Review: Reggae for Kids

Various Artists
“Reggae for Kids”
(Ras Records)

What were the fat cats at Ras Records smoking when they came up with the bright idea of collecting a bunch of rough-around-the-edges, ganja-toking reggae luminaries and putting them to work singing children’s ditties?  Whatever it was, pass that shit over to me, because these jams, collected mostly from saccharine Disney fare like The Lion King and Dumbo, play out as if they were intended to be sung by dreadlocked, joint-burning Jamaican rhythm masters like Bunny Wailer and Gregory Isaacs. It’s probably the free-spirited, relative innocence of reggae music that lends itself to these pleasing renditions, as each track is imbued with the wide-eyed sort of optimism that has persevered in the genre despite its rocky history. Arrow’s take on “Under the Rainbow” from The Little Mermaid, rollicks along on sheer bubbly enthusiasm, and is a delight, despite the fact that the line about how people “like it better, down where its wetter” still sounds a bit, uh, fishy to me. Despite the innuendo, Reggae for Kids is a feel-good collection of soft-core reggae-lite perfect for those looking for a different kind of Zippidy Do Dah and maybe even a little Hakuna Matata.