Artist/s: The Wiggles: Anthony Field - Lachy Gilespie - Simon Price - Emma Watkins. Guest Vocalists: Guy Sebastian, Kylie Minogue, Slim Dusty, The Irwin family, Marlee Martin, Katie Noonan, David Hobson, Robert Rakete, Paulini, Christine Anu, Lee Hawkins, Tim Chaisson, Jimmy Barnes, Troy Cassar-Daley, Anuna, Lou Diamond Phillips, Ross Wilson.
Category: Children's songs, Contemporary, Pop
Label: ABC Music 5766876
Reviewed by Peter Winkler
“The Wiggles Duet album is far better than their previous productions. It will be enjoyed by many children and be bearable to most of their parents.”
I must admit that I have not been a great fan of The Wiggles. In the past I have found their songs quite vapid and their music production values cursory to say the least. But when I saw that this album is a compilation of duets with such an illustrious array of excellent Australian singers I felt drawn to check it out and see what they’re up to these days. The Duets album is considerably better than their earlier recordings. The new incarnation of the Wiggles has only one original member, Anthony Field and they now have one female Wiggle, Emma Watkins. That’s already a step in a good direction. The production values are greatly improved. Gone are the rinky-dink drum machines, cheap keyboard sounds and rudimentary musicianship of albums that never sounded more than demos to me. This album uses a live band with quality drummers and bass players and better quality musicianship. The production is by no means cursory and the end result sounds pretty good.
While the songs are still pretty insipid and the vocals by the Wiggles themselves are unnecessarily cutsiepie the inclusion of such a great array of iconic Australian singers lifts this particular album above the usual Wiggles output. Vocals by Jimmy Barnes, Slim Dusty (long dead but good to hear in I Love To Have Dance With Dorothy), Christine Anu and David Hobson all brought a smile to me as I listened to this album. The best duet is a delightful version of Eagle Rock with Ross Wilson with Ross singing and playing banjo in a country-bluegrass version of the Australian classic.
Music and music theatre for children is worthy of the highest artistic content and top-level production values. This is such an important principle and so pertinent with regard to audience development. This album by the Wiggles is a step in the right direction.
I can’t see myself listening to this album again but many children may well enjoy it and their parents will find it more listenable than previous Wiggles productions.