Throw me a bone: we’re going to the dogs today in honor of Bob Dylan’s 73rd birthday tomorrow. Ruff!
So, am I the only Dylan fan who’d never heard “If Dogs Run Free”? A 50’s beatnik send-up embellished with Al Kooper’s jazzy piano riffs and Maeretha Stewart’s sassy scat-singing, this oddsauce number was included on Dylan’s album NEW MORNING (1970).
Actually it’s kind of silly to call anything the Archbishop of Anarchy has done “odd,” given his penchant for innovation, reinvention and doing whatever he durn well pleases. Yet this one is indeed unlike anything else in his vast catalog of 600+ songs. It’s spoken word, very Jack Kerouac, black berets, smoky coffee house. It’s so laid back you end up in front.
Hear for yourself:
* * *
IF DOGS RUN FREE
If dogs run free, then why not we
Across the swooping plain?
My ears hear a symphony
Of two mules, trains and rain
The best is always yet to come
That’s what they explain to me
Just do your thing, you’ll be king
If dogs run free
If dogs run free, why not me
Across the swamp of time?
My mind weaves a symphony
And tapestry of rhyme
Oh, winds which rush my tale to thee
So it may flow and be
To each his own, it’s all unknown
If dogs run free
If dogs run free, then what must be
Must be, and that is all
True love can make a blade of grass
Stand up straight and tall
In harmony with the cosmic sea
True love needs no company
It can cure the soul, it can make it whole
If dogs run free
And there’s more. This song was recently made into a picture book illustrated by Scott Campbell, who took the “kids love dogs” theme and ran amok with an animated visual narrative. Celebrating the free-spirited joys of childhood and championing fearless individuality, there’s not a beatnik or beret in sight — just lots and LOTS of dogs.
Finally, finally, dogs have their day and their say. For far too long, silly humans have discounted their random bow wows, arfs, woofs, yips, and yaps. Here’s proof that some of these mutts were actually sniffing out sonnets and licking limericks with the best of them.
Make no bones about it, this snappy little volume features sixteen of the most celebrated poetic pooches of all time, including four-time Poolitzer Prize winner Rover Frost, iambic puptameter whizzard William Shakespaw, haiku master Issa Shih Tzu, and the somewhat repentant Dogden Dash, who knows just what to do with a rhymed puplet:
Judging by their ankles, here’s my educated guess:
The FedEx man tastes better than the guy from UPS.
Ever have this thing where you don’t know what you’re looking for, but you absolutely know it when you see it?
That’s exactly what happened when I spotted Deidre Wicks’s charming animal paintings on Pinterest recently.
Cerebral dogs and cats wearing glasses! Birdies balancing on the edges of pretty china teacups! Other animals decked out in derby hats, bowties, berets, and tutus, some blowing bubbles, others stealing cupcakes! And a good number of them with mustaches :).
Since Deidre’s watercolors got me right where I live, I had to find out more about her work. A fashion design major from Toronto, Canada, Deidre was unhappily working as a pattern drafter when she decided to follow her passion for illustration.
She’s an ardent animal lover living with two dogs and two cats who happily keep her company and provide endless inspiration for her drawings. I love the blend of realistic animals + whimsy + humor. Each of her paintings tells a story and you just can’t help but smile when you see them.
Deidre sells originals, archival prints, t-shirts and other goodies at her Etsy Shop — and yes, she takes custom orders. I thank her for visiting Alphabet Soup today along with Schaffer, Bronie, Orange Peel and Tina.
Recently sniffed out Stephen Fowler’s wonderful illustrations at Gemini Studio Art. His current collection contains 1000+ designs inspired by the many dogs in his old Wrigleyville, Chicago, neighborhood, his former day job designing labels for whiskey and tequila bottles, and his fascination for big graphic artwork, vintage/urban design and advertising posters. Pretty fetching, I say.
Award-winning children’s author, photo-illustrator and photo journalist Shelley Rotner is here to tell us all about her latest picture book, Homer (Orchard/Scholastic, 2012)!
Once again, Shelley has collaborated with author/illustrator Diane deGroat to create another awesome, adorable, hilarious dog book that’s got tails wagging and readers rolling over with glee all over the country.
For Homer, Shelley and Diane again combined photographs with digital art to create a series of tickle-your-funny-bone illustrations, and this time they’ve upped the ante with a charming story that pairs dogs with baseball.