Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jean Shepherd Reads 'The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill' by Robert Service

A light dusting of snow on the ground, the trifling inconvenience of grabbing gloves and a hat before heading outside, and as my mind over-dramatizes weather conditions, my thoughts turn to the poetry of Robert Service. ➤

In the 1890's, while still in his early twenties, Robert Service left a banking job in Scotland and traveled to Canada with dreams of becoming a cowboy.

Hired by a banking firm, they sent him to their branch in the Yukon territory.
Inspired by the vast Canadian wilderness and his exposure to the colorful characters living there, Service began writing poetry about the West and its gold miners.

Despite the difference in era and experiences, it can be said that Service and quintessentially American storyteller ⬅ Jean Shepherd were kindred spirits.

Both wove intricately embroidered tales from things they saw and lived.

At this point, Shepherd will always be best remembered as the narrator and author behind the 1983 film 'A Christmas Story'.

Prior achievements included several books of short stories, a few records, TV productions, and many live concert/lecture appearances, and additionally, memories of his legendary late-night radio broadcasts on New York City's WOR from 1956 - 1977 endeared him to generations of listeners.

See also:
- Flick Lives.Com - A Salute to Jean Shepherd
- Robert Service - Selected Poetry

From the LP
'Jean Shepherd Reads Poems of Robert Service'
(Folkways Records, 1975),
Listen to:

Shepherd's introduction to
'The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill'

The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill
(click for audio)


Anonymous said...

Never heard this before. Jean Shepard is pretty hip though. Thanks.


Have you seen the Jean Shepherd archive? ....I got the link off his Wikipedia entry, looks like a goldmine.

Freshly-stirred links