In the early 1970s, RCA put out a single for John Laws called “A Front Row Seat To Hear Old Johnny Sing”, it was backed by a song called “For The Kids”. It was a country area radio hit but didn’t do that well in the big cities as the radio stations were playing progressive rock and pop. "Lawsie" was a radio announcer and radio talk show host, so maybe competing radio stations refused to promote it, who knows?

A Front Row Seat To Hear Old Johnny Sing” was written by Shel Silverstein and it was laced with some low key humour which made it palatable. Mr. Silverstein had numerous hits around the world, with other people or groups releasing his songs, although he was an adept musician himself.

Shel Silverstein collaborated heavily with Bob Gibson, Bobby Bare, Dr. Hook, Waylon Jennings, Mel Tillis, Jerry Reed, Irish Rovers, Smothers Brothers, Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn. His discography includes: Sylvia’s Mother, A Couple More Years, Cover Of The Rolling Stone, One's on the Way, The Unicorn, Wreck of the Old '49, A Boy Named Sue, Put Another Log On The Fire…Shel did the work on the 1970 Ned Kelly Motion Picture Soundtrack with songs that featured Waylon Jennings, Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, and Tom Ghent.

The shortest song ever to be issued on a 7” disc has to be Shel Silverstein's “26 second song”. It had the original version of “A Front Row Seat To Hear Old Johnny Sing”on the flip.

The “26-second song” lyrics go:

All the DJ's keep complaining the tunes run much too long,

So I went out and wrote myself a 26-second song.

A Front Row Seat To Hear Old Johnny Sing” was also released on the vinyl album Chartstoppers Vol.3 which you can find at another blog site for these K-Tel style vinyl albums. (See my links section for K-Tel Albums And More).

Here is the link to
a very pristine copy of “A Front Row Seat To Hear Old Johnny Sing” done by a Midoztouch contributor called Numbat. (See my links section for Midoztouch).



  1. Hi Tom

    Well done, love lawsie.

    I have always loved return songs, you know, songs that are a follow up usually on a similar theme. Am I right in thinking that the Newcastle Song actually had 2 follow up songs, 1 being Rack of Normie and a second I can not remember. Am I right and do you have the 3rd song?

    Big Trev

  2. Hudson wrote a straight novelty sequel to The Newcastle Song called Rak Off Normie, which Maureen Elkner recorded. The single reached #6. Folk/blues singer Margret Roadknight covered another of Hudson’s social observations: Girls in our Town was a song from his Newcastle Song album. She scored a minor hit in the process. Hudson and Roadknight later toured together. As a follow-up to The Newcastle Song album, Hudson issued the album After Me Cat Left Home and the single Waltzing Matilda Rock. Hudson issued his third album, Party Pieces, in 1980.