Thursday, February 3, 2011


CD Review

Written and performed by Lynn Ruehlmann. Music by Bob Zentz and Jeanne McDougall. Available for $15.00, plus $3.50 shipping and handling, from May also be ordered by calling Lynn at (757) 625-6742.

Reviewed by Linda Goodman

While Lynn Ruehlmann’s previous CDs have focused on American history (the Civil War, the Presidents’ wives), Mischief share’s Ruehlmann’s personal childhood history as a mischievous girl whose curiosity not only gets her into trouble from time to time, but teaches her lessons that have served her well throughout her life. Just one look at the cover photo tells us much about her. This is a child who knows how to have fun, and we cannot wait to get to know her better.

Once again Ruehlmann calls upon the musical talents of Bob Zentz and Jeanne McDougall, and they enhance the charm of the stories. Various instruments (guitar, dulcimer, autoharp, and harmonica, among others) are used play the musical intros that set the tone of each tale. From Ceiling Blues to Simple Gifts, the songs serve as bridges between stories.

Ceiling Blues introduces the listener to Ruehlmann’s imaginary friend Freddy, who leads her on an escapade which ends in her “breaking the house.” This story illustrates the sharp contrast between childhood perception and adult reality. Who knows what clever little minds may be thinking?

Real Baby Maybe finds Ruehlmann on a visit to a “kid house” where, disillusioned by an older girl’s outlandish behavior, she ends up taking a “real” baby on a walk that is rather unexciting, until the baby wakes from his nap. Real babies, she finds, hold forth surprises a girl would never expect from a doll.

A dismissive sister, boredom, and a nail file lead to mischief in Carving My Place. Ruehlmann’s work on a school jungle project helps her to deal with a bully and perform an act of kindness for a friend in Jungle Jaguar.

Did you know that you can tell a lot about people by the way they use chopsticks? After unwittingly serenading an entire restaurant, Ruehlmann shares her chopsticks expertise with the kind minister who is one of her lunch mates in Travel by Chopsticks.

Pipes and Chimes finds Ruehlmann bored at church, where she is banned from the room where her father and Mister Wheeler are tuning the organ. What is a young girl to do but go exploring and play pranks? Thankfully, the end result is a touching moment between father and daughter, a most satisfying end to this sweetly nostalgic recording.

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