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CD REVIEW: The Plaza Family Band's Wee Jamboree 

THE DEAL: Local musicians release second benefit album for Plaza Presbyterian Weekday School.

THE GOOD: Mike Strauss, Hope Nicholls, Clifton Castelloe, Cassie Adams, and at least a dozen others, as The Plaza Family Band, offer 18 songs of all kinds aimed at children. Opening with the silly "Down By the Bay," there are plenty of familiar tunes from childhood including the finger-picking groove of "Froggie Went Courting," "Skip To My Lou," the violin-driven "Muffin Man" and "Do Your Ears Hang Low." It's great to see a group of local musicians get together for a good cause and record songs aimed at an audience different from the typical one. The overall tone of the album is a bit of reserved Americana. Donovan Collins gives "Twinkle, Twinkle" an updated, upbeat feel. "The Farmer in the Dell" gets a bluesy, soulful makeover. One of the other elements making most of the tunes appealing to the young and young at heart is the addition of children's voices in background vocals or at moments of silliness.

THE BAD: Only that I don't yet have kids of my own to share it with.

THE VERDICT: Sure, the songs are for children, but done by skilled musicians, they can be enjoyable by people of all ages. Simply fun.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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