In 1980, when he Baby Beluga, Raffi couldn’t have ex-pected that his title song would spread from nursery school to nursery school and become a modern classic. Not knowing, he made it the first cut on the first side, and listeners today may worry that the rest of the album won’t measure up to its terrific beginning. Not to worry.
While nothing else here is as memorable as the title song, the little white whale’s supporting cast of tunes is excellent. Not only does Raffi write good songs, he borrows from the best of his predecessors. His own ”All I Really Need,” about such basic requirements as clean air, clean water, ”a song in my heart/Food in my belly/And love in my family,” has a sprightly Latin feel to it, while a song he learned from Pete Seeger, ”To Everyone in All the World” (”I may not know their lingo/But I can say by jingo/No matter where you live/We can shake hands”), is infectiously singable.
Add to them old favorites like ”Kumbaya,” ”Day-O” — a bowdlerized version: no rum, no spiders, but yes they still have bananas — and a spiffy, ragtime arrangement of ”This Old Man.” In this one the old fellow is sort of a one-man jug band-he plays two on his kazoo, he plays three on his ukulele — instead of a poor lost soul playing knick-knack, whatever that is. ”I never heard it like that,” said the resident 5-year-old critic in my house. Me neither. A