Friday, September 25, 2009

Shel Silverstein - A bald, cartoonist, songwriter who liked to go barefoot. My hero!

Born in 1930, Shel Silverstein would have been just 79 years old today, but he left us too soon in 1999. 69 years that he really filled up with adventure, wonder, bawdiness, and love of wine, women and song. Then he passed it on to us.

Shel was a cartoonist for Playboy magazine, Stars and Stripes magazine, folksinger, songwriter, children's book author and poet.

Here's Johnny Cash to tell you a little about Shel and introduce him:

Some of the books he's written are:

Wonderful stories and poems all illustrated with his deceptively simplistic, but never simple cartoons. All works of art in my book.

He was also a prolific songwriter. A lot of folks sold a lot of records thanks to Uncle Shelby. Before I show you a few of them, I want to get my 2 cents in.

Here's my version of "Put Another Log on the Fire". A Shel song first made popular by Tompall Glazer on "Wanted: The Outlaws" the first big outlaw country album in the early 70's. Featuring Tompall, Waylon Jennings, Jessie Colter and Willie Nelson it was the first country album to ever go Platinum.

The Irish Rovers with "The Unicorn":

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. Their first 3 albums were written entirely by Shel. Then they sunk into 70's MOR crap. Here's two from their heyday.

"Cover of the Rolling Stone":

"Freakin' at the Freaker's Ball":

Bobby Bare doing "The Mermaid":

And Johnny Cash backed by Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Two, "A Boy Named Sue":

Back to his children's work..."The Giving Tree"

A parade of Shel's characters:

Shel is one of my heroes whom I've never really researched his personal life. I'm kind of afraid to.

After all the wonderful worlds and characters he's created, I think I'd be afraid to find an ordinary guy back there. And maybe a little comforted too.

Thanks Uncle Shelby for all the songs and cartoons. You are really missed.

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