Friday, January 31, 2014


from the FictionMags Index:

HAYS, LEE (1914-1981) (chron.)

I started reading, in what's turned out to be a very busy week, Doris Willens's biography of Lee Hays, with no precognition that it would be the week we'd lose Pete Seeger, Hays's longest-term collaborator in such projects as the Almanac Singers, People's Songs and, of course, the Weavers...they also wrote together, most famously "The Hammer Song" or "If I Had a Hammer"...a modest success in the Weavers' recording but one of their most commonly covered songs, and among the biggest hits Peter, Paul and Mary, and Trini Lopez, would have.  The nephew of Vance Randolph (the folklore collector who published notable collections of Ozark Mountains-dwellers and others' stories and songs beginning with The Ozarks, 1931), Hays faced early tragedy (in Hays' teen years, his father died in an auto accident, leading his mother to retreat from reality and be institutionalized; Hays began the first of many periods of couch-surfing, mostly with siblings, one of whom got him a library job which led indirectly to his radicalization and lifelong interest in social justice issues and activism).  Hays would spend most of the rest of his life trying to overcome his own emotional baggage as well as the very real sorts of threat that his fellow Southerners, among other sorts of yahoo very much including the Red-baiters of the turn of the 1950s, could pose; meanwhile, he would throw off sparks in all sorts of ways, in writing dialect-heavy short stories for Fredric Dannay and Robert P. Mills at EQMM and Bestseller Mystery when the mood struck him, in his various organizational activities around folk music and otherwise (in the mid-'50s doldrums after the blacklisting had temporarily sidelined the Weavers, Hays recruited his biographer, Doris Willens, then Doris Kaplan, a new mother and temporarily on maternity leave from a journalism career, and actor/writer/musician Alan Arkin and members of Arkin's family to become the Baby Sitters, who would record at least four albums-worth of folk music, including their own compositions, for children), and yet, as Willens notes, he never did get around to writing the autobiography he easily could have, and as Seeger would repeatedly note, his old bandmate would consistently badger Hays into one project or another after the latter's retirement from performance, including writing the script for the documentary The Weavers: Wasn't That a Time!  

What a person can accomplish while waiting, sometimes rather irritably, for other things to happen, is one of the lessons of this book and Hays's life...the points should be taken. And Hays's stories about the villainous (or at least severely mischievous and arguably justified) Opal (the boy) and Sam (the girl) should be read...the example linked to above is short and eminently worth reading, particularly for those looking for something somewhere between Walt Kelly and James Lee Burke in appeal...

For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.
Not one of George Salter's better efforts among EQMM covers. Pity Hays's debut as a
fiction-writer had to take place in an issue packed with such obscure fellow-contributors..

Hays, Kaplan/Willens, and the Arkins/Dana with some fellow-travelers.

The Weavers: "Lonesome Traveler"
Composed by Lee Hays, who sings lead. The Decca Records recording with the Gordon Jenkins chorus and orchestra.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January's Underappreciated Music: The Links (Pete Seeger memorial edition)

Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger
The monthly assembly of undervalued and often nearly "lost" music, or simply music the blogger in question wants to remind you reader/listeners of....and sparing a thought for the family and friends of Pete Seeger.

Patti Abbott: Tuesday Night Music; Friday Night Music; Saturday Night Music; Kurt Weill songs; Opening Credits and Theme Songs

Brian Arnold: The Monkees featuring Neil Young: "You and I"

Bill Crider: Song of the Day; Pete Seeger

The Weavers: the early performance promo films 

Jeff Gemmill: Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet: Under the Covers

Lee Hartsfeld: "Christ is King" (1908 hymn)

Jerry House: Eric Von Schmidt; Pete Seeger; Hymn Time 

Doc Watson, Pete Seeger, Sweet Honey In The Rock, The Little Red School House Chorus: "This Land Is Your Land"

Randy Johnson: Motorhead: "Whorehouse Blues"

George Kelley: Boston: Life, Hope and Love; Sharon Jones and Dap-Kings: Give the People What They Want

Evan Lewis: Fess Parker: "The Ballad of Kit Carson"

Fred Hellerman and Pete Seeger: "The Frozen Logger"

Todd Mason: Pete Seeger; some Third Stream music; some jazz vocalists (and some organists); King Day Music Club; some 1960s Continental European television of British, US and Brazilian rock (and some Ace of Cups [and Abbey Lincoln] and Luv'd Ones to go with Fanny);  "Mbube">"Wimoweh">"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

Lawrence Person: Shoegazer Sunday

D. B. Reilly: "Untie Me"

Charlie Ricci: The Saw Doctors: New Year's Day Deodato: Prelude; D. B. Reilly: Cross My Heart + Hope to Die

Kelly Robinson: Quincy Jones: "Ironside"

Chuck Rothman: John B. Sebastian  (courtesy Bill Crider)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger

The Almanac Singers: "Which Side Are You On?"

The Weavers: "Follow the Drinking Gourd"

The version without Lee Hays's introduction, and with the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra

The Weavers: "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena"

The Weavers: "If I Had a Hammer"

The Weavers: "Banks of Marble"

Pete Seeger: "Buffalo Skinners"

Pete Seeger and the New Lost City Ramblers (the Seeger Brothers): "Ragtime Annie" Medley on PS's tv series Rainbow Quest

Pete Seeger and Johnny Cash: "Worried Man Blues"; "Cripple Creek"

Pete Seeger: "Quite Early Morning"

Pete Seeger, Toshi Seeger and the Weavers on this blog.

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the links

The Tenth Victim
Here are this week's set of links to reviews and citations. Thanks, as always, folks...and please let me know if I've missed your or someone else's Overlooked post in comments. The enigmatic doubletap this week goes to Russ Meyer's version of Fanny Hill, of all things, and perhaps not altogether unrelated is that this might be the heaviest set of negative reviews we've had so far, at least in terms of ratio to the positive. I think I might have to start jumping in and adding some reviews by me of the worthwhile.

Bill Crider: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother [trailer]

Brian Arnold: Early Edition;  Hot Wheels; Super President; Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Brian Busby: Intent to Kill

David Vineyard: Max Reacher

BV Lawson: Media Murder 

Cat People
Ed Gorman (and Mark Evanier): The Tonight Show follies

Ed Lynskey: The Hatchet Man

Elizabeth Foxwell: Suspense: "Woman in Love" (1952 television; story by Geoffrey Household, featuring Paul Newman)

Evan Lewis: Man of Steel

George Kelley: Cat People (1982 film) blu-ray release

Heather Drain: Fanny Hill (1964 film)

Ain't Them Bodies Saints
How Did This Get Made?: Mortal Kombat (the Ascetic Shopper touches on MK...)

Iba Dawson: 2013 in Review

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Isis

Jackie Kashian: Judah Friedlander on Ping Pong; Kevin Seccia on boxing and MMA

Jake Hinkson: Too Late for Tears

James Reasoner: Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Jerry House: Rainbow Quest and other video from Pete Seeger, RIP

***PBS will be feeding a repeat of the American Masters episode "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" on Saturday, for stations to schedule at convenience. Faithful affiliates to the HD feeds will have it at 8p ET/PT.

John Charles: The Weird Ones

Kate Laity: Only Lovers Left Alive

Kliph Nesteroff: Insight: "Exit" (with Albert Einstein/Brooks); Life Begins in College

Laura: One Mysterious Night; Allotment Wives; The World Was His Jury

Lucy Brown: Carnival Boat

Martin Edwards: From Hell (2001 film adaptation)

Blood Simple
Marty McKee: Tales of the Third Dimension; The Woman Hunt 

Mystery Dave: Mr. Bean's Holiday

Patti Abbott: Blood Simple; Get Shorty

Rick: 5 Card Stud; Rehearsal for Murder; Catherine Mary Stuart

Rod Lott: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; Lady Cocoa; Fanny Hill (1964 film)

Ron Scheer: Hombre

Scott Cupp: Drew: The Man Behind the Posters

Sergio Angelini: The Tenth Victim (1966 film); X Minus 1: "The Seventh Victim"

Stacia Jones: The Truth About Emanuel

Stephen Bowie: Ralph Woolsey, ASC

Steve Lewis: The Parson and the Outlaw; The Big Heat

Zybahn/Frank: The 4400: "The Home Front"

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Music Club: Some 3rd Stream Music: Mingus & Dolphy, Macero, Lee & Blake, Hamilton, Prince, MJQ & Almeida, Amram & D'Rivera, Quavaria

Charles Mingus Sextet: "So Long, Eric"

Teo Macero and His Orchestra: "Neally"

Jeanne Lee and Ran Blake: "Vanguard"

Chico Hamilton Quintet: "The Wind"

Bob Prince and His Orchestra: "Ground Base"

The Modern Jazz Quartet and Laurindo Almeida: "Fugue in A Minor"

David Amram and Paquito D'Rivera et al.: "Waltz from After the Fall"

Quavaria: "Cendrillon et la moine: A Fugue on a Theme from Thelonious Monk's 'Round 'Midnight'"

Friday, January 24, 2014

FFB: Helen Hoke, Seon Manley and Gogo Lewis, Michel Parry, Hugh Lamb and Some Other anthologists of my early reading...

While I've written a fair amount about magazine editors, and such (and sometimes Also*) anthology editors as Robert Arthur* and Barry Malzberg*, Ellen Datlow* and Jerome Charyn, Betty M. Owen and Dwight Macdonald*, Bill Pronzini and Joe Lansdale, Gerald W. Page* and Nelson Algren, Henry Mazzeo and Judith Merril, Jessica Amanda Salmonson* and Harold Q. Masur, Marcia Muller and Ann VanderMeer*, Harlan Ellison* and Robert Silverberg, I haven't yet touched much or at all upon at least five anthologists important to my early reading: Helen Hoke, (Ms. and Ms.) Seon Manley and Gogo Lewis (names that are hard to forget), Michel Parry, and Hugh Lamb--all of whom contributed to the enjoyment of horror and suspense fiction, and more. 

Helen Hoke might've been the most prolific producer of anthologies, particularly for young readers, among this handful, but not by much. She did have a long (and trans-Atlantic) career as a writer and editor, as her 1990 New York Times obituary notes, 

In the late 1930's, Ms. Hoke inaugurated and managed children's book departments at several publishing houses, including Henry Holt, Reynal & Hitchcock and Julian Messer. In the 1940's, Ms. Hoke, whose first marriage, to John Hoke, had ended in divorce, married Franklin Watts, founder the New York publishing company that bears his name. She became the company's vice president and director of international projects.

She would go on to collaborate on at least one book each with one of her sons and one of her grandsons. And she didn't restrict herself too much...along with such titles as Monsters Monsters Monsters and Jokes Jokes Jokes, she also offered both Nurses Nurses Nurses and Doctors Doctors Doctors, which mixed short stories with essays and autobiographical excerpts.

But it was her horror and humor anthologies and compilations that I remember, particularly the former...she relied mostly on chestnuts, but intelligently arrayed, and for young readers, this isn't the worst strategy. From ISFDb: 

...and so, I missed the preponderance of her work in the horror and fantasy fields, having left behind the younger-readers' sections of libraries by 1976, but I do remember the early volumes well, with their often rather uninspired covers, but usually interesting content (ISFDb, again):

Weirdies (aka Weirdies Weirdies Weirdies): 

  • 9 • A Creature Imagined (excerpt) • shortfiction by C. S. Lewis
  • 11 • The Cocoon • (1946) • shortstory by John B. L. Goodwin
  • 35 • The Hair • (1928) • shortstory by A. J. Alan
  • 47 • The Brown Hand • (1899) • shortstory by Arthur Conan Doyle (variant of The Story of the Brown Hand) [as by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ]
  • 67 • The Nightmare Lake • (1919) • poem by H. P. Lovecraft
  • 70 • Mrs. Manifold • (1949) • shortstory by August Derleth [as by Stephen Grendon ]
  • 86 • The Ancient Track • (1930) • poem by H. P. Lovecraft
  • 88 • The Monster of Baylock • shortstory by F. H. Lee
  • 94 • Phase Two (excerpt) • shortfiction by John Wyndham
  • 109 • The Night Crawlers • poem by H. P. Lovecraft
  • 110 • The Howler • [Fungi from Yuggoth • 12] • (1932) • poem by H. P. Lovecraft
  • 112 • A Crossbreed • shortstory by Franz Kafka (trans. of Eine Kreuzung 1931)
  • 116 • The Mansions of the Dead • (1965) • poem by Robert Blair
  • 117 • Hallowe'en in a Suburb • (1926) • poem by H. P. Lovecraft
  • 119 • The Quest for Blank Claveringi • (1967) • shortstory by Patricia Highsmith
  • 138 • Wentworth's Day • (1957) • shortstory by H. P. Lovecraft and August Derleth
  • 153 • The Shark-Man Nanaue • shortstory by E. M. Nakuina
  • 164 • The Monster (excerpt) • shortfiction by Edmund Spenser
  • 167 • The Upper Berth • (1885) • novelette by F. Marion Crawford
  • 192 • What Was It? • (1859) • shortstory by Fitz-James O'Brien
  • 211 • It • (1940) • novelette by Theodore Sturgeon
  • My first encounters with at least some of this work, and not mine alone...

    Seon Manley and Gogo Lewis in their turn didn't specialize as thoroughly in books for younger readers, but mixed their bags sufficiently that some librarians probably put a few aimed more at adults in the juvenile sections...when such things happened where I could see them in the early '70s, my feeling were rarely bruised:

    ISFDb, unsurprisingly, doesn't choose to list their criminous anthologies, of which there were a few, and such outliers as Cat Encounters: A Cat-Lover's Anthology or the nonfiction anthology Polar Secrets.  As WorldCat notes, this couple could turn in an impressive (and feminist, particularly given the ironic subtitling) compilation of crime-fiction, as well:

    (New York, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1973.)
    Sayers, D. L. The leopard lady.--
    Nesbit, E. The head.--
    Dickens, M. To reach the sea.--
    De la Torre, L. Goodbye Miss Lizzie Borden.--
    Meade, L. T. and Eustace, R. Madame Sara.--
    Bowen, M. Cambric tea.--
    Spofford, H. P. The ray of displacement.--
    Rice, J. The willow tree.--
    Biographical notes.

    ...the Edward Gorey covers, when they occurred, never hurt a bit.

    An earlier example:

    Suspense: A Treasury for Young Adults
    New York : Funk & Wagnalls, ©1966.

    Miss Phipps Improvises / Phyllis Bentley --
    The Signalman / Charles Dickens --
    The Gloria Scott / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle --
    The Symbolic logic of murder / John Reese --
    The sleepwaker : Lady Macbeth / William Shakespeare --
    The Macbeth Murder Mystery --
    A Tale of the Ragged Mountains --
    The Ghost-Extinguisher / Gelett Burgess --
    Tobermory Saki (H.H. Munro) --
    A Terribly strange bed / Wilkie Collins. Stepping westward / William Wordstorth --
    A Charm / John Dryden --
    For though the caves were rabbited / Henry David Thoreau --
    The Witch's whelp / Richard Henry Stoddard --
    The Night-wind / Emily Bronte --
    After I shot the albatross / Samuel Taylor Coleridge --
    Song of the mermaids / George Darley --
    The Indian burial ground / Philip Freneau --
    The Witch's ballad / William Bell Scott --
    The Haunted palace / Edgar Allan Poe --
    Hymn of Pan / Percy Bysshe Shelley --
    Phantom / Samuel Taylor Coleridge --
    Proserpine / Algernon Charles Swinburne. The Lotus-eaters / Alfred Lord Tennyson --
    Dream-Pedlary / Thomas Lovel Beddoes --
    Darkness / George Gordon, Lord Byron --
    The Story of a conscience / Ambrose Bierce --
    The Dressmaker's doll / Agatha Christie --
    My queer dean / Ellery Queen --
    How I wrote Frankenstein/Mary Shelley --
    Frankenstein's monster / Mary Shelley --
    Rappaccini's daughter / Nathaniel Hawthorne --
    The Trail of the catfish \ Allen Lang --
    The Haunted space suit / Arthur C. Clarke --
    Your world of suspense / Seon Manley and Gogo Lewis.

    It's remarkable how poorly Parry's
    books were packaged in the UK;
    ...this is the least-bad UK cover
    I see among web images...
    Michel Parry, as his name might suggest, probably didn't begin speaking in English first (he was born in Belgium)...and, as his list demonstrates, didn't by any means restrict himself to YA anthologies. But that didn't stop him from putting together excellent books that were both slotted and collected for the young readers that included me in my youth:

    Anthology Series
    ...albeit an X certificate on films in the UK was likely to be handed to any sort of horror film, at least until the 1970s, whether with Hammer-style sexuality or not. Beware of the Cat was a fine start, if obviously missing a Fritz Leiber story:
    US editions rather better, on balance.
    I definitely would've appreciated seeing the Mayflower Books series as they were being it happens, I still haven't. No US editions aside from the first, I gather.

    And that first was from Taplinger, which also did a number of the anthologies of Hugh Lamb, whom (when first encountering his books ca. 1976) I rather inexactly used to think of as a sort of protege of Peter Haining, given that Haining's books seemed more numerous, in similar editions frequently, and he would pop into the odd Lamb anthology to provide a guest introduction. But while there were similarities in the compilations, Lamb was even more an assiduous scholar than Haining, digging out lost stories (most famously an M. R. James, early in his career) and generally going even wider into stories which were less-traditional horror and more bizarre psychological studies, for his anthologies of the weird...

    My first Lamb, I believe, was A Wave of Fear...Lamb, more than any other editor, introduced me to the brothers' works, the Other Bensons, alongside the brilliant horrors of E. F. Benson (best remembered in the '70s and perhaps now for his relatively sunny comedy of manners novels about Mapp and Lucia).

    For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.