Various - Songs for the Young at Heart - album review (4 stars)


Songs for the Young at Heart (Lucky Dog)


Nostalgia might not be what it once was, but in the Staples and Boulter households, the past is far from imperfect. Stuart and Dave, the guys from the Tindersticks, have lovingly recreated the songs they remembered from their radios, TVs and schoolyards, calling in a few favours from the indie kid likes of Stuart Murdoch, Cerys Mathews, Kurt Wagner and Jarvis Cocker. With the tunes here mainly culled from a pocket of time between the mid-60s and early 70s, you might fear that they’ve all gone a bit happy-clappy, hippy-trippy crazy; not a bit of it.

It’s hard to hear the former Catatonia frontlady wail about ‘White Horses’ without a sense of despair creeping over you (in a good way, mind) while the souls of wee ones would be no more harmed by the beautifully mournful vocal of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s ‘Hushabye Mountain’ were Staples to deliver the song dressed as the Child Catcher.

As flinchingly wonderful as those cover versions are, the delicate theme tune to Mary, Mungo and Midge and the rollicking Bonnie Prince Billy shanty for ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’ leave just as indelible a mark. Staples own lullabies which bookend the collection work pleasingly enough, though I don’t think Jackanory Junior will be calling on the services of Cocker and Martin Wallace just yet after their respective retelling of ‘The Lion and Albert’ and ‘The Three Sneezes’. Still, all we can say is thanks for these memories.

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