Eugene Sings! Christmas is a delightful Christmas CD that will vie for you’re your children’s attention this year. Eugene, for those who are not familiar with the long standing Adventures in Odyssey radio program, is Eugene Meltsner, a whiz kid who entered the fictitious Campbell College at age 13 and recently returned to the series.
While the distributor Tyndale Entertainment is probably looking for a more encompassing audience, the ideal age range is probably six and under. Will Ryan who spearheaded this project clearly demonstrates he understands his audience and is gifted enough as both a musician and producer to deliver the goods!
“I Went And Told It On The Mountain” is a swinging song that will get those little butts swaying. The song features the soulful vocals of Elaine, Janine and Francine Martin (backup singers) with help from the Jubilo Singers. If you want to have fun leading up to the big day this year take your children by the hand as this track loads and do the Christmas holly dance on your living room carpet. More importantly, this song gives an opportunity for parents to talk to their children about what the singer is telling on the mountain and why. It is a song that wraps faith in kiddy style, but the message is no less profound. The Hollywood Cartoon Band does a good job on this tune.
Ryan keeps the songs short and snappy so the minds of the little folk don’t wander. Before your boy or girl has an opportunity to become distracted, the characters move on to a new song. The other factor that was well understood by Ryan and company is the need to sing songs at a tempo that can easily be taught. It will be easy for children not only to catch the words, but to keep beat without becoming frustrated and giving up.
This is an album that spared no expense. Virtually all the music you hear on this CD is hand played. We are blessed with the presence of some gifted musicians including Ryan who plays several instruments including the guitar and his signature ukulele. The talented Anita Thomas appears playing oboe on “Adeste Fidelis” and revving up her saxophone for “I Went and Told It on the Mountain” and “Merry Christmas”. Bobby Bruce livens things up with his fiddle playing on “I Wish I Could Yodel For Christmas”. Chuck Sparks is the project’s drummer while lead guitarist John Dusick keeps the room swaying as he leads us through “I Went And Told It On The Mountain”. The other talented musicians are too numerous to mention.
Ryan, one of Hollywood’s most widely respected voice actors, is joined by the beautiful and talented June Foray and Katie Leigh. The listener is treated to a voice actors’ hall of fame.
Ryan is a seasoned voice actor who for years appeared as the voice of Eugene Meltsner on the Adventures in Odyssey series. He has written and performed for Disneyland Records as well as providing the voices for many Disney characters. Adventures in Odyssey fans will know him as also portraying Harlow Doyle, Officer O’ Ryan and Officer David Harley. In addition Ryan lent his voice to such blockbuster movies as The Little Mermaid (Seahorse), An American Tail (Digit), The Land Before Time (Petrie), The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin (Dr Newton Gimmick), Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Gummi Bears (Gad / Zook /Unwin).
Among her many noteworthy roles, June Foray appeared in the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie with Robert DeNiro. Also featured on this album are the talents of Katie Leigh among whose many credits are; Darkwing Duck, Muppet Babies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Richie Rich, Dennis the Menace, Aladdin, Rugrats and a multitude of other animation and video game projects. She also appears as the voice of Connie Kendall for the Adventures In Odyssey series.
Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.