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2321Dave Ballard's "Vagabond's House" recording?

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  • Clueless in Seattle
    May 1, 2001

      My name is Will, but online everyone calls me "Clueless." It probably
      won't take you long to figure out why.

      I'm writing to your list hoping that one of you might have some clues
      or leads I can follow to track down an old recording of "Vagabond's
      House" I heard on the radio decades ago.

      Back when I was in high school, here in Seattle in the late fifties,
      there was a guy on the radio who read poetry backed with lush musical
      accompaniment one night a week. His name was Dave Ballard and he called
      his program "Reflections." I happened to tune in for the first time the
      night he read "Vagabond's House" and was captivated by it. I became an
      instant fan, tuning in every Sunday night at ten (I think I've got the
      night right, I can't say if I've got the time right. Maybe one of you
      knows for sure) while I did my homework for Monday morning.

      It turned out that "Vagabond's House" was one of his most requested
      readings and I got to hear it at least a couple of more times before I
      got out of the habit of listening to his show. Over the next 40 years I
      would sometimes think back to Ballard's reading of that poem, but I
      never knew the name of it and about all I could recall was an image of a
      big overstuffed chair by the fire, with a couple of dogs sleeping on an
      oriental rung at their master's feet.

      Then a few years ago I was talking to an old fellow I met at a
      collectible coin business, where I was working at the time, and he was
      working in a room of coin books on shelves from floor to ceiling. And I
      mentioned to him that I used to collect books and hd kept them in
      cardboard boxes in my parents' attic with the idea that someday I would
      have a big house on a bluff with a room full of wooden bookshelves
      crammed with all my books. But when my parents died I had to sell all
      those books, and as I'd always been a wanderer I would probably never
      own a house in my life.

      And that's when he began to recite some lines from "Vagabond's House"
      and I was stunned to realize that he was reciting the very poem I'd
      heard on the radio decades before. The next day he brought in a
      photocopy of the poem for me and as I read it I was transported back to
      those Sunday nights in the fifties.

      I was so excited I decided to try to track down a recording of Dave
      Ballard reading the poem. I knew that his show was on tape, because he
      used to send the tapes to Seattle from Hawaii. I found that out from a
      friend of mine whose parents had been friends of the Ballard's. She
      gave me the name and address of Ballard's widow. But she never replied
      to my letters.

      Do any of you have any idea how I could track down a recording of Dave
      Ballard reading "Vagabond's House?"
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