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THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH By Van Morrison


I haven’t been too keen on Van Morrison’s last few albums. They were too jazzy or too bluesy. But Three Chords and the Truth is a “goldilocks” CD: just right! I enjoyed the songs on this new CD. From “Dark Night of the Soul” to “Up on Broadway” the music fills your ears with great music. Check out the sample below. It’s hard to believe that Van Morrison is 74 years old and still singing wonderful songs! Do you have a favorite Van Morrison song? GRADE: A
TRACK LIST:
1. March Winds in February 4:36
2. Fame Will Eat the Soul 4:53
3. Dark Night of the Soul 5:58
4. In Search of Grace 3:43
5. Nobody in Charge 4:13
6. You Don’t Understand 6:18
7. Read Between the Lines 3:42
8. Does Love Conquer All? 4:43
9. Early Days 3:42
10. If We Wait for Mountains 2:43
11. Up on Broadway 6:24
12. Three Chords and the Truth 5:01
13. Bags Under My Eyes 4:07
14. Days Gone By 7:43

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #567: THE BEST OF MANHUNT Edited by Jeff Vorzimmer


Stark House’s anthology The Best of Manhunt celebrates the crime fiction magazine that replaced Black Mask and dominated the 1950s. Lawrence Block’s “Foreword” relates the circumstances that made Block a writer and how he got his first story published in Manhunt. Jeff Vorzimmer provides a detailed history of Manhunt with all its quirky aspects. Lawrence Block mentions that he consider’s Evan Hunter’s “The Last Spin” to be “a master class in the short story.” And, Block’s right!

Bill Crider’s favorite writer was Harry Whittington whose “Night of Crisis”–a story about a man who witnesses a murder and is then hunted by the killer–will have you on the edge of your seat. The Best of Manhunt collects 39 stories by the top genre writers of that era: Mickey Spillane, Fletcher Flora, David Goodis, Fredric Brown, John D. MacDonald, Gil Brewer, Donald E. Westlake, Richard S. Prather, Harlan Ellison, and Helen Nielsen.

For 14 years, 1952 to 1967, Manhunt published the best crime fiction in the United States. This excellent volume collects several of those classic Manhunter stories with their suspense, thrills, and menace. This wonderful anthology is the best anthology of the year! GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Foreword / Lawrence Block — 3
The story selection / Jeff Vorzimmer — 6
An introduction to the tortured history of Manhunt / Jeff Vorzimmer — 7
Introduction from The best from Manhunt / Scott & Sidney Meredith — 16
On the sidewalk, bleeding / Evan Hunter — 19
Mugger murder / Richard Deming — 25
Decision / Helen Nielsen — 32
The collector comes after payday / Fletcher Flora — 42
Try it my way / Jack Ritchie — 55
Movie night / Robert Turner — 61
In memory of Judith Courtright / Erskine Caldwell — 68
Day’s work / Jonathan Lord — 75
The scrapbook / Jonathan Craig — 78
Quiet day in the county jail / Craig Rice — 85
The set-up / Sam Cobb — 95
The double take / Richard S. Prather — 98
The man who found the money / James E. Cronin — 122
Self-defense / Harold Q. Masur — 128
Bad word / David Alexander — 140
Return engagement / Frank Kane — 149
Graveyard shift / Steve Frazee — 166
The little lamb / Fredric Brown — 176
The girl behind the hedge / Mickey Spillane — 185
Professional man / David Goodis — 193
The quiet room / Jonathan Craig — 212
Pistol / Hal Ellson — 219
Hit and run / Richard Deming — 229
The killer / John D. MacDonald — 265
The day it began again / Fletcher Flora — 276
Moonshine / Gil Brewer — 282
Rat hater / Harlan Ellison — 290
The last spin / Evan Hunter — 299
Night of crisis / Harry Whittington — 306
Pigeon in an iron lung / Talmage Powell — 320
Cop for a day / Henry Slesar — 327
Somebody’s going to die / Talmage Powell — 332
Stranger in the house / Theodore Pratt — 341
Enough rope for two / Clark Howard — 345
Body on a white carpet / Al James — 355
A piece of ground / Helen Nielsen — 361
Say a prayer for the guy / Nelson Algren — 369
An empty threat / Donald E. Westlake — 373
Frozen stiff / Lawrence Block — 377
Afterword: The graveyard rats / Barry N. Malzberg — 383

THE DUTCH HOUSE By Ann Patchett (Narrated by Tom Hanks)


The Dutch House provides a compelling tale of the strong bond between two troubled siblings, the house they grew up in, and the events that haunt them. The Dutch House tells a harrowing story of a dysfunctional family and the son and daughter who survive the wreckage.

At the end of World War II, Cyril Conroy begins to build an enormous real estate empire outside Philadelphia. Conroy buys the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs of Philadelphia, to impress his first wife. She ends up hating the Dutch House and leaves Conroy and her children.

Cyril’s son Danny narrates the story (and Tom Hanks captures the young boy’s personality perfectly). Danny’s older sister, the snarky and brilliant Maeve, tries to protect her brother. But the kids are exiled from the Dutch House up by their evil stepmother. The two siblings scramble to survive this shock and to rebuild their lives.

Over five decades, The Dutch House presents a story of survival. Danny and Maeve struggle to make their way in the world and to discover the secrets that their parents kept from them. I enjoyed the drama and the humor of The Dutch House. Tom Hanks’s narration kept the story moving. If you’re in the mood for an involving tale with mystery and humor and sudden sadness, give The Dutch House a try. GRADE: A-

KEIKO MATSUI CONCERT AND ECHO


Diane and I attended the Keiko Matsui concert at Buffalo State College (Diane’s Alma Mater). Keiko Matsui gets featured on Sirius/XM’s WATERCOLORS Smooth Jazz channel frequently. I have a couple of Keiko’s CDs. A minion outside the performance hall was selling Keiko’s new CD, ECHO, so I bought it. Keiko told the audience during the performance that ECHO is her 28th album!

If you like jazz piano, you’ll enjoy Keiko Matsui’s music. It’s light and energetic and fun. Keiko played my favorite Keiko song, “Forever, Forever.” Also, Keiko showcased several songs from ECHO and generously agreed to sign CDs after the show and take selfies with her adoring fans. All in all, the Keiko Matsui concert brought wonderful music and a talented player to Buffalo. Are you a fan of Smooth Jazz? GRADE: A (for both the concert and the CD)
SET LIST:
Bridge Over the Stars
Casablanca
Forever, Forever
Moving On
Echo
Marlin Club Blues
Moon Over Gotham
Return to Eternity
Safari
Spirit Dance
Unshakable
Viva Life

TRACK LIST:
1 –Keiko Matsui Unshakable
Alto Saxophone – Brandon Fields
Bass – Jimmy Johnson (5)
Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta
Guitar – Paul Jackson Jr.
Keyboards, Programmed By [Programming] – Randy Waldman
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano – Keiko Matsui
Trombone – Nick Lane
Trumpet – Walt Fowler
3:36
2 –Keiko Matsui Moon Over Gotham
Alto Saxophone – Brandon Fields
Bass – Vinnie Colaiuta
Drums – Jimmy Johnson (5)
Guitar – Paul Jackson Jr.
Keyboards – Randy Waldman
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano – Keiko Matsui
Trombone – Nick Lane
Trumpet, Soloist, Flugelhorn [Flugelhorn Solo] – Wayne Bergeron
4:14
3 –Keiko Matsui Featuring Marcus Miller Echo
Bass – Jimmy Johnson (5), Marcus Miller
Drums – Jimmy Branly
Keyboards – Randy Waldman
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano – Keiko Matsui
Soloist, Acoustic Guitar [Acoustic Guitar Solo] – Ramon Stagnaro
4:15
4 –Keiko Matsui Featuring Kirk Whalum Espirit
Alto Saxophone – Brandon Fields
Bass – Jimmy Johnson (5)
Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Tim Pierce
Keyboards – Randy Waldman
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano – Keiko Matsui
Tenor Saxophone – Kirk Whalum
Trombone – Nick Lane
Trumpet – Walt Fowler
5:53
5 –Keiko Matsui Featuring Robben Ford Marlin Club Blues
Alto Saxophone – Brandon Fields
Bass – Jimmy Johnson (5)
Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta
Guitar – Paul Jackson Jr.
Keyboards, Electric Organ [Hammond B-3] – Randy Waldman
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano – Keiko Matsui
Soloist, Electric Guitar [Electric Guitar Solo] – Robben Ford
Trombone – Nick Lane
Trumpet – Walt Fowler, Wayne Bergeron
3:51
6 –Keiko Matsui Invisible Rain
Alto Saxophone, Flute – Brandon Fields
Bass – Jimmy Johnson (5)
Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta
Guitar – Tim Pierce
Keyboards – Randy Waldman
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano, Vocals – Keiko Matsui
Trombone – Nick Lane
Trumpet – Walt Fowler
Vocals – Bud Harner
4:17
7 –Keiko Matsui Featuring Gretchen Parlato Spirit Dance
Acoustic Guitar – JP Mourao*
Bass – Rico Belled
Drums – Jimmy Branly
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano, Electric Piano [Rhodes] – Keiko Matsui
Vocals – Gretchen Parlato
4:57
8 –Keiko Matsui Now Is The Moment
Alto Saxophone – Brandon Fields
Bass – Jimmy Johnson (5)
Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta
Guitar – Tim Pierce
Keyboards – Randy Waldman
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano – Keiko Matsui
Trombone – Nick Lane
Trumpet – Walt Fowler, Wayne Bergeron
3:11
9 –Keiko Matsui Viva Life
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Handclaps – JP Mourao*
Alto Saxophone – Brandon Fields
Bass, Handclaps – Rico Belled
Drums, Handclaps – Jimmy Branly
Handclaps – Bud Harner
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano, Electric Piano [Rhodes], Handclaps – Keiko Matsui
Trombone – Nick Lane
Trumpet – Walt Fowler, Wayne Bergeron
4:21
10 –Keiko Matsui Featuring Kyle Eastwood Return To Eternity
Acoustic Bass – Kyle Eastwood
Acoustic Guitar – Ramon Stagnaro
Bass – Jimmy Johnson (5)
Drums – Jimmy Branly
Keyboards – Randy Waldman
Percussion – Luis Conte
Piano – Keiko Matsui
5:08

BUFFALO BILLS VS. CLEVELAND BROWNS


The 2-6 Cleveland Browns are 2 1/2-point favorites over the 6-2 Buffalo Bills. Someone in Vegas “knows something.” If the Bills manage to win in Cleveland today, they will have won four straight Away Games…the first time they’ve accomplished that feat since 1963! The Browns have lost four straight games and their Head Coach, Freddie Kitchens, is on the Hot Seat. “Experts” predicted the Browns would be going to the Super Bowl this year. Oops! How will your favorite NFL team perform today?

TRAVELIN’ THRU 1967 – 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 By Bob Dylan (3-CD Set)


The Bootleg Series offers plenty of uneven performances, but by and large the tracks on the just released Travelin’ Thru sparkle with alternate versions of familiar songs. For Johnny Cash fans, the songs on DISC 2 and DISC 3 will bring plenty of delight. Sure, some of the songs are rough takes as Dylan and Cash try to get into sync with the lyrics. At one point–after fumbling around–Cash asks someone to write down the lyric to the song they’re struggling with.

Dylan and Earl Scruggs develop chemistry as their music tickles your ears on DISC 3. The tracks were recorded on May 17, 1970 with Grammy Award-winning bluegrass banjo legend Earl Scruggs for the PBS television special, “Earl Scruggs: His Family and Friends” (originally aired January 1971). In addition, the package includes a 54 page booklet with photos and reproductions of handwritten lyrics. There’s also an Introduction from Ben Rollins plus two pages of thoughts on the music from Rosanne Cash. Music writer Colin Escott supplies an essay which includes information on the sessions with a complete track list with personnel. If you’re a hardcore Dylan fan, this is a must-buy. If you’re a casual Dylan fan, you can safely skip this one. GRADE: B
TRACK LIST:
Disc: 1
1. Drifter’s Escape – Bob Dylan
2. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine – Bob Dylan
3. All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan
4. John Wesley Harding – Bob Dylan
5. As I Went Out One Morning – Bob Dylan
6. I Pity the Poor Immigrant – Bob Dylan
7. I Am a Lonesome Hobo – Bob Dylan
8. I Threw It All Away – Bob Dylan
9. To Be Alone with You – Bob Dylan
10. Lay, Lady, Lay – Bob Dylan
11. One More Night – Bob Dylan
12. Western Road – Bob Dylan
13. Peggy Day – Bob Dylan
14. Tell Me That It Isn’t True – Bob Dylan
15. Country Pie – Bob Dylan
Disc: 2
1. I Still Miss Someone – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
2. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right / Understand Your Man – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
3. One Too Many Mornings – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
4. Mountain Dew – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
5. Mountain Dew – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
6. I Still Miss Someone – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
7. Careless Love – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
8. Matchbox – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
9. That’s All Right, Mama – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
10. Mystery Train / This Train Is Bound for Glory – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
11. Big River – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
12. Girl from the North Country – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
13. Girl from the North Country – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
14. I Walk the Line – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
15. Guess Things Happen That Way – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
16. Guess Things Happen That Way – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
17. Five Feet High and Rising – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
18. You Are My Sunshine – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
19. Ring of Fire – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
Disc: 3
1. Studio Chatter – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
2. Wanted Man – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
3. Amen – Bob Dylan
4. Just a Closer Walk with Thee – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
5. Jimmie Rodgers Medley No. 1 – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
6. Jimmie Rodgers Medley No. 2 – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
7. I Threw It All Away (Live on The Johnny Cash Show) – Bob Dylan
8. Living the Blues (Live on The Johnny Cash Show) – Bob Dylan
9. Girl from the North Country (Live on The Johnny Cash Show) – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
10. Ring of Fire – Bob Dylan
11. Folsom Prison Blues – Bob Dylan
12. Earl Scruggs Interview – Bob Dylan with Earl Scruggs
13. East Virginia Blues – Bob Dylan with Earl Scruggs
14. To Be Alone with You – Bob Dylan with Earl Scruggs
15. Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance – Bob Dylan with Earl Scruggs
16. Nashville Skyline Rag – Earl Scruggs & Bob Dylan

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #566: AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION: EIGHT CLASSIC NOVELS OF THE 1960s Edited by Gary K. Wolfe

I love these Library of America volumes! Of course, Gary K. Wolfe should prepare for some quibbles about his choices. I’ll start with Volume 1. I like Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade (1960), but I like Anderson’s Tau Zero (1970) better for this decade. Simak’s Way Station (1963) won a Hugo Award and is one of my favorite Simak novels. Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon (1966) is the expanded version of the classic SF short story. Roger Zelazny’s …And Call Me Conrad (aka, This Immortal) (1965-1966) tied with Frank Herbert’s Dune for the 1966 Hugo Award for Best Novel. But I would have gone with Zelazny’s brilliant Lord of Light (1967) instead.

In Volume 2, Lafferty’s The Past Master (1968) quirky novel is the weakest link in this collection. I can think of dozen better SF novels from the 1960s than Lafferty’s work. Lafferty’s short stories range from incredible to silly. His novel tends more toward silly in this case. Joanna Russ’s Picnic on Paradise (1968) features a strong woman character in a dicey situation. Samuel R. Delany’s Nova (1968) blends cyborgs and tarot cards in a satisfying mix. Wolfe could have gone with Jack Vance’s Hugo Award winning The Dragon Masters (1965) or The Last Castle (1967), but he wisely chose Emphyrio (1969) a more obscure masterwork.

All in all, these Library of America volumes offer an excellent representation of SF novels of the 1960s. The Sixties were a time of change and these novels certainly reflect those changes. Recommended! How many of these SF novels have you read? GRADE: A

AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION: EIGHT CLASSIC NOVELS OF THE 1960s (two volumes) Library of America #321 & #322
Gary K. Wolfe, editor

Volume 1: Four Classic Novels 1960–1966
Poul Anderson, The High Crusade
Clifford D. Simak, Way Station
Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
Roger Zelazny, . . . And Call Me Conrad [This Immortal]

Volume 2: Four Classic Novels 1968–1969
R. A. Lafferty, Past Master
Joanna Russ, Picnic on Paradise
Samuel R. Delany, Nova
Jack Vance, Emphyrio

HOUSES UNDER THE SEA: MYTHOS TALES By Caitlin R. Kiernan


I’ve been a fan of Caitlin R. Kiernan’s stories with H. P. Lovecraft elements for years. Subterranean Press has just published this wonderful collection bringing Kiernan’s Mythos Tales together in one place. I enjoyed Kiernan’s essay “Lovecraft and I” where Kiernan explains how she first became obsessed with Lovecraft and his works. It all began when Kiernan found a copy of Lovecraft’s stories on her school bus. She read it and was hooked.

My favorite story in this collection is “Pickman’s Other Model (1929)” where a struggling painter tracks down a mysterious woman who once modeled for the infamous Pickman. And “Pickman’s Madonna” will keep you up at night, too. Some stories only have tangential Mythos elements like “The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade” but are fun to read. If you’re a Lovecraft fan, Houses Under the Sea is a must-read. If you’re a casual fan, you’ll find plenty of stories here to like. GRADE: A
Table of Contents:
Lovecraft and I by Caitlin R. Kiernan 11
Valentia (1994) 17
So Runs the World Away 29
From Cabinet 34, Drawer 6 47
The Drowned Geologist (1898) 75
The Dead and the Moonstruck 89
Houses Under the Sea 103
Pickman’s Other Model (1929) 131
The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade 155
The Bone’s Prayer 167
The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur’s Seduction 183
At the Gate of the Deeper Slumber 189
Fish Bride (1970) 205
The Alchemist’s Daughter (A Fragment) 215
Hounwife 231
Tidal Forces 247
John Four 263
On the Reef 273
The Transition of Elizabeth Haskings 281
A Mountain Walked 289
Love is Forbidden, We Croak & Howl 303
Pushing the Sky Away (Death of a Blasphemer) 309
Black Ships Seen South of Heaven 315
Pickman’s Madonna 331
The Peddler’s Tale, or Isobel’s Revenge 339
The Cats of River Street (1925) 357
M is for Mars 379
The Dandridge Cycle
A Redress for Andromeda (2001) 419
Nor the Demon Down Under the Sea (1957) 431
Study for The Witch House (2013) 443
Andromeda Among the Stones 449
Publication History and Acknowledgments 477