One Man Band! This circa 1890 enterprising inventor in the top three photographs could do it all...and presumably without electricity! I can't tell if his fly is down, but he is certainly playing with everything else. What a contraption. Other famous one man bands you may or may not know? Dave Grohl, who did the entire first album by Foo Fighters, Sir Paul, who did it without the other moptops, and MY personal favorite Jesse Fuller, a blues man who played the "footdella" for the bass while busking on street corners. Fate Norris of the Skillet Lickers did the same but added bells.
I used to see Sterling Magee play on 125th Street in Harlem. No, not the Apollo...the STREET. Mr. Magee, also known as Satan from "Satan and Adam" a salt and pepper blues duo, had a regular gig worth taking the A-train for. Satan was once called "The Fastest Guitar Player in the World" and he might have been, but his amp was so cheap it all came out like one glorious distorted note. He used a foot operated drum and cymbal thing while plugged into a lamppost near the Studio Museum of Harlem.
Satan also made art, and I spent a day in his apartment while he showed me his trippy, cosmic, Sun Ra holograms made out of plywood and such. Sorta like primitive Rubic's cube toys but shaped like stars and each with their own particular logic only Mr. Satan could interpret. I went with a friend, he later told me that was the longest afternoon in his life. I wasn't surprised to learn he had a nervous breakdown not long after, but what DID surprise me was the extent of his Wikipedia entry! He never told me he played with a transvestite duo known as "The Illusions That Create Confusion" but he did mention James Brown and King Curtis, both which were true. He also made a few early singles and with Adam, a few LP records but they gave him a better amplifier. Too bad. He sounded great with the one he carried on a modified shopping cart. I don't think this fellow had as much soul, but I'd have taken the subway up to see him play too.
Group of Frank Wendt Cabinet Card photographs collection Jim Linderman
Group of five tintype photographs, circa 1860-1880 Collection Jim Linderman
If you are interested in Tintypes, Folk Art or the history of Painters, Painting, and Photography Also see my newest book The Painted Backdrop: Behind the Sitter in American Tintype Photography available for purchase or preview now. THANKS!
The Painted Backdrop takes a whole new look at the relationship between painters and photographers in the 19th century. Is it true the camera replaced the brush? Maybe they got along far better than we've always thought. The SIXTH book published by Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books, catalog HERE.
Lethal Dose is a mind-bent chunk of REALLY good hair, acceleration, rock and roll, napalm-hot dames, clips from far underneath the underbelly and a dizzying work of genius/love. Think every influence Lux Interior had crammed into a two minute dream and add a trucker's sized dinner of Nodoz. If you live within the metropolitan New York City area, think WFMU and the Hound on a loud distorted speaker. Then add some color. Really bright ones. So I was thrilled to see the linked review of Camera Club Girls HERE.
Tony Fitzpatrick is one of the most amazing people I have ever met but do not know. I'm GLAD I don't know him. You see, Tony came to my house to visit over 15 years ago shortly after I had stopped drinking. Mr. Fitzpatrick was an artist and a damn good one, he still is. After ten years drunk I was a recently sober art collector. Tony won't remember this, he'll barely remember me...but at that time, after confessing I was sober for the first time in forever, he asked me the question of four secret words exchanged between alcoholics. I said no, that I was doing it myself. Tony, after having only met me for the first time. looked me right in my eyes with his...his clear, powerful, serious eyes which only artists have, and said "If you ever feel like a drink again, you call me first."
I have never had to.
Memory is an amazing and curious thing. All of us go through our lives with hardly a thought about how we affect others. What to us might be a flippant comment, a friendly greeting, an abusive finger...could well stay with someone for years. It could stay with them forever. I guess it has to do with timing and chemicals.
I could write a biography of Tony Fitzpatrick here with the standard sources, but he and others have done it for me. Suffice to say, he is a father, an artist, a blunt former pug and poet, a tough mother for ya, one of the brightest lights in Chicago and one of the most honest people I have met but never knew. However, like most of my friends, I knew he was there the whole time, and that is what mattered. Today Tony and I are a few tentacles away from each other on Facebook. I haven't written him, he hasn't written me. But I know he is there. Still.
The images cribbed here are early work I can only assume are now owned by fortunate and proud collectors, if any want the images removed let me know. There is already a solid 25 years of good work behind Mr. Fitzpatrick and I could find more. Tony has done other work you have seen, most of Steve Earle's CD covers feature one of his works, as have others. He exhibits frequently at prominent galleries and his work is owned by prominent museums. His website is HERE
Available NOW! The Painted Backdrop: Behind the Sitter in American Tintype Photography The previously untold story of 19th century painters and their influence on American photography during the tintype era. Never before examined in detail, the book contains over 75 rare, unpublished original tintype photographs from the Jim Linderman collection. A Grammy nominated writer and collector who has been called "the perfect subject for a Harvey Pekar comic" this book is informed with Linderman's wit and continues his examination of previously overlooked art and photography subjects. 80 Pages, 8' x 10" with essays by Jim Linderman and Kate Bloomquist. Linderman's most recent photography book was Camera Club Girls which tells the story of the amateur photographers who met to take nude photographs during the 1950s, discovered model Bettie Page, and started a revolution in erotic art...all through the work of one never before published artist.
Read the Back of your Photos (and Do NOT Leave the Stove On) Vernacular Photography of the Disaster Kind
We just "celebrated" the 30th anniversary of a killer tornado here in Michigan, the Kalamazoo doozy in which four folks lost their lives. The entire downtown area was destroyed, and I lived through it. It was the last house I lived in before moving to NYC, and I'll always remember sitting on the porch, drinking beer, ignoring warning sirens, and watching a poor soul drive up to the house on four flat tires, his arm covered in blood, to say "I just drove through a tornado" while shaking his head and trying to clear his ears. We didn't hear the typical "train sound" so often used by survivors, but the path was less than a mile away.
I was expecting this group of five disaster photos to be more evidence of a tornado. Lo and behold one has a barely legible note on the reverse which reads "Explosion at old Gilmore house" and sure enough...the offending stove is shown in one photo. Since these photos pre-date meth labs by a good hundred years, I am going to blame a gas line and hope no one was home. These would typically be called "exterior" and "interior" photographs, but the explosion has blurred those distinctions considerably.
Set of Original Anonymous "Disaster" photographs, circa 1910 Collection Jim Linderman
Expect a major announcement of photographic interest this week. Stay Tuned!
Today "Dog and Pony Show" is a phrase used when tricking prospective customers with bedazzling graphics and such. It used to mean what is shown above.
Number 19 in the "At the Circus in Black and White" series.
Untitled Anonymous Snapshot, circa 1920 Collection Jim Linderman
There are many beautiful and delicate things in the world. but among the most beautiful and delicate are the 19th century Japanese Crepe Paper books produced by Tikejiro Hasegawa. They hardly weigh a thing, which likely helped ship and carry them to the United States back in 1885 when they were first being made. While they are in fact extraordinary Japanese traditional woodcuts prints, each page done by hand, they were produced largely for the western market as souvenirs, but more. Seldom has such attention been paid to mere exports, and I suspect not only the extremely high artistic standards of the artist, but the desire to share same with the rest of the world was just as important as profit.
Takejiro Hasegawa was born in 1853 and lived until 1938, thus just missing the Second World War. The books were printed in quite small editions, some 400 copies, so are quite scarce and highly prized today. He first intended the books to help educate Japanese children in the speaking of English, but as they caught on with travelers he had found his true market. Despite being (almost) strong enough to withstand children's play, the "Chirimen bon" crepe paper he printed on was light as a feather.
These selected images are from but a few in the 66 page book "Japanese Jingles" from 1891 which I proudly own. The books were in fact printed on crepe...a light as air paper fabric...hand sewn and bound. Mine is 5" x 6" in size and nearly an inch thick. The entire book is reproduced HERE.
Japanese Jingles: Being a Few Little Verses... by Mae St. john Bramhall, Published T. Hasegawa 1891 Collection Jim Linderman
With this post, I am taking a break to finish up another Dull Tool Dim Bulb Press book. More details will emerge soon...keep following!
Spiritual sisters with purloined street signs point to the source of their inspiration.
(Also posted on Old Time Religion blog)
Anonymous snapshot circa 1925 Collection Jim Linderman
I have learned after many years never to say a certain type of music sucks...because I always find myself later studying it and loving it. It happened with jazz...HATED it, then discovered Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. It happened with Country...HATED it, then the appreciation of it literally filled my life. Blues? The same three chords...then I discovered Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters and that deep, rich, well of music which has sustained me for a lifetime. Gospel? Please...now I love it and have barely scratched (pun intended) the surface.
But you know? I don't think I'll EVER get into these guys. Hey, wait a minute! Dan Russo and his Orioles Orchestra recorded a song titled "Taint No Sin (To Take Off Your Skin And Dance Around In Your Bones)" Maybe I should just give a listen...
Collection of Gig announcement and Radio show Promotional real photo post cards all circa 1930-1935. Collection Jim Linderman
Do you Tumblr? I do. HERE. I use it to try out ideas for my blogs, for the instant feedback, for the way selected images reveal much about the folks who post them, for the inspiration and mostly as a way to generate interest in my own particular taste. More than anything, I use it to promote my books. It doesn't work, as most of my fellow tumblrs seem to be as broke as me, and besides are young and I doubt they even read books much. No insult, just that they are visual, busy, involved and living their lives, but they are also, at least my followers, extremely intelligent, artistic and many with curatorial skills which would match those of the professionals.
It is a very intimate and personal forum...nothing reveals more about a person than the visual images they love and select to share. Graphics, Art, Homemade art, Photographs they have collected OR taken, some stolen from others. It is a frontier for photos. For the most part, I consider my tumblr posts outtakes. B-sides. Things I have or have found which I believe deserve sharing, but not necessarily interesting enough for me to ponder for long...but I've been convinced otherwise on occasion.
The beauty of Tumblr is that others indicate their interest or appreciation of the image by voting, by forwarding it or by responding in some way. The genius of tumblr is the instant reinforcement for your own taste. A community builds...my community probably says more about me than them, but the misfits who follow me, most of them anonymous, have my support. If they post an image which offends me (and some frequently do) I "unfollow" them. If one of my posts receives a plethora of approvals, I'll consider expanding it and put it on a blog. Above is a selection of my recent posts on Tumblr. You can follow too if you like. Many duplicate (or lead to) posts on what I consider my REAL blogs. But if you like pictures without my blathering, this could be the place for you.
Group of anonymous photographs from the collection of Jim Linderman All Tumbled at some time.
Prostitutes, knives, sexual abuse, mental illness, suicide, alcoholism, attempted murder, wife-beating and an ill-fated decision to sell the rights to his songs to the crooked preacher Charles Jessup HERE) all add up to one damn good reason to BUY A CD instead of downloading some songs.
I swear, there is no way a tiny digital impulse which costs 99 cents and hurts your ears because the sound is so bad can even BEGIN to compare with a real CD and a real BOOK of liner notes, and the Jimmy Donley CD from the incredible Bear Records label in Germany is not the only reason, but it is a good one.
I can't even do justice to the disc, the liner notes, or the simply hard to believe story which unfolds as you listen. Suffice to say if you still own a CD player, this belongs. I've been a big fan of Swamp Pop for a long time, it is one of the last vestiges of a music junkie, and it has been on my mind even more since British Petroleum broke the Gulf with misguided greed and a rush to profit.
Swamp Pop comes from the same place now being gobbed with oil, and that the area just to the south of New Orleans has made a musical contribution equal to their cooking should not escape anyone. Like Bobby Charles, who I have also profiled here, Donley got some songs into the hands of Fats Domino, yet another reason to be glad to be alive...and if you know that beat and rhythm, you can begin to understand swamp pop. This would be a good CD for you to start with, and after you have read the simply incredible 40 page story included with the disc, if you don't have second thoughts about all that money you're electronically transferring directly to Apple...then I give up.
FIVE CAJUN STARS *****
Jimmy Donley The Shape You Left Me In Bear Records 2010 1 CD and 42 pages of text. Linked at right. BUY