-go that even vegetable haters will gobble willingly, and "We Should Be Together" ("You're a cup of coffee / You're a peachy pie") with Buffalo and child star Carrie Lyn--who also performs the title track, "On the Good Ship Lollipop," "When I Grow Up," and "Lullaby to a Doll"--is parent-child snuggle music, pure and simple. (Get out your movie guide if you need to know which films these tunes come from, though, because the liner notes won't help you.) Temple fans might favor a more foo-foo flavor to these classics, but for now, forget the fluff. Muldaur's chocolate-bar landings prove every ounce as happy as her precocious predecessor's, and the lemonade stands and crackerjack bands still sweep you back to more innocent shores as effectively. --Tammy La Gorce