Thanks Scott Saalman for the shout-out for Don Rosler’s “Doris From Rego Park”…

Will Read and Sing for Food

harryLooking for a good story? Try a song

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I’ve always been a sucker for story songs.

A story song is … well … a song with a story. The granddaddy of all is “John Henry,” followed by “Frankie and Johnny,” followed by Marty Robbins’ gun-slinging Western saga, “El Paso,” followed by “Ode to Billie Joe.”

What follows are my favorites. Some, you’ve heard. Others are more obscure (go to YouTube or Spotify for an inaugural listen).

“Mr. Tanner”: Harry Chapin (in pic) wrote this about a fictitious laundry owner and local singer in the Midwest who “practiced scales while pressing tails.” Encouraged by friends, he eventually spends his savings on a “town hall debut” in New York City. Afterwards, a harsh newspaper review silences his singing voice. Chapin’s inclusion of “Oh, Holy…

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