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Sing for Very Important People

Released 1970 Sing For Very Important People is something of a children’s album, replete with songs about cowboys, Sesame Street, familiar Free Design pastimes of kites, bubbles and even a short lullaby at the end. According to Bruce Dedrick (who would leave the band following this record), the album was partially inspired by Mary Travers becoming a mother (she of big folk-pop players Peter, Paul & Mary)– if that seems twee, just remember Belle & Sebastian named themselves after a French kid’s show. Chris Dedrick’s opener “Don’t Cry, Baby” uses lightly melancholy, but just as exquisitely placed vocal harmonies to impart its message of perseverance and love. Again, if the message matters to you, you might find yourself balking at the total lack of irony or edge. Yet, as on “Children’s Waltz” and “Lullaby”, the wave of pastel, hymnal harmonies are hard to deny on aesthetic grounds. About half the record contains previously released songs, which could take steam out of its impact for fans (or collectors), but even then, songs like “Kites Are Fun” and “Bubbles” are some of the best the band produced. — Dominique Leone, April 06, 2005