August 7, 2008

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Lisa Loeb, Camp Lisa
June 3, Furious Rose Productions

Lisa Loeb starts her new kid-centric CD, Camp Lisa, with the sunny Meatballs soundtrack hit “Are You Ready for the Summer?” and includes several camp classics, like “Peanut Butter & Jelly.” Accompanied by enthusiastic campers on several songs, and by a couple of famous grownups on others (namely Jill Sobule harmonizing on “The Cookie Jar Song” and Steve Martin playing banjo on “The Disappointing Pancake”), Loeb cruises through the 19 tracks. There’ll be one or two original songs, then a summer camp classic or an interlude of a boy learning “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck,” then another original. So the CD, like a day at camp, offers new experiences interspersed with familiar, time-honored traditions. Loeb’s choice of classics is solidly good — she’s picked ones that work with her voice, and avoided the tacky irritating ones. “Gramma’s in the Cellar” covers the territory of the not-quite-obligatory gross-out ditty involving bodily fluids. “Home on the Range” never sounded better and “Love is a Rose” is a nice surprise. Put “Waiting for Wednesday” in your mind and you’ll have the general feel of Loeb original “Best Friend,” maybe the disc’s finest, as it bops along: “When I first met you / I didn’t think I liked you / Now that I know you / You can be my best friend.” Good for kids, good for Loeb-style adults and those with fond camp memories, the CD is available only at Barnes & Noble, and its proceeds will support a nonprofit group, S.C.O.P.E. (Summer Camp Opportunities Provide an Edge), that helps kids afford summer camp (see www.camplisa.com). ALisa Parsons