Chicago folk singer Ella Jenkins is more educator than entertainer (she has been teaching music skills to children around the world since the 1950s). That’s not to say you won’t be entertained by Song, just that you’ll have to work at it. These aren’t visual or high-energy songs; Jenkins uses them as tools for learning rhythm, repetition, and the other basics of singing. Song is to most contemporary tapes as radio is to TV: All you have to do is listen, which means you have to listen hard.
This collection, first released in 1966, has 12 songs — a few Jenkins originals and a number of classics, including ”This Train” and ”Shabot Shalom.” It’s simple, it’s spare, it even has actual moments of silence when you’re supposed to sing along per Jenkins’ instructions. Her voice is so pure — to a fault, occasionally — you wish she’d let herself go. But she remains forever the teacher. She’s a good one. A-