Friday, February 29, 2008

Charles Folkard's 'Alice In Wonderland' illustrations, 1921

These are some images from an old copy of 'Songs From Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass' that had belonged to my mother when she was a girl.
(Alas, a few of the book plates have gone missing)

Lewis Carroll's verse was set to music by English folk-song historian Lucy Etheldred Broadwood.

Some notes on British illustrator Charles James Folkard (1878 – 1963):

"He worked for some time as a conjuror after attending a show at the
‘Egyptian Hall’ in London. He was a prolific illustrator of children’s books as he started in his teenage years and continued through to his late 70’s.

"He was responsible for a cartoon character, Teddy Tail, which ran in the Daily Mail newspapers for many decades and was loved by its readers.

"He is well known for his work on the ‘Arabian Nights’ Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Jackdaw of Rheims, Aesop’s Fables and Pinocchio."

(Eat Me: click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)

(Eat Me: click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)

For more Charles Folkard, see also:
- SurLaLune Fairy Tales Illustration Gallery

- Books Illustrated Ltd

- For a wide array of artists interpretations of Lewis Carroll's world, follow link to:
'Alice Illustrations other than Tenniel' at Hugo Strikes Back!

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 02/29/08

Happy Leap Day!
Maintaining its quadrennial appearance, February 29th has long been a curious bit of time keeping.

But then, when you get right down to it, the reckoning of 'time' (something of an abstract concept itself) has always been a curious procedure as well...

... Here: Clicking on this link *should* take you to a Google Book page for George Carlin's 'Napalm & Silly Putty'.

UPDATE: Nope, The Google Books excerpt is gone, but you can hear George read the same passage ('Have A Good Time') at YouTube.

I've always found George's little dissertation on time (and the tracking thereof) entertaining, enlightening, and comforting, too. Maybe you'll feel the same...

...Meanwhile (?), Happy Birthday to some folks who were dealt fewer of them than most of us, like:

Composer Gioacchino Rossini, film director William A. Wellman, big band leader Jimmy Dorsey, crooners Dinah Shore and Ja Rule, ecdysiast Tempest Storm, actors Alex Rocco AND Dennis Farina (not exactly sure why I find it so interesting those two share a birthday), and - - oh, yeah - - according to comic book lore; Superman.

Some other noted items from this past week - -

1. In their recent passings, we're given another opportunity to recognize and appreciate the achievements of innovative record producer Teo Macero, funky drummer/vocalist/songwriter
Buddy Miles, and lead singer of The Dave Clark Five, Mike Smith.

When famous folk manage to die within a few days of each other, like it or not I can't help but conjure up an image from Albert Brooks' movie 'Defending Your Life'.

I always picture the departed riding together on one of the passenger trams towards their next destination in the afterlife, and I wonder about the conversations they might share.

If we also include William F. Buckley Jr. and Ben Chapman (the film actor who portrayed 'The Creature From The Black Lagoon') on that tram ride, I reckon that it could be an interesting discussion indeed.

2. A couple of comic art repurposings that fill me with glee...!

a- The ongoing New Yorker Cartoon Anti-Caption Contest, at - - soliciting submissions for the worst possible captions for New Yorker cartoons.

b- Garfield Minus Garfield. Oh. My. God.

"Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?"
Absolutely freaking BRILLIANT. (via me[three]dia = Andrew Huff)

3. Speaking of comics, my pal (and old funny-book safari partner) Joe Sixpack was kind enough to send a scan of a totally boss vintage Archie cover he found while on the hunt at last weekend's Wondercon in San Francisco...

Thanks, Dude!

He's introduced the world of the Riverdale crowd to his supercool daughter,
Li'l Sophie Sixpack, so he *says* he was really searching for comics for *her* to enjoy...

- -sigh- - The justifications of a true collector nerd come so easily sometimes...

4. Totally Amazing Posters!

- - And they are. Almost 300 vintage European advertising images laid out in one simply eye-dazzling page.

It can be found at illustrator, designer, & author
Bob Staake's website, which I found via the fascinating blog site, Made in England by Gentlemen.

5. I'll guess this has already been reported on to death, but it still gives me a big smile.

Truly a flamboyant performer, I've always enjoyed watching Gary Busey ⬇ in action.

- - And so it was a treat to see the footage of Busey meeting and greeting on his red carpet cruise at last Sunday's Oscar ceremonies.

6. Always a favorite (and nice to see others feel the same way), some of illustrator Boris Artzybasheff's vintage advertising art has been making the rounds again, this time over at Bedazzled.

These Shell Oil ads ⬇ originally saw print in 1951.

"Your engine makes this much acid every day." Indeed.

There's plenty of Artzybasheff eye candy to be seen at American Art Archives.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

78s fRom HeLL: John Kirby and Orchestra on the Asch label, circa 1945

Jazz bassist and bandleader John Kirby had come up through Fletcher Henderson and Chick Webb's big bands in the 1930's.

He founded his own tightly swinging sextet around 1937.
With original trumpeter Charlie Shavers, that group had great success into the early 1940's.

Several personnel changes occurred during the course of
World War II. 1945 found Kirby leading a septet with only himself and clarinetist Buster Bailey remaining from the original lineup.

That year also found him recording with a new label.
Within the next couple of years, Asch records would transform
into the legendary Folkways Records label.

Personnel on these tracks:

John Kirby - bass
Emmett Berry - trumpet
Roger "Ram" Ramirez - piano
Bill Beason - drums
Buster Bailey - clarinet
Budd Johnson - tenor sax
George Johnson - alto sax

Listen to:
John Kirby and Orchestra -
K.C. Caboose

(Asch Records 78, circa 1945)
(click for audio)

Listen to:
John Kirby and Orchestra -
J.K. Special

(Asch Records 78, circa 1945)
(click for audio)

Listen to:
John Kirby and Orchestra -
920 Special

(Asch Records 78, circa 1945)
(click for audio)

Listen to:
John Kirby and Orchestra -
Maxine Dengoza

(Asch Records 78, circa 1945)
(click for audio)

- More info about these sessions can be found at an AllMusic.Com review of a
(sadly! now out-of-print) Kirby retrospective CD released by the Classics label.

Borden's Pimento Cheese Spread print ad, 1962

(click on image to ENLARGE in a new window)

Mmm - mmm - MM!

Now that's some kinda fine 'n' creamy constipatin' goodness!

Sorry - - It just looks sorta foul to me.
Processed cheez with little bits of whatever plucked from some nightmarish fruitcake.
(No, seriously, I'm sure the pineapple-flavored was yummy)

The scary part is that other than the presentation, it's not one bit less foul than some of the packaged 'foodstuffs' you can find today - - and they probably don't give you a handsome drinking glass in the bargain!

Actually, the scariest part is that there have been plenty of times in my life when I could easily go through a 5-ounce 'hostess pretty' jar of muck like this in one quick sitting.

With or without something on which to spread it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Jeri Southern - The Touch of Love b/w You're Gonna Flip Mom (1957)

Jazz and pop singer Jeri Southern was at the height of her popularity in the 1950's around the time of this release.

She had a distinctively beautiful voice well suited to 'torchy' or languorous tunes.

The A-side of this scratchy old 45, used as "The Love Theme From The Paramount Picture 'The Devil's Hairpin'" was written by Ross Bagdasarian (a.k.a. David Seville) who also had a supporting role in the film.

'The Touch of Love' was released about 6 years following Bagdasarian's success with his composition
'Come on-a My House', and about 2 years prior to his
enormous good fortune with singing chipmunks.

Listen to:
Jeri Southern (with Orchestra directed by
Gus Levene) - The Touch of Love

Decca 45, 1957

(click for audio)

- - But it's the B-side that deserves more attention - - A gentle jab at the hep
mid-1950's patois of the American teenager.

Listen to:
Jeri Southern (with Orchestra directed by
Pete Rugolo) - You're Gonna Flip Mom

Decca 45, 1957
(click for audio)

See also:
- A 1958 Southern LP on the Roulette label, 'Coffee, Cigarettes & Memories', archived at Singin' & Swingin'

- 'Our friend, Mister Comma', a blog rant about the absence of correct punctuation in the 'Flip' side's song title, plus further song data and postulations, at People vs. Dr. Chilledair

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fern Bisel Peat book illustrations from Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'Tanglewood Tales' (1930)

Nathaniel Hawthorne's book 'Tanglewood Tales' presented versions of classic Greek myths re-written for children.

First published in 1853 (three years after 'The Scarlet Letter'), it was a follow-up to his 'Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys'.

These illustrations are from a 1930 edition printed by Saalfield Publishing.

There are several online sites that feature the full text from 'Tanglewood Tales'.

- Follow this link to text from an 1889 version available at The Baldwin Project, that features illustrations by George Wharton Edwards

There's not too much information readily available regarding illustrator Fern Bisel Peat.

Her work appeared in books and magazines, as well as on puzzles and children's toys.

It would appear that her most prolific years were in the 1930's and '40's.

For more examples of Fern Bisel Peat's work, follow links to:
- A brief mention in reference to some 1942 illustrations for 'Children's Playmate' magazine, at a Smithsonian online exhibit.

- 'Susie Cat'; a Peat kitty-cat cut-out from 'Children's Playmate'

- Excerpts from 1930's nature books by Frank North Shankland, with Fern Bisel Peat illustrations, from Seven Pillars Book Nook.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Juke Joint Blues (various artists, circa 1948 - 1959)

This LP has been in the collection for ages, an album that's just steeped in cool.
It's one of those great comps released in the very early '70's, showcasing an obscure array of delightfully dusty old blues...

- Click here to read back cover liner notes, enlarged in a new window

The Blues Classics record label was established in 1964 as a re-issue subsidiary of Arhoolie Records, the Berkeley, California-based 'roots and folk' label.

See also:
Chris Strachwitz and the Arhoolie Story


'Juke Joint Blues'
(Blues Classics compilation LP, circa 1970),
Listen to:

1. Eddie Burns & John T. Smith - Bad Woman Blues (c. 1948)

2. Ernest 'Buddy' Lewis - Lonesome Bedroom (c. 1952)

3. Harvey Hill Jr. - She Fooled Me (c. 1952)

4. Mr. Honey (David Edwards) - Build A Cave (c. 1951)

5. L.C. Williams w/ Lightning Hopkins - The Lazy J (c. 1951)

6. Lightning Leon - Reposession Blues (c. 1959)

7. Alvin Smith - On My Way (c. 1954)

8. Dr. Hepcat (Lavada Durst) - Hattie Green (c. 1949)

9. Sonny Boy Holmes - The $64 Question (c. 1952)

10. Arthur 'Big Boy' Spires - Which One Do I Love (c. 1953)

11. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee - Harmonica Train (c. 1952)

12. Sonny Boy Holmes - TNT Woman (c. 1952)

13. Jimmy Wilson w/ Lafayette Thomas - Trouble, Trouble (c. 1953)

14. Square Walton w/ Sonny Terry - Bad Hangover (c. 1953)

(click for audio)

- - OR download all 14 tracks in one 37.3 Mb zipfile.

Freshly-stirred links