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U GOTTA HEAR THIS HOLIDAY TUNES FOR YOUNG, YOUNG-AT-HEART.

Byline: Glenn Whip Staff Writer

Our occasional roundup of all-ages music this time features a couple of seasonal offerings.

Various Artists / ``New Orleans Christmas'' (Putumayo)

The Putumayo label is known for its world music and artful children's collections featuring Nicola Heindl's distinctive CD cover illustrations. ``New Orleans Christmas,'' while an all-ages disc, will undoubtedly delight little ones with peppy renditions of fun songs like Ingrid Lucia's take on `` 'Zat You, Santa Claus'' as well as warm numbers like Banu Gibson's lovely rendition of ``I'll Be Home for Christmas.''

Highlight tracks: Aside from the ones already mentioned, there's Ellis Marsalis' spirited piano-driven ``God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'' and the uproariously ragged ``Santa's Second Line'' from the New Birth Brass Band. Best of all, New Orleans r&b singer Big Al Carson teams with pianist Lars Edegran for a version of ``Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town'' with some fun new lyrics.

Best for: Anyone inclined to serve that holiday ham with a bowl of spicy gumbo.

Rating: Three and one half stars

The Berenstain Bears / ``The Berenstain Bears Save Christmas'' (Good Mood Records)

This Christmas show was the last project written by Stan Berenstain before he died last November. The musical premiered in Omaha, and the surviving Berenstains -- Stan's wife, Jan, and son, Mike -- hope to take the show on the road next year.

The musical, written by Stan, Jan and Mike (props to Stan and Jan for not naming their son, say, Dan), follows the Berenstain model, having the bears losing their good sense only to regain it and learn a moral in the process. Here they fall prey to holiday consumerism before realizing that Christmas is really about kindness and hospitality.

Highlight tracks: Jamie Broza (who you may know from ``My Daddy Is Scratchy'') and Elliot Lawrence wrote the music, which is pure, old-school Broadway. Broza also sings the part of Ripoff Ralph, delivering properly Grinch-like turns on ``Get Rich Quick'' and ``The Scheme.''

Best for: Anyone hooked on the ``Berenstain'' books.

Rating: Three stars

Glenn Whipp (818) 713-3672

glenn.whipp@dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 14, 2006
Words:344
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