Four Decades Later, Country Artists Return To 'Fox Hollow'

Originally published on August 17, 2011 9:40 pm

While a lot of rock musicians have recorded music for families recently, far fewer country musicians have done so. But a new release pays tribute to a Nashville kids' record that's nearly 40 years old.

In 1974, the children's album Songs of Fox Hollow by Tom T. Hall charted at No. 3 — not on the kids' music charts, but on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Hall drew inspiration from his farm, penning lyrics about baby ducks, one-legged chickens, and root-beer-drinking snakes, with a gentleness that calmed and reassured little kids.

Last summer, a number of country and Americana musicians made a pilgrimage to Hall's farm outside Nashville to record those songs once more. The remade version, featuring contributions from Patty Griffin, Duane Eddy and others, is titled I Love: Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Well, Stefan Shepherd has this review of an album that considers preschoolers' concerns while honoring a country music classic.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I LOVE")

PATTY GRIFFIN: (Singing) I love little baby ducks, old pickup trucks, slow moving trains and rain. I love little country streams, sleep without dreams, Sunday school in May and hay.

STEFAN SHEPHERD: Here, Buddy Miller, with help from Duane Eddy, sings the classic, "Sneaky Snake."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SNEAKY SNAKE")

BUDDY MILLER: (Singing) Boys and girls take warning if you go near the lake. Keep your eyes wide open and look for Sneaky Snake. Now, maybe you won't see him. Maybe you won't hear, but he'll sneak up behind you and drink all of your root beer. And then Sneaky Snake goes dancing, wiggling and hissing.

SHEPHERD: Hall's songwriting has a gentleness, about wishing for a million friends or talking to a little baby goat that calms and reassures little kids. But these songs were big hits when first released, touching more than just children because, even if you're no longer a toddler, sometimes it's nice to hear someone singing that he cares about you when things are going badly.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I CARE")

BUDDY BARE: (Singing) I want you to know I care. I care, I do. There's no one like you. When they take you someplace, make you sit in a chair, I want you to know I care.

SIEGEL: The album is called "I Love: Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow." You can listen to more of the album at NPRmusic.org. Our reviewer, Stefan Shepherd, blogs about kids' music at Zooglobble.com.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I CARE")

BARE: (Singing) When they're filling your teeth and cutting your hair, I want you to know I care. I care, I do. There's no one like you.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

The voice of Bobby Bare on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.