Family Time - Ziggy Marley

Tuff Gong

Musicians are just like the rest of us. They grow old, start families and become insufferably consumed with their offspring. For those gifted and obsessed enough, it's a golden opportunity to release a children's album. On his last two solo outings, Ziggy Marley has shown us versatile skills in song-craft of all styles apart the reggae that runs through his veins. So comes the time for Bob's grandkids to be introduced to the world and Zigs has turned his talent and charm to Family Time, a Marley -made collection of campfire sing-a-longs, nursery rhymes and light as air island-flavored ditties. Ziggy's the most personable, charismatic and heart-felt of the Marley sibs and his smile shines through most of this project to make it work. Drawing on the mento rhythms and gospel melodies from his own youth, Family Time can be appreciated by all ages as a buoyant break of Jamaican sunshine. He even brought in family and friends to help out vocally like Grandma Rita, daughter Judah, Uncle Toots Hibbert, auntie Jamie Lee Curtis and weird ol' Willie Nelson, the latter two providing the disc's only stumbles. For the reworked traditional, This Train, it sounds like Ziggy got Willie out of bed too early for the session, as he grumbles and slurs through a single verse. This one might leave an indelible scar on your kid's psyche, just so you know. Jamie Lee Curtis narrates her own, overly-earnest poem for kids called Is There Really A Human Race? It kinda sounds like Dr. Seuss goes to a PTA meeting. But, it's the last track and you can always skip back to the start and play the whole album over and over and over again, as kids are inclined to do. "I want this to be a complete thing," Ziggy says. Expect concerts, perhaps children's books, more recordings and even an animated series to come. "Family Time is my family, your family, the world's family."