Will mentioned that I might want to look into the history of the song “Beans Taste Fine.” He thinks it goes way back, but as far as I can tell, it is just a Shel Silverstein original, off his 1962 album, Inside Folk Songs. But since I didn’t have a theme for this week’s Morning Music posts, I figured that was an excellent idea. I could easily do a month of Shel Silverstein.
He first came to my attention as the guy who wrote one of the greatest musical satires ever: “The Cover of Rolling Stone.” And so I want to start there, even though I knew other of his songs (without knowing they were his) before that. And I’ll probably go back to some of his earlier work. I also probably won’t stick to his songs. His poetry and prose are equally good.
So we start with “The Cover of Rolling Stone” performed by Dr Hook & the Medicine Show off their album Sloppy Seconds. They did a lot of Shel Silverstein songs. Their first album had the hit “Sylvia’s Mother” and the following album had “Roland the Roadie and Gertrude the Groupie.” They are an interesting group, because it still isn’t clear whether they were a rock band or a parody of a rock band.
Certainly their association with Shel Silverstein makes that case stronger. I think he was on record as not being that fond of the art form. But if you assume that a rock band is actually meant as comedy, it is not hard to convince yourself that they are hilarious. Think of The Beatles, going from the bubblegum of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to the utter pretentiousness of “Eleanor Rigby” just two years later.
Anyway, here is the song. I’m presenting the album cut, because I really like the production. Live versions of it are distinctly lacking.