Various Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul

The Numero Group has set such high standards for compilations that anything less than perfection seems disappointing. In the case of The ABCs of Kid Soul, there’s an interesting idea at work that unfortunately proves its point too well. Both before and after the Jacksons, parents hustled their kids to fulfil their showbiz ambitions, and the majority of these efforts weren’t very good. Unlike current day idolatry, though, all these tracks have true grit — most were made on shoestring budgets and issued in scant quantity. But as is so often the case, obscurity does not guarantee quality. In pretty much every group there’s usually one member that’s just not cutting it, whether thoroughly talent-less or the victim of adverse recording circumstances. As with much kids music meant for adult markets, the music is novelty oriented (though the Atons’ version of "Tie A Yellow Ribbon” is pretty damn funky) or imitative soul. At best, these tracks have decent instrumentals backing them up, and some would definitely go down well on the dance floor, but there’s no one talent that demonstrates outright ability that was denied. (Numero Group)