Further Around the Bend: More News from the Town Around the Bend
Bill Harley, master storyteller, singer-songwriter, children’s author, and keen-eyed observer of human foibles and triumphs, revisits “The Town Around the Bend,” his mythical hometown and the subject of his wacky-wonderful 2003 album of the same name. Settle in for some premium family time and listen as Harley tells in big-hearted, witty songs and stories how, 15 years later, his town has gone “Further and Farther Around the Bend.” Skeezy Boofer, for instance, has hearing so acute he can hear smiles. When he’s overwhelmed by too many sounds at once and stops listening, all of the “sounds that want [and need]to be heard”—even birdsong—go quiet. (A clever little girl’s solution involves tea strainers). In “Why Slippery Stream Sings,” a stream that runs through town stops babbling (“blah, blah, blah, blah”) and is taught to sing about the townspeople’s “hopes and dreams.” Other stories include “Swing the Gate and the Worm Brigade,” “Melody Rimshot and the Tub of Pickles Band,” and the poignant “Carmela Cellar Door and Her Bedtime Song.” (“Carmela’s Song,” with rocking chair rhythm, follows.) Harley opens and closes the album with his 1940s novelty-style song, “Nighty Noodles” from the 2003 album, interspersing his stories and songs with instrumental “Noodles” interludes.
Lynne Heffley ©2018 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.