Wednesday, June 4, 2014

# 49 Shel Silverstein & Paul Butterfield

    Every generation has at least one artist whose talent is unique, diverse, and whose production is enormous enough that it influences several areas of artistic expression. Shel Silverstein is one of these artists. His work is still a major contributor to American arts and culture.

    During his life, he is prolific poet, screenwriter, cartoonist, and author of children's books, much of which is translated into 30 languages, and sells over 20 million copies.

    While fans of Silverstein's work tend to remember him best as children's storyteller; he also makes significant contributions to popular music as songwriter during the sixties and seventies.

    Similar to Tim Hardin, many readers may not have heard any of Silverstein's albums, but they have probably heard many of his songs. A few examples are: A Boy Named Sue (Johnny Cash), The Cover of the Rolling Stone, and Sylvia's Mother (Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show), The Unicorn Song (Irish Rovers), and the soundtrack to the 1970 film Ned Kelly which stars Mick Jagger, and features Silverstein's songs as interpreted by Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. These are only a few of songs in  Silverstein's catalogue. The extensive list is easily accessed online.

    His first album Hairy Jazz is released in 1959, and by 1967, he releases his fourth album Drain My Brain. This is where fans of Paul Butterfield will take interest. It is a folk album, but he employs Butterfield as sidemen on the album.

    Butterfield's distinctive tone is heard on The Changing Seasons. Have a listen below.


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