I’m a day late, but happy belated 81st birthday to Kristoffer “Kris” Kristofferson, who was born on June 22, 1936 in Brownsville, Texas. His was a military family, which eventually settled in San Mateo, California, where he graduated high school. He graduated summa cum laude from Pomona College in 1958 with a BA in literature and was then a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, where he began writing songs. He began recording songs as “Kris Carson”, marketed as “a Yank at Oxford”, hoping it would help him towards his goal of becoming a novelist. After graduating Oxford in 1960, he enrolled in the US Army, earning the rank of Captain, and a job teaching literature at West Point. He defied his family’s wishes, and left the Army in 1965 for Nashville. He was sweeping floors at Columbia Recording Studios when he met June Carter and asked her to give Johnny Cash a demo tape. After some legendary persuasion involving a helicopter, Cash recorded the song, “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”, which earned Kris a CMA for Songwriter of the Year. He became an in-demand songwriter, penning major hits like “Me and Bobby McGee” (recorded by then-lover Janis Joplin), “For the Good Times”, and “Help Me Make It Through the Night”. He later joined The Highwaymen with fellow outlaws Willie, Waylon, and Cash. He has also had a long career as an actor, winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor for the 1976 remake of “A Star Is Born” with Barbra Streisand. And he’s still truckin’. Today’s feature is “The Silver Tongued Devil and I” (1971), his 2nd solo LP. He had already written 4 chart-toppers for others, so this release was much-anticipated, and it marked his transition from songwriter to recording artist. The LP is visible in the 1976 film “Taxi Driver”, which also quotes a line from track 9, “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33”: “He’s a prophet, he’s a pusher, partly truth and partly fiction, a walking contradiction”. Other highlights include rambling title track, the wry jaunt “The Taker” (co-written with Shel Silverstein), the raw “Epitaph (Black and Blue)” (inspired by both Joplin and Harry Dean Stanton), and the gorgeous classic country ballad “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)”.