One great thing about Belle and Sebastian is that for their first ten or so years they released, between albums, EPs that contained three of four completely new songs. Rather than releasing a CD single with an album song and a couple of bonus tracks, they reserved those singles for brand new material. This meant fans had new songs to look forward to almost every year.
And these weren’t throwaway songs. Some of their best-loved tunes are on those EPs, including today’s track, ‘Dog on Wheels.’
Unfortunately, they went a bit mainstream in 2003 and began putting out singles of previously released songs. Those EPs still contained B-side gems (one of which is slated for Friday) but it wasn’t the same. Still, if that’s the closest to selling out that Belle and Sebastian comes, I can live with it.
‘Dog on Wheels’ is an odd little song that kind of reminds me of a Bob Dylan tune, lyrically — it reads like a parable but with personal touches. Murdoch is a religious man and this is one “love” song that I can see applying to either a woman or God.
And I love the use of trumpet, which would become a staple on much of their later work.
Now I’m still a boy, I am indebted to you
Every song I ever wrote was written for you
Written for you
Now I’m feeling flat, you seem a mile away
I’m so tired that down on the pavement I’ll lay
Until the blossom of the tree comes falling on me
Fall on me
From my window I can see the mountain in snow
From my window I will shut my eyes and let go
Promise me you’ll always be around when I fall
And when I call
On the river bridge up on the wall, looking down
On the river bridge to me a vision was shown
If I could hold onto things until I was full grown
Peace would I know
To my dog on wheels I’ll tell my pleasures and woes
To my dog on wheels I’ll tell my secrets and more
Then one day in spring I’ll take him down to the road