Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Goldenberg's Peanut Chews have often been on the shelves around town, but then were not to be found. Now they're here again, including in a new, non-traditional milk-chocolate version, in addition to the traditional dark one. The only version found has been in a redesigned package and in a movie-theater large size. The slogan is now "Chews. Something different." "Carrying on the Goldenberg tradition" is in fine print. I've never consumed one of these and never will. Here's an intermediate version of the wrapper, with "Goldenberg's" in very small print. This is an older modern version, with "Goldenberg's" writ fairly large. I still want to read the Candy Freak book.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Still made

At a price of under ten dollars and decades of use, our non-electric waffle iron is a bit scummy. The waffle grill is seasoned, but the handles have sat over the flame too long a few times and have that certain tackiness. It was bought years ago from a cookware catalogue that no longer exists. It turns out that, whether NordicWare made the original iron or has merely licensed the right to sell it, it's out there, apparently the same item, merely costing nearly five times more than it did. Acquiring a spare is under consideration. I'd really like to find one of the super-heavy cast-iron waffle irons that were intended to be used on wood ranges. They have the same sort of handle (cast iron, with a coil of metal wound around them) as those on lid-lifters for woodstoves. These irons were made by frying-pan people, but not Lodge. Could the name be Griswold? Yes! We had one that made round waffles and one that made oval ones. You could sort of smell when the metal was the right temperature, but a drop of water on the plates would tell something, also. This is a good photograph of the kind of handle meant. There were some WagnerWare cast-iron skillets, but no waffle irons that I recall. No matter what, waffles are better than pancakes. They're never, ever gummy. Besides, it's fun to to precision pouring of the maple syrup into the holes. I like this FAQ on the history of the Griswold and Wagner foundries.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Out there

We're on the third shade of blue hyacinths and second shade of pink ones. Alliums are beginning to bloom. Pink oxalis is blooming in some places. There are still flowers from Grand Primo, Actaea, Avalanche, Montopolis and Bastrop (although these are past their peak), and Ice Follies. Anemones are mostly blue, with the first fuchsia one. There are many, many mystery narcissi and daffodils. A narcissus that came from Bastrop is one never identified. It must be very old-fashioned; no matter what catalogue is consulted, it remains a mystery. At the tip of stems of tall-medium height are very small flowers, just one, two, or three to a stem. The perianth is short, pointed, and broad in its division. It's distinctly yellow, and the tiny cup is even more yellow. The scent is very strong. We forget about these every year. They don't multiply, it seems, but neither do they vanish.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Savoy sessions six

On this, CBS Realm 52214, Charlie Parker Memorial Album Volume Six, there are just two tracks on a side, with no alternate takes. The liner notes say that these were not studio recordings, but captured on a home tape recorder and with doubts about the personnel apart from Charlie Parker and Max Roach. It's known that the recording was made before an audience and in 1949 or 1950. All else is speculation. Side one contains There's a Small Hotel and These Foolish Things; side two, Fine and Dandy and Hot House.

Savoy sessions three, four, and five

These are CBS Realm numbers 52122, 52123, and 52131, Charlie Parker Memorial Album Volumes Three, Four, and Five. What is there to say? Every take is revelatory. Miles Davis has plenty of prominence of course. Max Roach is no showboat; I think it would be possible to listen to his work with no accompaniment and Think Deep Thoughts. John Lewis is on some of these tracks. Maybe I'll move on to MJQ albums. There are a couple of pops in the first version of Parker's Mood. This has always been a favorite. Anyhow, I'm sure glad that I did keep these Savoy sessions. Most of the material is so complex as to repay listening over and over and, as is so often very definitely not the case on projects of this sort, the alternate takes are worth listening to, each and every one. And it's not a chore.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Savoy sessions two

Charlie Parker Memorial Album volume two, CBS Realm 52121, contains three different aggregations. The author of the liner notes is fairly dubious about the Tiny Grimes Quartet, saying that, except for Charlie Parker and Clyde Hart, there's little understanding exhibited of bebop. The same would be true of the Slim Galliard outfit, but the vocals add that 'Forties flavor, complete with Flat Foot Floogie (personnel on these include Dizzy Gillespie and Zutty Singleton), and I can tell that the writer is fond of these also. Aggregation three is the Charlie Parker All Stars (Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Tommy Potter, Max Roach). I wonder whether there's a repository of liner notes for classic issues like these. It would be easy to play the first two albums in this series more than the twice they've been on the turntable this week, but up next will be volume three.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Savoy sessions

The covers of these Charlie Parker albums are not in good shape. Judging from volume one, though, the records are fine. Even with stops and starts and alternate takes, Charlie Parker Memorial Album volume one, CBS Realm 52120, makes good listening all the way. I see that there have been CD reissues of some Savoy material, but there appears to be nothing as complete as this six-album set. I haven't taken down the other albums yet. These tracks were all recorded in the City on November 26, 1945. The version actually released is noted. Side one has five takes of Billie's Bounce, one of Warming Up a Riff, and three of Now's the Time. Side two has another version of Now's the Time, three of Thriving on a Riff, one of Meandering, and two of Ko-Ko. Miles Davis is on trumpet for all but Meandering and Ko Ko. Dizzy Gillespie is on trumpet for Ko Ko and on piano for some other tracks. Curley Rusell is on bass, and Max Roach is on drums. Liner notes are by Chris Whent.

Scout on the horizon

So maybe after Johnny Shines, there are no more Blue Horizon albums easily to be found around here after all. So I've been playing Scout Sc-1, Bye, Bye Bird: Solo Blues, a compilation, again. And it seems even more play-worthy than it did about a month ago.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New stack of blues

With Elmore James I thought that the remaining Blue Horizon albums had been exhausted, since several were offloaded years ago to Half Price Books in its original location shared with Jack Brown Cleaners. I thought there might be some still around in cartons. But it seems there are more right out there on the shelves. Last Night's Dream (Johnny Shines, Blue Horizon 7-63212) features sidemen Willie Dixon, Walter "Shakey" Horton, and Clifton James, with Otis Spann on one track. This has been reissued with the same Terence Ibbott cover. This is very insinuating and understated music.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Elmore blues

This two-LP album is Blue Horizon 7-66230, entitled Elmore James: To Know a Man. It includes multiple takes of some songs. This has some pops in it (side one, first and last tracks) and probably plenty of good New Mexico springtime red sandstone dust. This is not light-footed stuff but it sure fits some moods really well. This is truly influential guitar work. And speaking of moods, I only just noticed that the All Music Guide has a column called "moods" and the moods assigned to James are: fierce, gritty, intense, passionate, organic, exuberant, earthy, rollicking, boisterous, brash, cathartic, and fiery.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Nurdles are new to me and not to be found in on-line dictionaries but receive many Web references. People who jump at the chance to be a charter subscriber to new periodicals sometimes find after a time that there are periods when reasons for maintaining a given subscription come to seem dubious or even non-existent. Mother Jones, though, is now coming back into its own. The current (March/April) issue contains a full and frightening roundup of the state of Earth's salt waters. There's even a great pocket guide listing fish to avoid (struggling populations, etc.) and fish it's okay to eat (not endangered, not containing unhealthful substances).

Sunday, February 19, 2006


"Hortus" in Latin must be related to "huerta" in Spanish. Anyhow, along with the still peaking Montopolis and Bastrop narcissi, we have a mystery narcissus with one very long stem and a half-dozen very small and beautiful blossoms on it. Many Ice Follies are still opening, along with various unnamed flowers from long-ago Park Seed and White Flower cheap mystery mixes. We're into the second shade of blue hyacinth and seeing some pink ones. Avalanche and Grand Primo are opening. Now reblooming for the first time is an orange-yellow trailing nasturtium with brown splotches at the throat. The geraniums are loving all this. There's a slight haze of pink on one of the redbuds. We're seeing some of the poet's narcissus types (Actaea mostly). Lantanas, Turk's cap, asclepias, and chiles in pots are leafing out. When potatoes start to sprout they go outdoors and often produce new potatoes. The tops of the current outdoor plants have not liked this weather. We have two kinds of English peas ready to eat. The florist's anemones are all blue so far. White alliums are beginning to open.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blues mandolin

Around here the word "mandolin" calls to mind Sammy Allred. The second thing brought to mind is a rocking chair on which the grandmother of a childhood friend kept the guitar and also the mandolin that she had played as a young woman, the necks of both adorned with streaming faded ribbons. Then comes Ricky Skaggs. And this morning I played Fat Mandolin (Blue Horizon 7-63852, Johnny Young, with Otis Spann on piano) for the first time in a very long time. There's lots of presence here. The favorite tracks are Deal the Cards and a very good version of Victoria Spivey's Black Snake Blues. This album is definitely worth the listen. This seems to be a good discography.

Friday, February 17, 2006

You don't know

"You Don't Know My Mind" was made popular on Okeh in 1923 by Virginia Liston. Many have recorded this song, but even on repeated hearing I do like the version by Mississippi Joe Callicott (Presenting the Country Blues; Blue Horizon 7-63227). In fact, I've been playing this repeatedly. Virginia Liston's version is much less mournful, but it's understandable that it was a hit.

So sweet

Next up on the turntable is Blue Horizon 7-63851, Presenting the Country Blues: Larry Johnson. This is the Terence Ibbott lobster cover and seems to have been licensed from a label called Blue Soul. I just plain like this guy's voice. So Sweet and Cherry Red are both songs associated in my mind with Dave Van Ronk, also, although that may have been just in live sets; what completely different voices. Larry Johnson has a youthful Chuck Berry voice. On this page is the track list; side two is the really good one.

Magic blues

Blue Horizon 7-63223 is Magic Sam (1937-1969), reissued Cobra sessions from 1957 and 1958. He himself (Sam Maghett) is credited with most of the songs, including the oft-recorded Roll Your Moneymaker and Love Me with a Feeling.

Blues double dose, second spoonful

After listening to SPR-34, now it's SPR-31, of the Blue Horizon double-platter The Blues. Although this item is mentioned on line, there seem to be no track lists, so that's why they've been run down here, although without timings or other information, such as from what albums the tracks come. Side one: Fleetwood Mac (Rolling Man), Duster Bennett (Jumping at Shadows), Chicken Shack (What You Did Last Night), Eddie Boyd (The Blues Is Here to Stay), Gordon Smith (Driving Duck Blues), and Champion Jack Dupree (A Racehorse Called Mae); side two: Johnny Shines (Pipeline Blues), Fleetwood Mac (Long Grey Mare), Sunnyland Slim (Stella Mae), Chicken Shack (I Wanna See My Baby), Curtis Jones (Gee, Pretty Baby), and Fleetwood Mac (Shake Your Money Maker). On the second and third of the listings, the band is called Fleedwood Mac. There's still no reason for this outfit to have existed and it's success has ever been mystifying. Forget Duster Bennett and Chicken Shack, too (except for Christine Perfect, later Christine McVie, who stands right out). This album not only lists from what releases these tracks came; in most cases, it also lists all tracks on each of those releases. Besides being from CBS, Epic, Okeh (all CBS), and Blue Horizon, there is at least one from VJ, one from Beacon, and one from Milestone (Orrin Keepnews). Once again, Champion Jack Dupree is the beat-all showman here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blues double dose

This is a Blue Horizon double-LP album called The Blues that once included a poster, which I think was the earth seen from space, but maybe my recollection fails me. The numbers are SPR-31 and SPR-34. I inadvertently began on what's on the tri-fold cover called side 3 and on the center label marked as a side 1, and it's SPR 34. This is a very odd potpourri of material some of which comes from Blue Horizon via CBS and some of which is directly from CBS. This was pressed and distributed in Germany. The Johnny Winter (Be Careful with a Fool) derivative track could have been skipped. The 1928 Blind Lemon Jefferson track has not been remastered (Prison Cell Blues). John Lee Hooker is mesmerising as always from the first bar (Robo Blues). Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong certainly hold the attention, even with the oft-heard St. Louis Blues in a 1926 slow-drag version). I still enjoy Taj Mahal, even this minor effort (The Cuckoo). Then Ma Rainey is represented by the Deep Moaning Blues and Robert Johnson by the Terraplane Blues, both rightly famous. Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper are surprisingly fun to hear in a version of That's All Right from the Super Session Live album. Side 4 (or side two of SPR-34) brings a track from the Cheap Thrills album with a live feel of Janis Joplin doing Big Mama Thorton's Ball and Chain. Lightnin' Hopkins has always been a favorite but War Starting Again is a lesser effort. My response to Steamhammer is lukewarm (Junior's Wailing). The 1930 Son House track is Pearline. I love the Big Maybelle track (No More Trouble Out of Me); the sharp band is not credited. I see that in other Okeh sessions she's also someone who recorded One Monkey Don't Stop No Show (here's what seems to be a good discography for future reference). Driftin' Slim is sharp (Jackson Blues). Then this side ends up with an odd effort from that odd success Blood, Sweat & Tears (Blues Part II). This will be continued.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Generically blues

Blue Horizon 7-63221, Memphis Hot Shots: Bukka White, has lots of dust in the grooves, but I don't think I was ever the one who kept this on the turntable. The sound is at times muddy. And this is one of the least memorable Terence Ibbott Blue Horizon covers, not inspired at all compared with some of the more surrealistic results in this series.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Otis Spann Fleetwood Mac

This Blue Horizon 7-63217 (The Biggest Thing Since Colossus) is reissued from time to time more for the not-Otis-Spann personnel than for Otis Spann, but it should really be the other way around. This is night-time, big-city stuff

Monday, February 13, 2006


If anybody had even a passing thought that Austin's Harry Whittington would suffer the kind of mishap involved and that nobody would know about it, that person just plain doesn't know Austin, the most gossipy place on earth. There's plenty of news that doesn't appear in the local daily, but there's no news that isn't known to a circle of acquaintances, usually fairly large, because in Austin you may not know everybody or everything but the chances are excellent that you know people who know plenty about the people and things that you don't know about and rare is the person unwilling to send a juicy item on its way. The number of people in the shooting party is reported differently from source to source, but there seem to have been at least five: P. Willeford, H. Whittington, R. Cheney, K. Armstrong, and at least one person not named (is there another Armstrong sister?). That's not counting all the taxpayer-supplied Secret Service people, medical people, and the ambulance standing by and whatever hunt servants there may have been. Mr. Cheney is fortunate that it was a man, not a woman, and a peer or better and not a poor local person, and that he was using birdshot and not something more lethal There was a hospital transfer involved and also time in an intensive-care unit. There are jurisdictions where the hospital would have been required to report the incident to law-enforcement agencies and where sworn statements would have been required.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"You don't know my mind"

This is an old chestnut, but it leaves lots of room for improvising apart from the refrain. Most versions include "When you see me laughin' I'm laughin' just to keep from cryin'" and it fits lots of moods. My favorite tracks on this Blue Horizon recording (BH 7-63210) of the 1968 Memphis Country Blues Festival are the two infectious gospel songs by the Reverend Robert Wilkins and his two sons, especially "In Heaven, Sitting Down." I see that this material was also released on Sire Records, Seymour Stein's label. Perhaps Sire licensed it for the U.S. Stein is credited as the executive producer for the U.K. vinyl in my possession. As can be seen by going to the link from the album number, featured musicians in addition to the Reverend Wilkins include Nathan Beauregard, Bukka White, Furry Lewis, and Mississipi Joe Callicott.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My log-cabin birthplace

So it's not really a log cabin, and not really my birthplace. Although both parents were born at home (not this one; each in a different one), I was not. Zillow provides plenty of entertainment, now that it's up and running pretty well today. At an assessed value of $7,130 and a construction date of 1890, the house from which I went out into the world is the cheapest by about $100,000, and the oldest, and for those reasons the humblest, among the homeplaces of all assembled here at this time. I just want to go on the record about that.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Overnight results

By morning's light can be seen a half-dozen of the first Ice Follies, four deep-blue Dutch hyacinths on the oak motte (some years these aren't heard from at all; seldom are they the first hyacinths of any kind), yet another kind of poet's narcissus, with very long stems, very small flowers with a short, wide pointed perianth, many more of our Montopolis and Bastrop narcissi, and one old-fashioned single jonquil, which will probably be truly open by the end of the day. There are three varieties of left-over trailing nasturtium in pots; pale yellow, saffron, and an in-between shade that's doubled.

Furry blue vinyl

Furry Lewis was past the time when he should have been trying imitate the Singing Brakeman on Waiting for a Train. I like it that he says "Santa Fee," the old-fashioned way, instead of "Santa Fay" in the same way that the West Coast port used to be "San Peedro" and not "San Paydro" or in the same way in which old-time lawyers used old-style Latin, saying "pro see," for example, instead of "pro say." This is Blue Horizon 7-63228, Furry Lewis, Presenting the Country Blues, the one with the snarling fox taxidermy on the cover. This record has lots of pops on it. Here's the track list (scroll down). Voice not so great because of advanced years or not, the chops are still there and so's the expressive way with the lyrics of this collection of predominantly standards.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Every time it's time to stock up on Packer's Pine Tar Soap, the Vermont Country Store reliably has some if others don't, but every time it's owned by a new outfit. This time is no exception, but this time it appears that Packer's may be the sole brand. There are other pine-tar soaps out there, but not one is like Packer's. Packer's is good soap to take camping, because it truly does appear to have an insect-repellent effect. It also rinses very well and cleanly and doesn't scum up hair for those traveling light and without shampoo and using little water for purposes other than drinking. Packer's is good in the summer heat and humidity because it soothes the skin suffering from those conditions. Packer's is good in a high-altitude dry climate or in a dry Austin winter like this one. Packer's leaves no greasy residue. There's nothing like it and that must be why people still ask for it, even after 135 years.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

As often as possible

That's how often Consumer Reports in its current issue recommends buying the following ten items in their organic form, since, even after washing, those not organic have been shown consistently to carry much higher levels of pesticide residue: apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red raspberries, spinach, and strawberries. The local farmers have the very best potatoes, spinach, and bell peppers that a person could ever want. Right now, courtesy of the South Congress farmers' market, we've been feasting on the tastiest, sweetest, plumpest spinach, organic (and this is) or not that anybody could ever wish for.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The deaf and the blind

So no sooner was it determined that lack of useful vision required a home stay then the jackhammer fired up, just outside the house. On went the OSHA-approved ear-protectors and the very very dark glasses and out went I to see what was going on. Two poor subcontractors were blasting out the three anchor bolts holding down guy cables for a pole owned by the telephone company. They were subcontractors of a subcontractor and envied my ear protection, which isn't furnished to them and which they, judging by their ancient, worn equipment, aren't prepared to spring for. I begged them not to put one of those hideous kazillion-feet-tall yellow plastic sleeve warnings on the new stays. Nobody walks in that location, which is inacessible because of vegetation. They said they thought they had to do it in order to be in compliance with the terms of their contract but took a name and number and gave a name and number (the sub for which they were subs) and said they'd see what they could do. We find that there is a sleeve protector but that it has been cut short so as not to be visible from the house and also that the locking tag has been left unlocked. They were pleasant to talk with and wrote down for me what I couldn't see to write down for myself, and now we learn that they're sensible and understanding people in other ways as well.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Yo ho ho

"I stopped living when our love died and now I want to live again." This is a favorite from the album that Merle Haggard did with Bonnie Owens. In this case, the lyric would go, "I stopped living when that lens cracked and now I want to live again." So, sure, I can play blindman's bluff without the blindfold but the novelty's worn off. I've always been in practice for being blind anyhow since I so nearly am, without assistance. That's why the little bumps are on the computer keyboard, so the person at the keyboard can find the home keys without looking.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

All the way from Bastrop in a paper bag

These are at their peak for the first group of stalks. They scent the air and draw clouds of honeybees. Every year they multiply. We're seeing bud stalks on the Ice Follies out front from which somebody steals blooms nearly every Valentine's Day, so they appear to be right on schedule. Nearly everything grows scattered in the lawn and looks beautiful standing out green against the dormant grass.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


The package of forms and publications ordered from the IRS and sent by UPS instead of the Postal Service lacked the most wanted forms and publications, including the all-important Publication 17, which includes every bit of information for the non-business side of filing. For some missing publications the information provided is that they will be shipped later; for others, that they're temporarily out of print. This appears to be a case of deliberate under-supply and also yet another instance of out-sourcing to the customer or person being served, akin to checking out your own groceries. Instead of having information delivered to the door, we're expected to pay for photocopying it or downloading and printing it (don't anybody talk about paperless information; for a literate person there's no substitute for paper and it's much, much faster to skim it than to search screens and wait for them to load and to be able to view one or smaller and smaller parts of additional pages as they're cascaded or tiled). Perhaps this is an exercise in driving people to paid tax-preparation services and discouraging them from preparing their returns themselves or being able to help others to do so.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Blue Horizon B.B. 2

Now that I find the B.B. King Story Chapter Two, BH 7-63226, I see that there are fuller session notes, ones that include volume one. Even the vocalists receive credit. The producer for these sessions was Joe Bihari. In fact, the liner notes say: "Chapter One . . . was intended to serve as a basis for further releases in the series. For this reason, little attention was paid to discographical or biographical data." The publishing credits are varied this time around. The first album is from the early 'fifties on to the middle of the decade for the most part; the tracks on this album date from 1960 and 1961. Volume two has never received as much play as volume one. But now, except for Sneakin' Around, for the most part I enjoy this album more. At times it's very jazzy, with sheets of sound. One of the tracks is a Lousiana-style rhumba and Clarence "Frogman" Henry probably used it for the Frog song (or B.B. King used Clarence Henry's song). This is not daytime music, any of it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Blue Horizon B.B. 1

These are Kent recordings remastered for stereo, BH 7-63216. This is called The B.B. King Story Chapter One. I find no information about the sidemen. I've always loved the Sneakin' Around with the doo-wop chorus and brass. More and more sites post the covers of this series on line. The music is all credited to Modern or Sparta (the Biharis?). Terence Ibbott has the photo credit on most of these.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Curb appeal

What are the magical properties of little landscape beds encircled by chunks of limestone and filled with some sort of bark mulch in a reddish hue? Before the "for sale" sign appears these are two very good predictors that an Austin property is about to go on the market.