Wayfaring Stranger

Wayfaring Stranger

by Burl Ives

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Overview

First published in 1948, this autobiography from Burl Ives, whom Carl Sandberg calls “the greatest folk ballad singer of them all,” is as fresh and wholesome as a summer’s breeze out of an Illinois cornfield. His ballads have long been an authentic expression of his land and its people—songs his grandmother taught him in the Midwestern farm country, songs remembered by old-timers in small towns all over the land, songs he heard hobos singing—songs we have come to know and love.

In Wayfaring Stranger, writing in the stirring imaginative language of the ballad, Burt Ives tells of a night spent in a haystack with a pig, and of a brief fight with a railroad cop on top of a boxcar. He hitched a ride with Al Capone’s master bootlegger; he barely escaped the clutches of an old maid in Maine; he fell in love on a Great Lakes steamer; he played for evangelists and politicians; in speakeasies and public parks. Always he listened to the people, and he learned their songs. Anywhere he could get an audience, he sang his ballads: Barbara Allen, The Riddle Song, Fair Eleanor, Old Smokey, Silver Dagger, Foggy Foggy Dew.

Now in Wayfaring Stranger, he has written his own story—as warm and appealing as the songs he sings.

“It’s a fine book, warm, and full-bided, like Burl himself. Burl gives the reader the combination which is in everything he sings: a sense of dignity without pretentiousness, of simplicity without sentimentality. He makes the folk feeling richly alive. Some of his little character sketches remind me of the unforgettable etchings in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg. In short, Burl tells stories just the way he plays and sings—naturally, unaffectedly, poignantly.”—Louis Untermeyer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781787204898
Publisher: Papamoa Press
Publication date: 06/28/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 171
Sales rank: 990,465
File size: 600 KB

About the Author

Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (June 14, 1909 - April 14, 1995) was an American singer and actor of stage, screen, radio and television.

Born near Hunt City, an unincorporated town in Jasper County, Illinois, near Newton, Illinois, to Levi “Frank” Ives (1880-1947) and Cordelia “Dellie” (née White) (1882-1954), he attended Eastern Illinois State Teachers College (now Eastern Illinois University) in Charleston, Illinois from 1927 to 1929. One day he was singing in the garden with his mother, and his uncle overheard them. He invited his nephew to sing at the old soldiers’ reunion in Hunt City, where the boy performed a rendition of the folk ballad “Barbara Allen” and impressed both his uncle and the audience.

He began as an itinerant singer and banjoist, and launched his own radio show, The Wayfaring Stranger, which popularized traditional folk songs. In 1942, he appeared in Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army, and then became a major star of CBS radio. In the 1960s, he successfully crossed over into country music, recording hits such as “A Little Bitty Tear” and “Funny Way of Laughing”. A popular film actor through the late 1940s and 1950s, Ives’s best-known roles in that medium included parts in So Dear to My Heart and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as well as Rufus Hannassey in The Big Country, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Ives is often remembered for his starring role in the 1964 Christmas stop-motion television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which continues to air on CBS every Christmas season, as the voice of “Sam the Snowman”, the special’s host and narrator.

Ives was a lifelong supporter of the Boy Scouts of America.

He was inducted as a laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the state’s highest honor) by the governor of Illinois in 1976 in the area of the performing arts.

He died in 1995 at his home in Anacortes, Washington at the age of 85.

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