Gadfly Records is proud to announce the release of No Song Left To Sell, a new album (the first in a decade!) from FRED KOLLER -- one that features all songs he wrote with songwriting icon SHEL SILVERSTEIN.
"Deep in the pocket of an old sport coat jacket
I chanced to discover an old memory,
Three for a quarter a black and white portrait,
taken of Jennifer Johnson and Me"
In 1974 Shel Silverstein and Fred Koller began writing their first song together. Shel was already famous for his Playboy cartoons, children's books and a string of hits for artists like Doctor Hook and Johnny Cash. Fred had hitchhiked to Nashville a year earlier with a handful of homemade songs and a Dobro guitar. They soon discovered a mutual love for old bookstores, out of the way cafes, and Ernest Tubb. They began writing songs that didn't sound like they could have been created by two guys from Chicago, but even "Jennifer Johnson and Me" has a hidden reference to Fred's hometown of Homewood in the last verse. Their collaboration grew into a friendship that would last for the next 25 years. Whenever Shel's travels brought him to Nashville, or when Fred found himself at Shel's hideaways in Sausilito, Greenwich Village, or Martha's Vineyard, they would always find the time to write together. On one two-week trip together to Santa Cruz, California they wrote a dozen songs like "Don't Knock The Music (You Were Made To)" and "Lovely Margarita," which features a transvestite strip tease artist unveiling the "secrets of an ancient world's delight." Other encounters produced "Little Green Buttons," which introduces listeners to a woman saving a dying marriage with carefully placed tattoos, and "The Happy Caucasian," which chronicles a modern-day Johnny Appleseed who spreads joy and jubilation all across the nation while "singing out good news." Not, in other words, your typical Nashville fodder. These songs have remained hidden away for many years. Only a few have slipped out from time to time: Country legend Bobby Bare recorded a memorable version of "This Guitar is For Sale," and Robert Earl Keen reintroduced Jennifer Johnson to the world. Fred also recorded a few more on his critically acclaimed "Night of The Living Fred" release.
On this album, with Shel now moved on to a better place, Fred brings this material back to life. His guitar and unmistakable voice strike a perfect balance in these intimate performances of songs the world will be grateful to hear, again or for the first time.
Shel's childrens books have delighted millions of readers and Fred scored a string of number one records with songs he wrote for Kathy Mattea. His catalog includes collaborations with John Hiatt, Nanci Griffith and "Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian," which he wrote with another Chicagoan: John Prine.