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Wellman, Manly Wade
JOHN THE BALLADEER
A complete collection of "Silver John" stories by Manly Wade Wellman: John the Balladeer. This 1988 selection contains all stories from the original "Silver John" collection Who Fears the Devil? (1963), plus 6 stories written 1979 to 1987. If you read nothing else by Manly Wade Wellman, you should try this book. I strongly recommend these - wih their wry, ironic (and regional) tone. Of all "Silver John" collections, this edition has the cover I like best - which nicely captures the mood of the stories and the character of John.
He goes only by one name: John. He carries only a silver-stringed guitar and a wealth of songs. He travels by foot or by thumb. He does not say much, and few, if any, can even guess what he has seen. But in the enchanted forests of the Carolina hills, he has tussled with every terror, every creature whose legend is whispered around hushed campfires, every being whose existence is feared. To John, they are real.
(Introduction by David Drake)
The first 11 stories and the first vignette-set appeared in Magazine of F&SF - from 1951 to 1962. "Farther Down the Trail" consists of 4 more vignettes original to Who Fears the Devil? (1963). (In that book the vignettes were scattered throughout the contents, alternating with the stories - I'm willing to read them in a bunch to get a more complete book.) The last 6 stories were first collected in The Valley So Low (1987) - and originally appeared from 1979 to 1987 in Whispers 2, Shadows 2, Dark Forces, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Weird Tales #3, Whispers 23-24.
Owls Hoot in the Daytime (2003) is essentially a re-title of this book, with only minor changes (stories in same order / substitutes an afterword by Page for the Drake introduction.)