Friday, January 28, 2011


When you're down to one or two stock photographs of yourself kicking around, you're either Thomas Pynchon or Tommy Johnson, top of the line author and bluesmaker of underbelly America. Both authors delving into the Seven Deadly Sins. Both fresh as a daisy. Scholars and copy cats tear their hair trying to figure out how it's all done. Long before Jimi Hendrix there was Tommy Johnson on guitar, with that growl or spine tingling falsetto, somewhat captured these days by Geof Muldaur. Johnson was born in rural Mississippi and lived there all his life. Died of a heart attack in 1956 after playing a party ~ what do we expect from one who truly sold his soul to the devil? A heavy drinker, he sang of drinking methanol from Sterno in his classic song "Canned Heat Blues". The roughest of the rough: Robert Nighthawk and Howlin' Wolf learned from him, and the Los Angeles group tore their name from his song.



Self-portrait of an artist above, Edgar Miller (1899-1993), like Ezra Pound, Idaho-born, was cut out of the American frontier.

Miller landed in Chicago at age 17 and would inch-by-inch begin to transform the architecture of certain sections of this vast and original city.

"One should learn from nature" was how this prolific and gifted craftsman went about his work with animal and plant motifs that he would turn into woodcarvings, paintings, stained glass windows, ceramic tiles, frescoes, mosaics, and illustrious household murals.

Fond of using used materials, and in fact insisting on its use — everything was spared — and spun into gold. Oak doors layered with intricate chisel chop and entwined imagery stand to this day.

At age 89 it wasn't unusual for Miller to work a 12 hour day with his hand tools for ten days straight to complete a masterpiece entry door.

One more of the hidden delights of the world, dear Edgar Miller.


A new booklet from our press!

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

pappy with a khaki sweatband

old bowed potbellied barnyard

that only he noticed

the old fart was smart