It’s charming, it’s whimsical – fanciful and sentimental – it is Rita’s own labour of love – her only children’s album, Pocket Full of Dreams.
With three of the tracks dating back to the late 70’s, and the majority written in 1999, 12 of the 15 tracks sat untouched and roughly demoed until this year. Now brought to life, this very unique offering has something for the whole family.
Rita seamlessly segues between the happy and bouncy lyrics of “Billy Goat Loose in My Soup”, “Cardboard Box” and “Ducky Boots”, to the very hip, catchy and child friendly rap styled “Halloween”. There’s the swinging jive of “Several Cats”, the soft lullaby “One by One”, the Celtic flavoured “Rain” featuring bagpipes by Rita’s nephew and the award winning singer’s signature styled lament, “Pocket Full of Dreams”.
Cleverly interspersed on a number of tracks are melody lines from classic children’s songs and bringing it all together are the delicate and endearing voices of the Children’s Choir from Sydney River Elementary School.
There are three covers on the 15 track CD – Eileen Burton’s #1 hit “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked A Cake”, “Land of a Thousand Dances” written by R&B artist Chris Kenner, but made famous by Wilson Picket in 1966, and Roger Miller’s 1967 hit, “Walking in the Sunshine”.
All told it is a truly delightful collection of songs for a child, a parent or a grandparent. As a mother and now a grandmother, Rita MacNeil’s “Pocket Full of Dreams” is a treasure chest of songs that has finally been opened and shared. The production is brilliant, the instrumentation playful and Rita’s warm delivery in keeping with the sound that has endeared her to countless over the course of her 33 year-plus career.