Wrong Side Dog
Linda Book's newest CD, WRONG SIDE DOG, is a collection of her wonderfully eclectic music for kids and their families. Like you found in her other recordings, Linda Book is a terrific lyricist, and the poetry in her songs captures the world from a child's perspective. 'It's not hard for me to remember the wonders of childhood, and to look at things through those eyes again,' Linda Book says. She sees this through the eyes of adults who remember childhood, too. Lately, since she's been writing music for kids and their families for nearly twenty years, some new fans are showing up at her concerts. 'More and more,' she says, 'young adults that grew up with my music, are bringing their own children to listen and sing along. It's wonderful!' The arrangements and musicianship on WRONG SIDE DOG are great. The musicians include Linda Book on vocals and guitar, and her long-time always superb backup band, The Dog-Eared Pages. Band members are Robert Armstrong on guitar, banjo, ukulele, musical saw, and accordion; Jeff Simons on fretless electric bass; and Steve Book on drums, percussion, and electric bass. Joining them for this project is violinist Stephanie Hunter. Special guests include Lewis Santer on guitar and bazouki, and Ray Frank on guitar. Linda Book produced the album. Doug Chancellor at Soundfarm Recording Studio in Vacaville engineered the project. Chancellor also engineered Linda Book's previous album, THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS. WRONG SIDE DOG has something for everybody: there are songs about dogs, birds, eggs, nature, earthworms, towns, water, and babies. MOM SONGS The song 'Everybody Knows' is one of those trans-generational ones. It has a dark kind of feel to it, as well it should-it's about cutting your own bangs, something every little girl has done. 'Mothers relate very well to this song, having had the same experience growing up,' says Linda Book. 'Dads don't seem to have done this too much.' A lot of her songs have to do with mothers and their children. 'So much depends with mothers. Mothers are the real future. Without the countless hours of care, patience and tireless love, there would be no children loving and competent to take over when it's their turn.' 'I love being a mom,' Linda Book continues, 'but when our children were little, I hardly remember a day when I would not have jumped on an opportunity for a nap. I find kids to be funny and loveable, but they are also challenging and need us to set limits and provide discipline. They need parents to be grownups, and that's a hard job to do over a long span of years.' 'Oh, I know fathers are important, too. But I've never been one, so I can only comment on things from my perspective, and that is one that focuses on the tiny but important things that happen around the home, in the kitchen, or in the rocking chair.' 'John Saw the Moon' is about the first time a baby sees the moon, and a little confusion that is involved when Mom tries to explain. 'I've Climbed the Tree Again' is about living childhood again, something Book got to thinking about when a neighborhood child would ascend into the tree regularly each spring. 'Who Left the Blankie at Grandmother's House' addresses an eternal traveling problem, especially around the holidays. Dad comes to the rescue in this one. 'My Friend Louise' is a really pretty song, maybe a little more for grown-ups, about loss of a loved one. DOG SONGS 'Puppies are easier to raise than children,' Linda explained. 'This is because they grow up faster, and most major slip-ups on our part just result in having to get the carpet cleaned or replacing a plant.' So there are a couple of dog songs, too. The title song 'Wrong Side Dog' was inspired by the poet Ogden Nash, who said 'A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.' 'That's always been the situation in my house,' said Linda, 'and I guess in everyone else's, too. Everybody who hears this songs thinks it's about their dog.' 'A Hole in My Wardrobe' is also canine-based. It's about the holes that accrue in ones socks, pants, shirts, skirts, and hats when a new puppy arrives on the scene. 'We had a dog that ate the plastic-tips off of all the shoe-laces-that was it,' said Linda. BIRD SONGS 'Birds are great! I love them!' says Linda Book, all a-twitter. ''At the Bird Feeder' is pretty much autobiographical. I started out with one feeder, and there was one bird. Then it took off after that.' 'Itty Bitty Eggs' is about a chicken, actually, whose self-confidence was dashed by an incident in the chicken coop. In the end, everything turns out well. BIOREGIONAL SONGS Some of the material for the new album was inspired by the year she spent as a writer-in-residence a few years ago for the Putah-Cache Bioregion Project of the University of California at Davis. One of the goals of the project is to bring together artists and writers from within the bioregion,area defined by the Putah and Cache Creek watersheds), and biologists, geologists, botanists, and other academics to focus on the area's environmental and social issues. 'It was a wonderful experience and opportunity,' says Linda Book. 'I had written many environmental songs over the past couple of decades, but this project got me to thinking about specific aspects of my own backyard-that is, thinking about defining an area by where water goes and what that means to the plants, animals, and people. It gave me a different view, narrower and broader at the same time.' 'For the new album, two wonderful tunes emerged about urban sprawl, one called 'It's Not a Small Town Anymore,' the other, 'Welcome to Another Generic Town.' I've had requests from other songwriters for music and lyrics to those, so they can sing them. That's great feedback for me.' 'There is also a song called 'Mother Nature Delivers,' about bugs and birds and snakes and stars and weeds and dirt and rivers, to name a few of the many gifts of the natural world. I think it's really sweet.' Another song for the new album came while Linda was performing and teaching in northern California near Burney Falls. 'It was originally called 'Waterfall Benediction,' says Linda Book, 'and I got the inspiration while sitting next to this beautiful 130-foot waterfall. The spray from the water was lifting over me, swayed by an afternoon breeze. It was so quiet, a brief respite from a very busy week. The words and music for the song unfolded on the spot.' On the album, it's been renamed 'The Waterfall,' and though it stands alone as a wonderful song, it also serves as an introduction 'Where Does the Water Go?' which has a marvelous arrangement. 'Every since I can remember, I've been fascinated by the water cycle. How can anyone not be amazed and overwhelmed by the eternal big loop that evaporation, clouds, rain, puddles, streams, rivers, and oceans represent, and by the wonderful plants, animals, and people that the water cycle supports?' The last of the water songs are the self-explanatory, but delightful 'All the Lovely Things About Rain, ' and the short melancholy tune 'The Earthworm,' which is about a not so lovely thing about rain.