Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Holding the Conch Shel

So now that the Canals has re-entered the blogosphere (hopefully without causing the “massive blogstinction” that I’ve heard so much about), it’s time to share some material that I think we all can relate to. Over the summer, I discovered an album by the beloved children’s book author and illustrator, Shel Silverstein. A far cry from the stuff of kids he’s known for, Silverstein’s Great Conch Train Robbery is a wild, sickly amusing country album that gives a whole new dimension to his broad catalogue of books, poems, and plays.

It seems that while simultaneously entertaining and molding the youth of the past four decades with his genius brand of dark and heartfelt storytelling, Silverstein produced gobs of written and recorded material for a more mature age set. Perhaps his most famous foray as a songwriter is the raucously funny, Grammy winning, "A Boy Named Sue," made famous by Johnny Cash in 1970. After playing a few songs for some friends, I heard his gruff voice described as a mix of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits (although Waits himself often sounds like a mix between Bob Dylan and Tom Waits). However you choose to describe it, it’s exactly how I’d like to imagine his written word being read. Imagine a bedtime with "Uncle Shelby's" bald head hovering above, reading The Giving Tree in a strained, gravelly voice (note: that may be the most unintentionally perverted thing I have ever written). I think the kid would go into a coma and never wake up.

Shel Silverstein -- Quaaludes Again
Shel Silverstein -- The Great Conch Train Robbery


-Benjy

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