"Classics Rock! is the best of both worlds--music and books."
-- CNBC.com "Bullish on Books" blog

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mr. Lear/Al Stewart

Al Stewart, one of the more literate singer/songwriters working today, makes another appearance on Classics Rock! with a song called Mr. Lear, from his 2005 album A Beach Full of Shells.  The song is about Edward Lear, the Victorian illustrator, author, and poet.  Lear is perhaps best known today for his nonsense poetry, notably "The Owl and the Pussycat" (see The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear). The album's liner notes state: "'Mr. Lear' inspired in part by 'Incidents in the Life of My Uncle Arly' by Edward Lear," and some of Stewart's lyrics are closely adapted from that poem: Oh my aged Uncle Arly, sitting on a heap of barley/On his nose his faithful cricket/In his hat a railway ticket/But his shoes were far too tight.  But the song alludes to other works by the author as well.  The repeated line How pleasant to know Mr. Lear is the title of Lear's ironic verse self-portrait, and another poem, "The Pobble Who Has No Toes," is mentioned.  There's even a reference to Lear's beloved cat Foss, who turns up in several of his drawings.  The only thing missing is a runcible spoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment