Friday, January 21, 2011


Some evenings it's James Booker playing, or Otis Spann, or Mose Allison, Percy Mayfield and when none of the above, someone cut from the same cloth of all these hombres: Mercy Dee Walton. Rural-rooted Texan (b. 1915) who moved to California before WW2 and maybe best known for the blues standard "One Room Country Shack" originally cut on Speciality Records. He made ends meet working in the fields of California and playing a million club dates, touring often with Big Jay McNeely. Arhoolie would release the LP above in 1961. The following year, Mercy was gone.


A new booklet from our press!

Head to our bookshop (always open) and get yourself one.

Nashville warbler

lost deep in a box elder —

the master plan.


Dead Reckoning (1947) with Humphrey Bogart has always been my favorite Lizabeth Scott film. As soon as I say this I say to self, "But wait a minute! — how about I Walk Alone and how about The Racket? Yeah, how about it?

Lizabeth Scott was born in 1922 of Ukrainian background and is with us today at age 88. If there is anything I marvel at, and I like to quietly marvel, is how many silver screen legends are still with us. Women. Often living as quietly as my marveling, after decades of dynamic work, unforgettable performances, and often being treated as second fiddle because of the heroic male squad, which ain't always as heroic as the women. Think of Bogart without Bacall in
Dark Passage. Think of Hollywood without Bergman, Davis, Crawford, Hepburn, Lombard, Lupino, Garbo, Arthur, Hayworth, Grahame, Stanwyck, Gardner, Colbert, Taylor, Novak, Winters, Bacall, Tierney, Scott, Kerr and we haven't even left the country yet. Or warmed up.

So here's to "Mike", "Slim", "Veronica", "Angel Face". And Marie Windsor. And Audrey Totter. And Ann Savage. And Jean Gillie. And Linda Darnell. And...

Of Lizabeth Scott's twenty films (she dropped the "E" on Elizabeth purposely) three-quarters were out of the smoke of film noir. No other actress appeared in more as a key element. She began in John Farrow's
You Came Along (1945) and retired from film no less than twelve years later alongside Elvis in his second film Loving You (1957). Personal troubles and controversy may have spurred this disappearance from the screen. She did appear one more time in 1972 with the film Pulp, but forget about it. Swim between 1945 and the next ten years with Lizabeth Scott.