Linda Allen,
October Roses
(October Rose, 1984/1999)

Linda Allen is the poetic voice of Every Woman. Her lyrics are lovely and deeply insightful as well as pleasing to the ear. These songs strike strong, deep notes of recognition within the female experience, but especially the older woman who needs the reassurance that she is not alone. These songs are like patches from a generational quilt, each with its own story and particular familiar comfort.

The first song is the title tune, and it is a sensitive song dealing with the sadness that comes with the passage of time. "If Hope Is a Flower" follows in the same vein, a gentle ballad telling of a strong woman who looks back over a life of troubles and hard work. There is satisfaction in the aging process. The next song is just as powerful, but with not nearly as pleasant an ending; "Overland, 1852" tells the story of a woman taken from hearth and home to follow her husband's ambitions and hunger for gold. This is not Little House on the Prairie; there is no happy ending, and the story of loss and heartache is all too real. The fourth track is "I'm A Mother/I'm A Writer." It is a departure from the previous songs, a thoughtful inner monologue about the loneliness and the search for self.

Next is a bluesy number about "Workin' It Out." A romantic number about making a relationship work with time and patience. Old-fashioned, but moving. "Just Friends" is about friendship that grows into something deeper for one of the two involved and the bittersweet temptation to speak one's heart. "Spirit Keeper" tells a darker, sadder story about the unwanted touches of a father and the guilt and shame harbored in the soul of a child. "Together Again" speaks of paths rejoining after time apart, after the gathering of wisdom. "Sally's Quiche" is a recipe for more than a quiche, it is a recipe for friendship and the passage of wisdom from one generation to another. It is far more upbeat and cheerier than the ones before it. Bringing the CD to a sweet, silly and satisfying end is "Why Don't You Sing In The Chorus?" Like its predecessors, there is wisdom and a lesson in the story, but one given so joyfully, that you will end up singing the chorus again and again.

Like all of her CDs, October Roses has excellent music, and Linda's voice is strong and lovely. Her words are deep and meaningful, entertaining on the surface and softly stirring. Beneath there is great wisdom and power for those who seek and need. Linda Allen continues to give quality all the way through the album with no weak spots to mar the mood. She brings femininity and feminist together in a most satisfying manner.

[ by Debbie Gayle Rose ]
Rambles: 15 September 2001

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