The late Shel Silverstein is best known for his books (The Missing Piece is one of my favorites of all time), but he was also a witty songwriter. (Did you expect anything less?) He's the man responsible, after all, for Johnny Cash's rousing, funny, and moving "A Boy Named Sue."

Twistable Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to Shel Silverstein
features the likes of My Morning Jacket, John Prine, and Kris Kristofferson, tackling Silverstein songs with gusto and love.

Perhaps my favorite Silverstein song is "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan." Lucinda Williams performs a beautiful version of this haunting and deeply sad track on this album, but I first heard it achingly sung many years ago by Marianne Faithfull (off the Thelma & Louise soundtrack).

There are a number of other highlights on this tribute album, but perhaps none more memorable than Nanci Griffith's music version of Silverstein's signature book, The Giving Tree.

Anyway, here's Faithfull's rendition of "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan," which isn't on this particular album, but you've got to hear it. Listen:


[THE BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN - MARIANNE FAITHFULL]

Here are the lyrics:

The morning sun touched lightly on the eyes of Lucy Jordan
In a white suburban bedroom in a white suburban town
As she lay there 'neath the covers dreaming of a thousand lovers
'Til the world turned to orange and the room went spinning round

At the age of thirty-seven she realized she'd never
Ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair
So she let the phone keep ringing and she sat there softly singing
Little nursery rhymes she'd memorized in her daddy's easy chair

Her husband, he's off to work and the kids are off to school
And there are, oh, so many ways for her to spend the day
She could clean the house for hours or rearrange the flowers
Or run naked through the shady street screaming all the way

At the age of thirty-seven she realized she'd never
Ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair
So she let the phone keep ringing as she sat there softly singing
Pretty nursery rhymes she'd memorized in her daddy's easy chair

The evening sun touched gently on the eyes of Lucy Jordan
On the rooftop where she climbed when all the laughter grew too loud
And she bowed and curtsied to the man who reached and offered her his hand
And he led her down to the long white car that waited past the crowd

At the age of thirty-seven she knew she'd found forever
As she rode along through Paris with the warm wind in her hair

I had the pleasure of meeting Shel Silverstein in 1990 when both of us had one-act plays being performed on the same bill at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York. What a warm and jolly old man he was. Wherever he is, I hope he's found his missing piece.
Thanks for visiting Bamboo Nation! Want to stay connected? Subscribe to this blog via RSS or e-mail. Or join my private e-mail list for event alerts. Or do both of those things. Because if you do, you win the Internet!

MORE BAMBOO NATION POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

2 Comments

  1. Howard Ho Said,

    My favorite song of his is "Plastic."

     

  2. I'll have to look it up. Thanks!

     



Blog Archive by Topic

Blog Archive by Date