Friday, October 30, 2015


One of the trippiest albums ever recorded by creative wordsmith Shel Silverstein – an amazing talent who's known for his famous work with Playboy, his poetry for kids, and even his contributions to country music! This set's got a wild style that definitely lives up to the Freakers Ball promised in the title – kind of a hippie happening that feels like it's recorded live in the studio, with Shel almost making up the words as he goes along – yet also grooving with a style that's tighter than ever, and which has some surprising undercurrents of funk at times. Given the playful themes of the tunes, the record's not far off from a Schoolhouse Rock feel at points –
 although the overall content is far more adult! 

A singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter, award-winning children’s writer, and actor, Shel Silverstein grew up in Chicago. He started out as a cartoonist, publishing work in Playboy and the military publication Stars & Stripes, before turning to children’s books.Silverstein is the author and illustrator of numerous books, including The Giving Tree (1964), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), A Light in the Attic (1981), and Falling Up (1996). His books have been commended for their appeal to both adults and children.
Silverstein’s poems are often darkly humorous, irreverent, and populated with invented characters, such as the “Bloath” in Where the Sidewalk Ends, who dwells “[i]n the undergrowth” and “feeds upon poets and tea.” Silverstein’s poems and stories are accompanied by his simple yet energetic pen-and-ink illustrations. The Giving Tree, a fable about a lifelong relationship between a boy and a tree, has become a classic in the canon of children’s literature and has sold over five million copies.
As a songwriter, Silverstein wrote “The Cover of the Rolling Stone,” recorded by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show; “Unicorn Song,” for the Irish Rovers; “A Boy Named Sue,” for Johnny Cash; and “Queen of the Silver Dollar,” which Emmylou Harris covered on Pieces of the Sky. Silverstein collaborated with playwright David Mamet on the screenplay Things Change (1988), and they and Elaine May staged a series of one-act plays called Oh, Hell (1991).


Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill. Although I have a few by Shel Silverstein, this particular album has always eluded me. I probably first became aware of him through some early Dr Hook albums and then was later surprised when my kids would bring home his books from the school library.
Happy Halloween to you,

Anonymous said...

You can't go wrong with Shel. A true Renaissance Man! Thanks!

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