Not quite sure how I've managed to write this website and not review a disk from Bill Harley. Well, that ends now.
Harley's latest disk The Best Candy in the Whole World and Other Stories, out this week, is a disk of four stories (with a song mixed in for good measure). It features Harley's typical sense of impish humor, vocal stylings, and, most of all, humanity. In a couple different stories, Harley uses the phrase, "his/her heart went out to her/him," a lovely phrase that underscores Harley's approach to telling stories. When he's getting at the heart (pun intended) of familial or larger rivalries, Harley always sees the person underneath. There may be heroes and there may be villains in his stories, but they're almost never entirely so.
All of which makes the collection sound a little dull, which it's not. The stories (some original, some borrowed) are funny and imaginative. You can see the ending of the title track coming perhaps a minute or two before the actual ending, which is both neatly wrapped up and open-ended. You think you see the ending of the "Jack and the Singing Leaves," about ten minutes into the 25-minute story, but then Harley acknowledges what you're thinking (in the context of the story) and then takes it in a somewhat different direction.
The stories will be most enjoyed by kids ages 4 through 9. You can hear samples here. Bill Harley's albums of stories are usually good an hour's worth of silent attention broken by the occasional giggle or guffaw, and The Best Candy in the Whole World is no exception. Recommended.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the album for possible review from Harley's PR folks.