December 12, 1988 12:00 PM

Various artists

Even if it were February instead of December, this would be a lock as oddest album of the year. Producer Hal Willner brought together an extraordinary motley of pop performers to interpret music from Walt Disney films. Diverse and diverting, the collection is like a bulging toy chest for the ears. Little April Showers from Bambi, for instance, brings together Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., the Roche Sisters and Mark Bingham for a formal and delicate chorale. NRBQ offers up a fractured Romper Room rendition of Whistle While You Work from Snow White. Bonnie Raitt and Was (Not Was) combine for a bluesy lullaby on Baby Mine from Dumbo. The most inspired choice on Stay Awake is the use of Tom Waits for a subterranean, homesick version of Heigh Ho, the Seven Dwarfs’ marching tune from Snow White. Waits makes for one droll troll. Also featured on this record are Suzanne Vega (singing the title song, from Mary Poppins), Sun Ra, Aaron Neville, Yma Sumac, the Replacements, Ringo Starr, James Taylor and others. They create music every bit as colorful as the movies from which it came. (A&M)

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