Fire on the Mountain. Run, boys, run!
The Devil’s in the house of the rising sun;
The chicken’s in the bread pan picking out dough.
Granny, will your dog bite? No, child, no.
Charlie Daniels’ ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’
Autumn technically isn’t here for another couple of weeks but it’s damn cold in the morning and Ingrid, my wife, who’s the Steward for the Estate, just did an inventory of the woollen blankets that we’ve got, as most staffers keep the heat cool enough in their sleeping areas not to be too warm, and woollen blankets are preferred covers by most every soul here. Well, really nice ones are. Some blankets seem to get lost, some down the decades just wear out. And replacing them is bloody expensive!
That Charlie Daniels song I’m quoting is, I think, on the Infinite Jukebox. I’ll check later to see if it is. A band we’ve got in played it last evening in the concert they did for us. They named themselves Snow on the Mountain after a plant that has green and white leaves that’s up as soon as the first Spring warmth arrives. They claimed to hail from Big Foot County though I couldn’t find any such a place in any gazetteer that we had, but that mattered not. Voice, Appalachian dulcimer, fiddle and concertina are their instruments, which made for a very sweet sound.
April has a Western of sorts of us: ‘The gunfight at the O.K. Corral is one of those seminal historical events that every American knows about — or at least thinks they know. In the materials accompanying the ARC for Territory Emma Bull comments that there are many conflicting historical versions of the events leading up to those thirty seconds of gunfire that transpired between the Earp brothers (and Doc Holliday) and the Clanton gang. So instead of settling on any particular version of the truth, she set out to write a novel that could encompass all of them. I can’t claim to be well-versed in Tombstone historical lore, but I can vouch that Bull has done a excellent job of blending original characters and scenarios with the ureality of history into an entertaining read.’
Charles de Lint’s Yarrow: An Autumn Tale gets a loving look by Grey: ‘Cat Midhir has stopped dreaming. People assure her that it isn’t possible, that she just doesn’t remember her dreams, but Cat knows they’re wrong. Where her dreams have been, there is only heaviness and loss. For Cat, this loss means more than it would to most of us, because she is that rarest of all dreamers, a person who returns to the same dream every time she sleeps. In her dream world live her truest friends and her only source of inspiration for the books and stories that have won her acclaim in her waking life…’
Kate has a look-see at Jethro Tull: A History of the Band, 1968-2001: ‘Scott Allen Nollen has proven his devotion as a Tull fan in the countless miles travelled and the hours passed collecting details and interviewing band members and other associates. He has included nostalgic pictures of the band, some of which were borrowed from Ian Anderson, the often frenzied flautist who, despite some controversy, became the Fagin-like front man for the band. After ten long years of research, here is a comprehensive and entertaining story of the much misunderstood Jethro Tull. The authenticity is underlined by the thoughtful and honest foreword written by Ian Anderson himself.’
Robert has a look at what he calls a ‘quasi-critical study’ of a giant of American literature, Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction: ‘Ray Bradbury has always presented a problem for the science-fiction establishment: from Judy Del Ray’s comment defining the field by invoking Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke, and noting “one could almost add Bradbury,” to his being solemnly consigned to the nether regions by critics and scholars for not fulfilling the “requirements” of the genre (whatever those might happen to be in any given circumstance), he represents a quandary.’
I’ve found that reviewers are always hungry so Jennifer’s recipe is one they should like: ‘These empanadas are quick’n’dirty. You will like them just as much as my Mexican Casserole, but unlike the casserole, this recipe gives you only four to six spicy empanadas with an irresistable flaky, browned-butter crust and a juicy chorizo center. The finite number of empanadas means you can still overeat, but you won’t actually pop.’
But if you’re feeling like a quick meal rather than a recipe – and who hasn’t had that feeling now and again? – Denise reviews Trader Joe’s Boneless Skinless Mackerel in Sunflower Oil. And she’s got a tip for you; ‘Hey save that oil! Why? It’s delicious tossed with pasta. ‘ Read what she’s got to say about the fish itself in her review!
Robert has a twofer for our Graphic Literature department this week, starting with Allan Heinberg’s Young Avengers: ‘After reading Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways, I decided that Young Avengers was one series I definitely wanted to follow up on. It was worth it.’
And he followed up into a second collection, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: ‘As our story opens, the Young Avengers are battling the Sons of the Serpent, a paramilitary group (read “militia”) devoted to racial and moral purity — their words, not mine — when Captain America, Iron Man, and Ms. Marvel show up — just in time for Wiccan (Billy Kaplan) to unleash a psychic blast that KOs the Sons and about half of Lower Manhattan.’
I don’t think we’ve ever reviewed a music video but Cat decided that he’d take a look at the Primus animated version of Charlie Daniels’ ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’, so he did: ‘Primus, a rock band from San Francisco, recorded this version of Charlie Daniels’ classic, which was released as a Claymation music video on their 1998 Rhinoplasty EP and its companion Videoplasty video album, and also re-released on their 2003 EP Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People.’
Denise gets an early jump on what she likes to call ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ – otherwise known as Halloween Season – by looking at Charmed: The Complete First season. ‘No matter if you lost track of the Halliwell sisters after Prue’s departure, Phoebe’s flirtation with the dark side, or the coming of the kids, Season One is worth a peek for it’s straight-up look at sibling power, wiccan and otherwise.’ Check out her in-depth review for more!
Cat looks at a recording from Andrea Hoag, Loretta Kelly and Charlie Pilzer’s Hambo in the Barn: ‘Back in the twentieth century, a lot of Scandinavians relocated from Sweden and the surrounding countries to the upper Midwest where they became farmers and shopkeepers for the most part. Naturally they brought both their instruments and their music with them. Not surprisingly, this music has persisted to this day which is why this lovely CD exists.’
Gary brings us a debut album by two old hands performing as a new duo, Mark Turner and Ethan Iverson’s Temporary Kings: ‘I was sad and a little concerned in 2017 when pianist Ethan Iverson left The Bad Plus, the modern jazz trio he helped found nearly 20 years ago. Not to worry, though. [He’s] creating vital new music of his own. One place he’s doing that is in this duo with sax player Mark Turner. The two met at New York jam sessions in the ’90s and have played and recorded with the Billy Hart Quartet, but Temporary Kings is their debut as a duo.’
Mike says of this recording by Alban Faust and Josue Trelles that ‘At first glance at a bi-cultural collaboration like Polska pa Pan, I’ve come to expect one of two possibilities. The collaboration can be an exchange of traditions or it can be slanted towards that of one of the participant’s. This CD definitely is in the latter category, but the project is so well executed I can easily live with it.’
What happens to tradition when a contemporary composer gets his hands on it? Robert has some thoughts on that in his review of Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 7, “Toltec”: ‘Philip Glass was invited to compose a work for conductor Leonard Slatkin’s 60th birthday season with the National Symphony Orchestra in 2005; the result was the Symphony No. 7, “A Toltec Symphony”, based on the wisdom tradition of the ancient Toltec civilization of Mexico.’
For our What Not this week, Robert took another trip to his favorite museum (Again? Well, there’s a lot to see) and an exhibition for school kids, “What Is An Animal?”: ‘When I was a small child (as in, about five years old), my father would take me to the Field Museum; I always wanted to look at the “stuffed animals.” (And I should note that the “stuffed animals” on display are barely the tip of the iceberg of the Museum’s specimens.) In the intervening years, the Museum has done some rethinking on the organization of those exhibits, grouping them in ways that more or less make sense (“Mammals of Asia,” for example). One thing that is new (well, since I was five) is an introductory exhibit geared toward school children, “What Is An Animal?”’
Our music coda is indeed ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ but not as done by the band that created it but rather by the Levellers, an English folk rock band whose music we’ve reviewed here over the years, including this review by Jack Merry of not one, but two collaborations between them and McDermott’s 2 Hours.