Cris Williamson

Wolf Moon

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Wolf Moon is not as impressive an effort as The Changer and the Changed or Blue Rider, but ranks as a consistent, workmanlike project on a par with Strange Paradise and Prairie Fire. By now, Cris Williamson's approach is familiar. Although she is relegated to the woman's music genre due to her close association with Olivia Records, as usual there really isn't anything in her lyrics that justifies that categorization; it would be more accurate to think of her as a contemporary rock artist who happens to be a woman and therefore naturally uses women as the subjects of her songs, just as, say, Joni Mitchell does. Williamson has always been more interested in her music (as opposed to focusing primarily on the lyrics) than her peers in the women's music movement, and she has always been a child of rock & roll, which she demonstrates here by writing a song that mentions famed disc jockey Wolfman Jack, covering the old Del Vikings hit "Come Go with Me," and throughout constructing melodic, keyboard-based tracks to support her emotive vocals. The recurring term in the songs is "wolf," whether it's Wolfman Jack in the title song; the late folksinger Kate Wolf, to whom "The Run of the Wolf" is dedicated; the novelist Virginia Woolf, whose poetic image for her suicidal feelings gives "Black Fin" its title and subject; "The Wolves of Paris"; or just a repeated poetic reference -- in "Goodnight, Marjorie Morningstar," a depiction of the drowning death of actress Natalie Wood, there is the line "The wolf tone is sounding," and in "Home Free," the album's most personal song, Williamson celebrates romantic contentment by declaring, "No more am I the lone wolf under the evening star." The wolf therefore serves many functions in these songs, symbolizing independence, freedom, rock & roll, depression, danger, and loneliness, among other things. It enables Williamson to address a variety of subjects, but it also lends her a certain distance from them. Usually, the songwriter employs the third person for the characters in these songs, and the "she" figure described is somewhat elusive. Like a wolf, you might say, she never sticks around long enough for the listener to draw a bead on her.

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