All these examples, I believe, were published by the Ceagee publishing company in the 1940's, although none have publisher imprints or dates. The same size and format of the famous Tijuana Bibles (or 8-pagers as they were also known) they contain dirty jokes and racist humor, but of a more gentile nature than the X-rated ones. They each have something of a formula...a gentle racist joke, a gentle "boner" joke, a "whoopsie" of some type, maybe a effeminate man in some situation, some women conspiring to get a fur coat and of course, the housewife home alone and a plumber. Each page has an illustration, but many are blurry and appear to have been handed down and passed around before, so the print bleeds and some are virtually indecipherable. Some have been cribbed and a new punch line typed in. Curious little giggles probably traded at drinking establishments, carnivals and such.
Group of Ceagee Publications, circa 1935-1935. Collection Jim Linderman
Dull Tool Dim Bulb will receive hit number 100,000 today though I only added the counter in August 2009. The figure includes all my sleazy sites as well, but STILL! I am amazed. This site started one year ago to occupy my time while my first book/cd project was being printed by the good folks at Dust-to-Digital. The book, Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950 is something I am very proud of. The institution the original photographs were donated to will announce an exhibition soon.
You can read the reviews. In fact, this week I read one in DUTCH. They are all, I am also proud to say, great. If great reviews were coins, we would all be shaking our hips like Shakira at the American Music Awards. Not being available at your local Barnes and Noble, you'll have to click it on home. Needless to say, it will make an outstanding Christmas present, as will any of the discs at D to D. Don't expect to see my publisher's house on MTV Cribs anytime soon, this is most certainly, as they say, love labor... but I can promise anyone who receives the book will not re-gift. It is a keeper.
"THEIR CLOTHES DRIPPING AFTER THEIR BAPTISM IN THE OPEN AIR RESERVOIR IN THE HILLS NEAR HERE, MR. AND MRS. HOWARD MCGEE AND HUGGED BY THEIR THREE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, PEGGY, AS THEY EMERGE FROM THE POOL. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE DEEP SOUTH, THE BAPTISM WAS HELD IN THE OPEN AIR UNDER FLOODLIGHTS. THIRTY-ONE "APPLICANTS" WERE DUCKED"
Original Press Photograph, 1938. Collection Jim Linderman
"Pet refuses to leave Master's bier; derrick Needed to Lower Coffin" 1922
Captain George Auger Cabinet Card by Frank Wendt, circa 1890 and attached newspaper clip, Collection Jim Linderman (To be posted on the circus sideshow photographer site Wondrous World of Frank Wendt as well)
Get your Christmas Shopping Done early. ALL of my books were published this year and all were small press books, so none of your friends have pawed them at Barnes and Noble. Surprise them! Preview and read reviews at each click. Thanks.
The LP cover was the perfect medium for a visual artist. A 12" x 12" square one could fill with anything. It had a good run. Some of the images are so ingrained, I carry them upstairs all the time, though haven't owned an LP or record player for years. Sticky Fingers by Warhol. Talking Heads by Rauschenberg. The Richard Pettibon covers for Black Flag and the Minutemen. "What makes a man start fires" indeed.
Susan Archie is one artist who has been able to bring both classic and innovative esthetics to the music package. Despite dropping sales and the invisible format of the download, she has designed some of the most beautiful artistic objects you can imagine, and they often come in a 5" x 5" size! I once thought the CD was too small for art..I was wrong. I'll be wrong about the 2" x 2" screen of a handheld one day too.
Here are examples of Susan's work from the last few years. They are usually thick and juicy as well, a richness I can not show with a scanner... she specializes in packages, not just covers, and the damn feel of her product (a word I hesitate to use as they are so beautiful) makes everything she does just about the least expensive piece of serious art one can buy. It is difficult to be both pure and lush, her work manages to be both. She will jam in content and information, but still present a minimal beauty that is capable of creating awe. I have not asked Susan or the labels who have hired her for permission to use these images, nor do I have the time to list all their details. I am sure she would choose others, since she also manages to be prolific, thankfully...but if there is a way to search her name you can purchase ANYTHING and I do not exaggerate. I grabbed a few here, ignore the wear. They are among the most played discs in the house.
Is the CD gone? Actually this is the glory days. I'll let you all in on a little secret too...for collectors, the most rare and valuable items are always produced in the last days of a format change. As many of the small presses and labels Ms. Archie chooses to work with press in small quantities, there won't be enough to go around in the future...and believe me, she will have a museum show one day. These images from my rack don't even BEGIN to show what she has done and what she is capable of. The music too is above reproach, she has taste AND taste!
Susan's WEBSITE is here, She should crow louder than she does. I am linking as well to her testimonial page here so you can see some of her achievements. I don't know where there is a complete discography of her work, but the one HERE will give you an indication (and buying list) Her work is consistently beautiful and that she chooses to work in a small format is no indication of her giant talent, plus when I think of her I always smile.
Light posts today, it being Mad travel day, which ended for me the day I left Times Square, thank heavens. Boy, I used to hate going to Grand Central on holidays. All I need to do now is take the medicine and drive over to see the folks. No one is going to SEE this post, however, for artists, consistency is THE virtue, so here you go, my daily post.
Untitled (Three Clowns) Anonymous circus snapshot, circa 1955. Collection Jim Linderman
In the 1960's, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia was dumpster-diving and made a remarkable find. A scrapbook consisting of dozens of pages of the female form (in stockings) which had been carefully assembled into a fetish object of considerable girth! With 80 pages, and despite decay, the student saved the packet for decades. They have now been published in a book which is itself a little work of art. Our anonymous artist would be proud, though his family, who likely tossed the originals hoping they would be lost for good, might not be as pleased. There is NO NUDITY as with the convention of the times, but as you can see, risque might be the appropriate word. Art Brut with scissors and tape. A perfect gift for anyone interested in fashion or retro-fashion, stockings, legs, women...and, well...anyone with an interest in the unusual. It is linked at right, and there is a free 15 page preview HERE.
The SECOND volume in the new limited edition
DULL TOOL DIM BULB BOOKS imprint.
Gals Gams Garters comes in a limited edition of 250 hardcover paper jacket books.
There is also an unlimited (for now) paper edition available.
Order in time for Christmas! CLICK to order or free 15 page preview.
Real Photo Postcard Pair Rev. Ely J. Forsythe Missouri Tent Revival, c. 1910 Collection Jim Linderman
Bob Dylan once said "If I made records for my own pleasure, I would record only Charley Patton songs." For someone of his writing skills, that is a considerable proclamation and one I do not doubt. Gospel, Blues, Proto-Blues, Gut whoops and hollers, slide-finished words, gruff "voice masking" as old as Africa. Patton was so fugging good he could play 4 characters in one three minute song, make them all real and make every one of them sound like they were in a different room. His voice could be Man, Woman and God all at once and it was all done live in front of a primitive microphone while it was being etched into WAX. He could sing and talk to himself out loud at the same time! Nothing since has matched or met it. But Dylan keeps working at it and he increasingly SOUNDS like him, a compliment I am sure he would appreciate. It is no coincidence the most impressive song he has performed over the last few years is the one he specifically wrote for Patton. Like all his songs, he has played with it, shuffled it, jacked it up and down...even put a banjo in for a while. I've heard it scream with a guitar fed through a vocoder and a drum pound break Levon might be able to play, but with a sound he couldn't even imagine. I've heard a growl thrown at the song like Patton would, a genuine grit-teeth roar deep from inside somehow and as though each moment of the song was critical. A live version from 2003 was released on the Tell Tale Signs CD which spits and stutters to a fantastic finish. The song name-drops Big Joe Turner, another under-appreciated performer. They say Charlie Sexton's return to the band has brought vitality to the gigs. He certainly looks good from the audience clips I've seen.
Dylan's "never-ending tour" is an enormous misnomer, as musicians PLAY. I suppose it is born from his reclusive days, when he took time to start and raise a family, something which it is increasingly obvious he did well despite what must have been enormous pressure. I was shocked to read Sara turned 70 in October. I do not follow the offspring, but one is an accomplished performer and another a film maker who has been involved only in most laudable projects. That their father chooses to work is no surprise at all, and we should only HOPE it never ends. I recall when he did hit the road again (after what is now realized as only a brief respite) it was such an out-of-scale, stadium-filled steamroll no less than Bill Graham had to handle the ticket requests, millions of which were unfulfilled and the performers had to shout to be heard. Geffen bought the product and it set Dylan adrift a bit after, but he got back to Hammond's label and although there were some ups and downs, he's since had an artistic 5 disc run which has now matched the first one. And that is a considerable proclamation as well.
But this is about Patton. And that quote. It has been 8 years since the magnificent Charlie Patton box set by Revenant dropped. Literally. It is time to listen to it again. It is called "Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues" and it is with no question the greatest CD box-set ever released. From the pea-vine graphics to the erudite texts, it was as fitting a tribute one could create for this part Cherokee Black man who was born and died on plantations within 20 miles of each other in Sunflower County, Mississippi. It has taken me eight years to fully appreciate the box and Mr. Patton, though I first heard him in headphones in junior high school on an LP put out the year before I was born.
Dylan had a song on an album way back in 1978 titled "New Pony" which smells just a little bit like Patton. The tribute song "High Water" which refers to the floods that put Delta citizens atop the levee (the lucky ones anyway) is even closer. But to my knowledge, Dylan has never covered the master. It might be time. In fact, might I suggest an entire album of covers? I bet I could find him a label to put it out.
Sorry for no vibrant colors of late, I've been busy. THIS would have colorful, but the camera wasn't capable. Ever wonder why wallpaper isn't a happening thing much anymore? "She thinks alot of her Unk. D, Aunt Pearl, Cousins Grace, Leland, Lloyd and Frankie"
Azo Real Photo Post Card, c. 1920 Collection Jim Linderman
To those who study or simply enjoy old time music, the interplay between minstrel shows, blackface and musicians has been understood a long time. Musicians give up prejudice as soon as someone tunes up. Some recent hyped controversy over fashion models with too much make-up points out again that race and racism is real and for the most part, like always, still manipulated for profit and power. If you think some arbitrary distinction between race matters, or even exists anymore, I suggest a train ride into Manhattan from Queens at 7 am. There IS no white or black. We are all of the human race and at 7 am all equally miserable.
Anonymous Snapshot Untitled (Children musicians practice for crappy minstrel show) 1956 Collection Jim Linderman
Luc Sante was kind enough to write an essay for "my" book "Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Music and Photography 1890-1950" and Lance Ledbetter from Dust-to-Digital and I were thrilled to have him involved. Both of us knew his reputation and he gave the project authority and legitimacy. It was flattering as hell.
Mr. Sante's new book "Folk Photography: The American Real Photo Postcard 1905-1930" has just been published. I collect Real Photo Postcards as well and waited anxiously for the publication. Presto! I have some favorites...the shooting gallery rack on page 55, the Nebraska carnival girls on page 59, the Wall "o" Rabbit, a Canadian woman reading with her eyes closed while a Micmac beaded bag hangs over her head...and "STRUM" will simply break your heart with scale, beauty, form and joy...but you will most certainly have your own favorites.
This is serious book. It is tough, real and glorious. Well over 100 images, all killer, no filler and the bonus of a sizable essay from a great New York writer who edits tighter than a Hank Williams song but aims even higher. Browsing the text to find Luc walking that section of Astor Place the same year I moved to the city is tenuous, having left two years ago...but I will muster the strength to read twice. It is a beautiful book and anyone who grazes this blog for the real deal will find sheaves of it in this book. It is linked at right.