Today we listen to a prototypical Shel Silverstein song, “Show It at the Beach.” It is off his 1978 album, Songs and Stories. It has this usual folk formulation, which may have been one of the reasons he was popular among the listening audience; he isn’t too demanding in that way. And the focus is always his wonderful words.
“Show It at the Beach” is really modern in what it talks about. He’s making fun of the odd fact that you can’t be naked on the beach, but somehow it is fine to wave guns around in front of others. One especially interesting lines is, “You can show it in the most sophisticated magazine.” Silverstein was a longtime writer for Playboy. I wonder what he would think now that you can no longer even show it there!
It’s also funny at the beginning of this clip. In introducing him, Ray Sawyer says, “I’d be surprised if he hasn’t written at least one or two of your favorite songs.” And Silverstein interrupts, “I’d be surprised!”