Monday, August 25, 2014


We have changed the name of our vintage record shop. 

It is now called City Beat Vintage Vinyl. 

Here is how our banner looks in its entirety:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Joseph! you can't Help Yourself!

While perusing an old post-Civil War music book, "The Golden Robin", I discovered a forgotten Women's Suffrage song within its covers. This was 1868, mind you.

"Woman's Rights, a Musical Colloquy". It was written by M. B. C. Slade, with music by Arthur Lloyd. M. B. C. Slade was Mary Bridges Canedy Slade ( Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, 1826 - 1882); she was an editor, a poet, and author of many Protestant hymns, as well as a few patriotic songs

This is a very early Woman's Rights song. I find it interesting that it is presented a
s a 'colloquy', with verses sung alternatively by boys and girls. The girls get the final word. Here it is — and it's certainly a prescient piece of work! :

BOYS : I've been down to Boston, boys, To see the folks and sights. Dear me! I heard such fuss and noise, About the Women's rights ! Now, 'tis just as plain as my old coat, That's plain as plain can be, That when the women want to vote, They'll get no help from me!
"Not from Joe, Not from Joe, If he knows It, Not from Joseph! No, no, no, not from Joe, not from me, I tell you no!

GIRLS : Tell us Joseph, why not I, Should vote as well as you? What Is there. If we girls but try, We can't make out to do? Ah! but we shall surely win the chance; And now I'll let you know, That If we don't our cause advance, We'll vote, but not for Joe!"
GIRLS CHORUS. Not for Joe, Not for Joe, If we know It, not for Joseph; No, no, no, not for Joe, not for you, sir, — oh! dear! no!

BOYS : See. young woman, just look here: Your home Is your true place; You never ought from out your sphere, To show your pretty face. Don't you see, you ought to knit and sew, And meek and humble be ? If from your sphere you wander so, You'll get no help from me." (BOYS CHORUS)

Joseph! you can't help yourself, Our cause is speeding on; And you'll be laid upon the shelf, When woman's rights are won. When our President Is Katy fair, And Mary's eyes of blue, Beam sweetly from the Mayor's chair, They'll see no place for you! (GIRLS CHORUS)

Early Women's Suffrage Song in "The Golden Robin" - for sale

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Have you ever passed by the old stone house where Edmund Wilson used to live up in Talcottville? The house sits there , solid and implacable — like Wilson's literary opinions — a stone monument to lives lived and a past that seems tangible and rich, but just out of reach ... unless you were to open one of Wilson's many books and especially if you were to open his memoir, "Upstate" , which is his homage to rural New York, wherein Wilson reveals a frustrated relationship with the countryside. It is a love/hate relationship - but mostly love ... much like Wilson's relationship with literature. For that relationship as it existed between 1950 and 1965, "The Bit Between My Teeth" reveals much.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Excting news for everybody that cares about classical literature — and poetry in general.  An ancient poem by Sappho has been newly discovered. This is quite a find. Congratulations to those who were involved. :

Rediscovered poem by Sappho — click here

I wrote a little poem of my own in celebration:

Determined that her traces be scatter'd and few,
The upstart with firm belief so sure,
Placed the condemn'd upon a pyre,
To eradicate that poetic soul by fire.
Hubris! To purify the already pure;
Still, the old endures …thus refreshingly new.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Elmore Leonard - RIP. 

I posted this answer to somebody in an online forum, but want to repeat it here, because it think it part of the many reasons why so many readers recognized the brilliance of Elmore Leonard, and because it is a large part of why I enjoy his stories:

Elmore Leonard was the first author since Samuel Richardson ( 1689 – 1761) to understand how conversation actually sounds ... who understood its flow - its pauses, its stumblings, its extemporaneous freshness - how it works. After all, no single conversation has ever happened before. Of course the conversations (and character thought-processes) were of a different time and thus have a different flavor than Richardson's. But they are time-separated colleagues in observational perception and brilliancy.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I notice that in a short  biographical entry for preacher/poet John Jordan Douglass in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography edited by William S. Powell, and issued by the University of North Carolina, Douglass is compared to an equally obscure previous author (Alan Cunningham):

" In an appraisal of Douglass' poetry, G. A. Wauchope, professor of English literature at the University of South Carolina, wrote: 'As a sea-poet, the author's style and treatment remind one of Allen Cunningham, a poet of a century past who excelled in ballads and songs of the free salt seas. . . . Mr. Douglass' mind is modern, but his soul is Greek. Though by profession he happens to be a Protestant clergyman by divine calling he is a son of Apollo whose magic flute has lured him into the secret haunts of nature, where he communes with the lovely nymphs and goddesses of the great outdoors.' "

I like, "his mind is modern, but his soul is Greek ..." maybe the melodious sound of his sermons, and their interest for his congregations was enhanced by his inner pagan daemon.

Please note, that - for me - the obscurity of an author does not connote any particular value judgment on that author's work. Even considering the regional/local nature of such an author's possible recognition.

We have a local poetess, whose life spanned the 19th and 20th century, and who wrote quite passable verse (very enjoyable). Her collected works, prose and verse, display for those interested a genial view of the local past - small history writ personal. Her old home is just down the road a mile or so, and you will be hard pressed to find any persons, outside of local historians or antiquarians, who are even aware of her existence, and even less of her poetry, or of her charming columns written for a local paper. 

Fame and renown is so fleeting.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Snippet about Grosset & Dunlap

Nothing big here, but we all know how frustrating it can be to establish an exact date for a Grosset issue. I've got one of their early books in front of me, (a work by Liberty Hyde Bailey) and the title page has Grosset's imprint, along with a date and an address ....
11 East 16th Street, New York ... 1906.  I had the thought that it might be a good idea to keep that address on hand, which could help at least with zeroing in to a closer circa date for other Grosset issues, if the address be present in those books sans date.  If there is no address on title page, then check for the publisher's catalog or list at the rear.

Just thought some of you might like this little snippet. (And I realize the information may well be present elsewhere)

Maybe someone else can chime in if they know the duration of their publishing from that address.

The printer for this particular book is stated as Mount Pleasant Press, J. Horace McFarland Company, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Price of a new Grosset & Dunlap book in 1906 : 75¢

Monday, March 4, 2013


Of course, as one might expect, I am drawn to fiction in which bookstores figure largely as a character in the story.  One finds fictional book shops in the most unexpected places.

This charming vintage scene by Harrie Wood of a shop interior is especially poignant for me, and speaks beguilingly to memory.  For me, its sense of a still-living past carried into the future is strong.

The book is a juvenile story about the Boy Scouts entitled Three Points of Honor and was written by Russell Gordon Carter and  Published in 1929 by Little Brown, and Company. 

This picture and the story it illustrates  are both fictions - but the illustration has great veracity in terms of its depiction of the character of a used book shop.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Alas and alack! for I feel sometimes that I am living in a post-literate age, where a book has more value torn apart and its internal guts offered up to the gods of crafting. Where a good author stands out if he be sea-green and posed against some beach detritus .... 

And what of movies made from great literature? A classic novel is served up for movie audiences only to find itself in the service of immature bathroom humor, so that even in the visual media a good story is plowed under the roar of bathroom scenes, public restrooms, graphic visual episodes of bodily discharges of various sorts, car chases and explosions - lots of explosions - and even when philosophical queries are posited and characters are possibly allowed to enter a higher or different realm, they are still stupidly kicking kung fu and lugging about gigantic weapons of bodily destruction.

It is Jane Austen vs Zombies. Tess as a vampire.  Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies has been done... Next, I think ... Mark Twain vs  Walking Dead ... 

Hopefully this too shall pass.

Monday, April 23, 2012

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Josiah Booknoodle - Professor Booknoodle