Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Showing posts sorted by relevance for query birth of rock and roll. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query birth of rock and roll. Sort by date Show all posts

The Birth of Rock and Roll : Photographs from the collection of Jim Linderman plus a conversation with Joe Bonomo

The Birth of Rock and Roll is now available for pre-ordering on Amazon.  I received a copy and it turned out beautiful.  A coffee table book, and a book about music unlike any you have seen.

My vintage photographs were handled beautifully by the fine folks at the publisher DUST-TO-DIGITAL and the design by award-winning Martin Venezky and his Appetite Engineers shop is fantastic.  Historian, essayist and music-writer Joe Bonomo contributes elegant prose. 

160 pages and when they are laid open, each is 19" x 12" of striking jumping' and jivin' humanity!  I am proud indeed to make a contribution to our understanding of that phenomena we call Rock and Roll, and the folks mentioned above helped it happen.  

There will be more about the book soon, but for now it is listed in the art book D.A.P. Catalog (shown here) and Amazon is taking pre-orders.  It will soon be available at the Dust-to-Digital Website and other sources.

It may be worth mentioning that my first book with Dust to Digital, Take Me to the Water (which was Grammy-nominated) is now out of print and used copies are trading for over a hundred dollars…

I would like to thank the publisher Stephen Lance Ledbetter for recognizing the potential of this project, and for the magnificent results.  A picture does tell a thousand words, and in this case the pictures tell a hundred year story like never before.  Thank you!

Weegee Bettie Page and the FBI The Last (?) Unpublished Photographs and What Weegee told the FBI about Bettie Page

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

What if you could put Bettie Page, the most influential pinup model of the last 50 years in the same room with Weegee, certainly one of the most famous photographers in the world...and he had a camera in his hands? I'd say it would be so juicy even the FBI would be interested. And it appears they were!

Search for a photograph of Bettie Page taken by Weegee. One appears on the International Center of Photography website, which is appropriate as Weegee's widow Wilma Wilcox donated his extensive archive to the museum in 1993. The photo actually appears on Fans in a Flashbulb, the museum's exceptional blog.

Weegee (Arthur Fellig) was personal friends with the model, for years living only three blocks apart from each other just off Times Square (Weegee on West 47th Street and Ms. Page on West 46th Street), a walk one can do in less than five minutes, even Weegee with a cigar. There is a story reported that Weegee once climbed into a bathtub fully clothed with Bettie hoping for a better photo until she literally kicked him out. But until now, very few of the photographs Weegee took of his beautiful acquaintance have ever been publicly shown.
Cass Carr, Harlem jazz musician and promoter of amateur camera club outings also had a space in the very same neighborhood at 218 West 47th Street (a mere two blocks from Weegee's house) which he called the "Concorde Camera Circle" with a rudimentary studio. I believe the revealing studio shot here showing other participants snapping away was taken at Carr's place. It is typical of Weegee to create his own particular view in a photographic setting. The one thing you do NOT want to see in a photo of Bettie Page is other men, but there you go. Leave it to Weegee to turn the camera on the cameramen.

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

Carr also arranged outings to local farms and parks for camera club participants prior to forming the Concorde Club (previously known as the Lens Art Club) but he changed the club's name after being arrested along with others for promoting an outing in South Salem, New York. Some accounts have Weegee arrested at a camera club outing along with Ms. Page, if so it probably would have been the South Salem, New York shoot on July 27, 1952.

One thing I can confirm is the outdoor photographs here were taken at Headley Farm in New Jersey, as the gas pump has figured in other photographer's pictures. Also present at the shoot, which took place on September 9, 1956, were photographers Art Amsie, Arnold Kovacks, Don Baida, and an unknown woman photographer seen here on the left holding her own camera with the boys.

As far as I know, this unknown woman's pictures of Bettie have not turned up, but we can now say Bettie was photographed by at least three women, the others being Paula Klaw (Paula Kramer) and Bunny Yeager (Linnea Eleanor Yeager)

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

The Weegee photographs (and there are more) are beautiful pictures of the model in her prime. Striking poses of a young model obviously both aware of her talents and enjoying the session. That they were taken by one of the most interesting and talented photographers in history adds to their charm and importance.

The photographs Weegee took of Bettie Page have never been shown, and it is an honor I do not take lightly. It is also the reason the copyright notice I have placed under each image is not to be ignored.

One of the Weegee photos of the model taken in a studio is notable primarily for the unusual bikini Bettie wears which she would have made herself! It was a talent she was proud of, but maybe she should have stuck with store-bought. It also appears in a cropped version on a website or two, but in poor and possibly purloined quality.

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

The other Weegee image from the ICP collection which has appeared on the web is a cropped print showing Ms. Page in virtually the same pose taken at the same day by four different photographers.

Another Weegee photograph here shows Ms. Page in a make-shift studio not as yet identified. It could be either of their own apartments, as Page was known to pose individually on request and for her standard modeling fee. It is not known (to me anyway) if Weegee was in the habit of hiring individual models, but he did sell and publish other cheesecake photographs in news digests and quite likely some joke and gag publications. I would like to think Bettie gave him a freebie on this one!

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

But what of the FBI? Recently the FBI released several documents on Bettie Page, likely in response to repeated requests. As we know, the model was harassed and hounded by zealots and government agencies during her modeling years. Once being called by the Kefauver Committee in conjunction with their investigation of Irving Klaw, and earlier in relation to an obscenity bust in 1956 Harlem (in which the amateur bondage model was asked about "ping pong paddles" and a riding crop. She denied being involved, and also denied knowing of any photographs of the sort being produced in Harlem.


In the the newly released FBI document pictured here I noticed a most interesting story hiding in the redacted print! Half way down, note the passage enlarged here which indicates photos of the model were "turned over on 5/25/60...by (name omitted) also known as (name omitted) a photographer who resides at (location omitted.) Now I do not know of any other New York City photographer working with a short pseudonym who took pictures of Bettie Page! So there you go... it now looks like we can add Weegee to the long list of artists who have been pestered by the long arm of the law.


Now if I were writing this for a tabloid in the 1950s, when the neighborhood all three principles called home was known as "Hell's Kitchen" I would have titled this 'WEEGEE SQUAWKS TO FEDS" but to be fair, anyone with the slightest connection to "dirty" pictures was vulnerable to such puritanical procedures, when the laws attempting to define obscenity were far more strict than today. So let's call them all pioneers rather than pigeons.

(c) Weegee/International Center of Photography/Getty Images

I would like to thank the International Center of Photography for allowing me to use the above unpublished photographs from their archive to help illustrate this discovery and story. If you are not an active member or supporter of the museum, please take the time to join.

Jim Linderman is author of Times Square Smut and The Birth of Rock and Roll

 "Times Square Smut" available now covers the same time period as the above in detail and publishes numerous works by African-American artist Eugene Bilbrew unseen for over 50 years. Times Square Smut will tell the story of denizen and mobster Edward Mishkin, who printed and sold proto-porno soft-core books using the artist's work on 42nd Street at the same time Irving Klaw was publishing photographs of Bettie Page. In the meantime.  The Birth of Rock and Roll might be the most unusual music book you have ever seen!

The Birth of Rock and Roll Number 4 from Dull Tool Dim Bulb

The Birth of Rock and Roll number four is an original slide circa 1950 from the Jim Linderman Collection, and we like it so much we gave it a watermark!  The Birth of Rock and Roll series of original photographs appears on Dull Tool Dim Bulb periodically.

Untitled Original Color Slide circa 1950 collection Jim Linderman

The Birth of Rock and Roll number five in the Dull Tool Dim Bulb Series. Collection Jim Linderman

The Birth of Rock and Roll number five is a snapshot circa 1950 (integrated dance) from the Jim Linderman Collection.  The Birth of Rock and Roll series of original photographs appears on Dull Tool Dim Bulb periodically.

The Birth of Rock and Roll Holiday Edition

Number three in the series The Birth of Rock and Roll comes from Cleveland, so I finally have to agree with the choice to locate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame there!  Undated, but certainly 1940 or earlier, an obvious trouble-maker participates in planning for the Thanksgiving dance!  I hope it got out of hand.  An unusual early photograph of desegregated dance for the kids!  On the reverse the person I HOPE chooses the music is identified as "Pete Owens African-American Young Man" at Thomas Edison High School Cleveland Ohio.  It comes from a photo book, but I am going to guess it was taken for the High School Yearbook. 

Original Snapshot Undated Collection Jim Linderman

Courtship from The Birth of Rock and Roll Book available NOW by Jim Linderman

"Courtship" (or The Birth of Rock and Roll) Vintage snapshot c. 1960.

Original Snapshot circa 1950 collection Jim Linderman

Jim Linderman interview on No Such Thing As Was with Joe Bonomo

Rock and Roll in Sepia: A Conversation with Jim Linderman

Jim Linderman
Jim Linderman is an archivist of the obscure. I profiled him here in 2011 and continue to deeply enjoy the curios he finds and actively posts at his three blogs, Old Time Religion ("Vernacular religious detritus"), Vintage Sleaze ("The true and untold story of smut in America"), and Dull Tool Dim Bulb ("Surface, wear, form and authenticity in art, antiques and photography"). He's just released a terrific new book via Blurb, a collection of found photographs titled The Birth of Rock and Roll in which he's arranged a storyboard of sorts that dramatizes the spirit, if not the chronology of rock and roll...


The Greatest Blues Song Ever Written But who WROTE it? by Jim Linderman

Can any blues song, or blues performance be called the best?  There are many one could nominate, and you are welcome to suggest yours as a comment here. This is the story of a song which combines infidelity, deception, sex, humor, fear, impending violence, escape, neighborhood gossip and more in a few short lines.  Who wrote it?  Let's try to find out.  This is the story of One Way Out.

One Way Out isn't even a traditional blues song, except for the first stanza. 

Ain't but one way out baby, Lord I just can't go out the door
Ain't but one way out baby, and Lord I just can't go out the door
'Cause there's a man down there, might be your man I don't know

Lord you got me trapped a woman, up on the second floor
If I get by this time I won't be trapped no more
So raise your window baby, I can ease out soft and slow
And Lord, your neighbors, no they won't be
Talking that stuff that they don't know

Lord, I'm foolish to be here in the first place
I know some man gonna walk in and take my place
Ain't no way in the world, I'm going out that front door
'Cause there's a man down there, might be your man I don't know
'Cause there's a man down there, might be your man I don't know

The most familiar version is, of course, the Allman Brothers.  Recorded and released numerous times, and a stalwart of the brother's live performances for 40 years.  Likely brought to the band by Duane "Skydog" Allman. The track here comes from the last night of a four night stand recorded for their Live at the Fillmore Lp in June 1971 with Tom Dowd at the controls (?)  This version is selected as Duane was alive, though not to be for long…and the interplay with co-lead guitarist Dickey Betts is outstanding.   Duane regularly appears on "top ten greatest guitar player" lists, but on each one he should be bumped up a few notches.

Duane's brother Gregg Allman once said the phrase "southern rock" is redundant."  He is right, and it is one of my favorite rock and roll quotes.  Mr. Allman often says a great, great deal with few words.

On the Allman Brothers releases, One Way Out is credited to Marshall Sehorn and Elmore James.   Sehorn was a musician who became southern promotion man for  the Fire and Fury labels.  He put his name on Elmore's recording.  

Common practice then…and theft.  Sehorn would eventually receive songwriting credit (and the royalty payments) for over 350 songs recorded in the 1960s.  He went on to form a company with Allen Toussaint, helping the the Neville Brothers obtain a recording contract and recording numerous New Orleans legendary musicians.  As this story is aimed at blues listeners…he also claimed writing credits with Lightnin Hopkins.  Here is Sehorn, a fellow who LOOKS like an adulterer who might skulk out a second floor window, but not really a bluesman. He didn't write it.

By the way, Dickie Betts, who had to take the place of a very young Duane Allman at a very young age....is no slouch either.


The Elmore James version of One Way Out is a screech with a fingered solo…no slide (!!!) and a saxophone. He recorded it in 1961 but it didn't get released until two years after Elmore passed away.  I believe it first appeared on The Sky is Crying Lp, and it was also released the same year as a single.

I believe it is most likely Sonny Boy Wiliamson who should be credited with the song.  It is a clever lyric, and Sonny boy was clever. He recorded two versions, the first in 1961 and again in 1965.  Sonny was also not bound by tradition.  If he wanted his blues song to read like a poem, a sonnet or a speech it was his right, and he is usually considered one of the most poetic writers of blues songs.  Here, it is Chess Records house-writer Willie Dixon who sneaks his name onto the label.

G. L. Crockett's version of the song in 1965 gives it a primitive, swampy sound. A little King Bee, a little Jimmy Reed. G.L. Crockett was Chicago-based, and his real initials were G. T. Crockett. Why the change? Typo? The label didn't care much. He also recorded as "G. Davy Crockett (!)  He claims authorship!

Likewise, Duster Bennett recorded as It's a Man Down There, He credits the song to Crockett and speaks a bit of the song. Duster was a British blues singer, so we might say he apes his way through the song. Needless to say he didn't write it. Duster Passed away in 1978 when his Ford van collided with a truck after doing a gig with Memphis Slim.

Jimmy Reed recorded an ANSWER SONG(!) titled I'm the Man Down There in which he dares the man upstairs to use the stairs! Jimmy wants to kick your ass, but in real life his wife was tougher than he was…and she's upstairs busy.

 "I'm the man down there, boy Don't you come down those stairs".

I am willing to bet there were some 1960s garage band versions and many African-American Chitlin Circuit versions of the song too.

There was truly only one way out, at least for Elmore…and Stefan Wirz shows it on his Elmore James discography HERE.


The High and Ho of Weegee Bernard Bailey High Magazine and Ho Magazine from Periodical House Publish Weegee's Poison Portraits

I am not a Weegee scholar, but I am a fan, and also recognize the importance of his work.  I also know the magazine High and Ho are today pretty scarce, as editor and art director Bernard Bailey's goofy idea of putting TWO narrow magazines on the top shelf in the place of one didn't work out.  Note the prices.  I don't think he had market research in the late 1950s which indicated a fellow was inclined to pay 35 cents for HO! (The LONG magazine) and 25 cents for HIGH (the TALL magazine) either.  So few today have seen them.  Each issue was 100 skinny pages and come from 1957 and 1958.  The Golden Age of smutty glamor.

Bailey did have the good taste to either hire, or purchase, a considerable amount of Weegee's more experimental work.  Distortions and treatments.   They are titled "Poison Portraits" and Weegee's Weirdies" and they are that..

I have no idea if the copyright on High and Ho is abandoned or has been assumed by the International Center of Photography, where you can find lots of material on the photographer.  I AM sure they own the images.  The Weegee Archive was bequeathed to ICP in 1993 by Wilma Wilcox, Weegee’s long-term partner, and it is a treasure.  Wikipedia tells the story, and as you can see the institution has exhibited some, if not all, the images here:

"In 1980 Weegee's widow, Wilma Wilcox, Sidney Kaplan, Aaron Rose and Larry Silver formed The Weegee Portfolio Incorporated to create an exclusive collection of photographic prints made from Weegee’s original negatives.  As a bequest, Wilma Wilcox donated the entire Weegee archive - 16,000 photographs and 7,000 negatives to the International Center of Photography in New York. This 1993 gift became the source for several exhibitions and books include "Weegee's World" edited Miles Barth (1997) and "Unknown Weegee" edited by Cynthia Young (2006). The first and largest exhibition was the 329-image "Weegee's World: Life, Death and the Human Drama," brought forth in 1997. It was followed in 2002 by "Weegee's Trick Photography," a show of distorted or otherwise caricatured images, and four years later by "Unknown Weegee," a survey that emphasized his more benign, post-tabloid photographs. In 2012 ICP opened another Weegee exhibition titled, "Murder is my Business". Also in 2012, exhibition called "Weegee: The Naked City" opened at Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow"

Bailey's narrow magazines are bound well and not easily mashed onto my scanner…but let's take a look at some obscurities by Arthur Felig.  Weegee's Weirdies is listed in the bibliography of his works HERE, but Weegee's Poison Portraits seems not to be, so here you go.

Bernard Bailey, editor and art director of High and Ho is a bit more obscure, but like many folks working in the golden age of smut, came from the comic book environment.  I'll say it again...Kefauver was right.  He was an artist who worked for both DC comics and Atlas, which eventually became Marvel.  His bio is HERE.

Not much has been published about his connection with High and Ho.  Interestingly, High turned into a normal sized magazine after the tall experiment, but it didn't last much longer.  Both magazines are chock-full of now prominent artists, photographers and models.  Bernard had good taste, if not business sense.

Tall and Long issues of High 1957 and Ho 1958
Photography Books by the author include The Birth of Rock and Roll, Take Me to the Water and In Situ American Folk Art in Place.

Sepia Pin Up Calendar Storefront original photograph collection Jim Linderman

Sepia Pin Up Calendar Storefront.  This snapshot likely shows a photo studio associated with Sepia Magazine, which ran over 35 years but never achieved the reputation of the competitor Ebony or the mini-digest Jet.  Still, it was a popular media source for the Black country within the country.  Starting in 1947, Sepia was published in Texas by Good Publishing Company.  Good was also responsible for the few African-American scandal magazines of the mid 20th Century.  Hep, Jive and Bronze Thrills also came from Good.  Interestingly, The owner was a white man named George Levitan, but the staff was largely African-American, and Mr. Levitan was a civil rights supporter.

This could be a satellite office.  The magazine had nation-wide distribution, so it is possible a studio looking for glamour shots of African-American women would be in NYC or Chicago.  It is also possible this was simply a storefront set up by an anonymous photographer using the Sepia name.  What better way to attract talent?  There is a similar snapshot for sale on a website which identifies the date around 1930, but that is unlikely.

There is so little documentation of early African-American pinups.  My book Secret Life of the Black Pin-up is out of print., but many of the images have been shared and posted by others.  The phrase "Black is Beautiful" was intended to wake up all races…African-American residents were so abused, even they had doubts.  Yes, Black women are beautiful and they had their own subculture of pin-up beauty, but the history is buried and the issues scarce.

One reason so few of the original Good Publications magazines are seen today is due to the "pass-along rate."  Unlike, for example, issues of National Geographic, which are stockpiled in many garages in nearly mint but moldy condition, most of the race magazines were shared over and over until they wore out.  They cost from 25 to 35 cents…and before the 1960s, there was little disposable income for the minority.  They were seldom collected by libraries.  A few examples of Good Magazines are shown here.

See also HERE and HERE
Original snapshot Sepia Pin-Up Calendar Storefront.  No date, circa 1955?  Collection Jim Linderman.  Jim Linderman's book The Birth of Rock and Roll published by Dust to Digital is available for purchase HERE and HERE.


Featured Image on Artbook D.A.P is The Birth of Rock and Roll

The Birth of Rock and Roll book by Jim Linderman is featured on the Artbook.com website.

Photographs from THE BIRTH OF ROCK AND ROLL book by Jim Linderman COMING SOON


The Birth of Rock and Roll Original Vintage Photograph

Original vintage photograph collection Jim Linderman 
From the Dust to Digital Book The Birth of Rock and Roll Available from the publishers HERE

J. Charles Jessup, Convicted Preacher with a Triple-neck Mosrite guitar

Charles Jessup was married to a 15 year old girl while still married to his third wife. Rev. Jessup was a border radio fixture for years, sharing time on a mega-powerful station operating just across the Rio Grande (and outside of U. S. regulations) at the same time as Wolfman Jack. Robert Duvall cited him as an influence on his film The Apostle, and others have compared him to Elvis, but then Elvis was never convicted of mail fraud and using ill-gotten contributions from loyal listeners for cock-fighting.
Jessup barnstormed God's airways with mountain music, a squeaky voice and an insatiable sexual appetite. Taking in ten million dollars, he claimed was to help the Mexican people, he instead "llenarse los bolsillos" which is Spanish for "line your own pockets." And there are folks who worry about Mexicans coming here? Cars, Seaplanes, real estate...whatever supposed pleasures awaited his followers in the afterlife, he was taking full advantage of in the present.
Not to be outdone by his own brother's double-neck guitar, shown in a photo here...he ordered a custom made THREE neck guitar from the Mosrite Factory which surfaced a few years ago. I am not sure what he used to play it with, but perhaps his young wife can tell us. Amazingly, he continued to appear on other evangelist's programs after serving his sentence (at least one of which still operates in my home state) and they welcomed him as an inspiration! I include here several photos of Jessup and his posse with a scan of their 78 rpm record (which unfortunately I have not heard as God has not yet provided me with a working turntable, but he will, I believe)

A double blog post here and on "old time religion"

Photo excerpts from "Heaven and Hell" "My Life's Story" "A Stirring Message on Death" all circa 1945-1950 by J. Charles Jessup, and "Preach the Word/I'll Meet you in the Morning" by Jessup Brothers on Jessup Brothers records, 78 rpm. All Collection Jim Linderman