Sometimes, I think that myth and fairy tale are all we need. Doug Waterman has taken that notion to an extreme on his new CD, a collection of original songs from the points of view of various fairy tale luminaries.
So, here we have the poor Big Bad Wolf --- turns out the same one terrorized both Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs --- wondering why nobody talks to him at parties. He howls a bit like Warren Zevon. Who mourns for the poor, pruned beanstalk? Waterman does.
Is it a children's CD? Sure, but like the best children's fare, it's a good bit more. Some of the songs are fun retellings ("The Ugly Duck"), but more often, Waterman is being sneakier, flipping perspective to get at some of the darkness that makes fairly tales reverberate so deeply. So, for example, "Hansel and Gretel" and "Snow White and the Seven Dorks" provide moving (the former) and deeply funny (the latter) meditations on gender.
Waterman's writing is excellent throughout. He can pull off classically poetic stuff like, "I fear that I may soon be dead/I long to lie safe in my bed," as well as the ShelSilversteinish wit of, "I will grieve so if my bride ain'tsensitivo." The material constantly delights.
The melodies are memorable and some of the contrapuntal harmonies are arresting (Hansel and Gretel's parts, for example, and the two fairies' spells in "The Curse, Sleeping Beauty Part 1"). There's nothing fancy in the settings, but that's as it ought to be. All in all, this is just a great, local product.
Doug's Web site, www.dougwaterman.com, should be up soon. In the meantime, contact him directly for a copy (DougCWaterman@aol.com, or 482-1433).