New collections in the Houston Folk Music Archive

Over the past few months, we’ve processed a number of collections for the archive. Here’s a run down of the new collections.

The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python collection

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Still of Vince Bell from The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python

This collection contains digitized video, correspondence, and a master list of performers including performance dates.

The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python aired on KPRC from 1975 to 1980. It was the brainchild of Bruce Bryant, whose friend and long term production partner, Jim Barham, provided film shorts. The show aired on Saturday nights between Monty Python and the station’s sign-off.

The show featured film shorts, comedy bits, clips from classic films, and in-studio performances. The performers include but are not limited to Townes Van Zandt, Wheatfield, Hoyt Axton, Vince Bell, Ry Cooder, Frank Davis, Richard Dobson, George Ensle, Danny Everitt, Blaze Foley, Nanci Griffith, Eric Taylor, Emmy Lou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Don McLean, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Reed, Shake Russell, Dana Cooper, Doug Sahm, Don Sanders, and John Vandiver.

Bruce Bryant collection

This collection contains news clippings, photographs, audio, video, and memorabilia collected or created by Bruce Bryant. The video highlights work by Shake Russell, Dana Cooper, John Vandiver, and Don Sanders.

Born in Austin on November 10, 1942, Bruce Bryant moved to Houston in 1965 to work for KPRC. During his time with the local NBC affiliate, he directed the Larry Kane Show in 1971. He went on to create and direct “The Little Ol’ Show That Comes on After Monty Python,” which featured a hippie/experimental sensibility and showcased local and regional musicians. This series aired from 1975 to 1980.

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Still of Shake Russell, Pete Gorisch, and Dana Cooper from the Russell Cooper worktape

He also opened The Sweetheart of Texas Concert Hall and Saloon with Charlie Hargrave in 1974. It showcased regional Texas singer-songwriters, as well as some national acts. The venue closed in 1975.

Bryant eventually went on to direct live events, telethons, TV specials, documentaries on Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant. He now directs opera productions for television and live opera simulcasts.

Bianca DeLeon collection

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Photocopy image of Bianca DeLeon from press kit

This collection consists of correspondence, fliers, business records, audio, and digital images charting the life and career of Bianca DeLeon. There is correspondence and audio from songwriter Fred Koller.

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Growing up in and around Houston, as a teenager, Bianca DeLeon began performing in local Houston clubs in the late 1960s to early 1970s and became friends with others in the Houston folk music scene including Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Rex Bell. She moved with Van Zandt to Nashville. Over the next few years, she travelled between Nashville and Santa Cruz, California.

In the 1980s, in Santa Cruz, she formed the band the Mudflaps and started a logging company. After the 1989 earthquake, because of environmental regulations, she stopped logging and set up a fishing business. During this time, she maintained her connection to the Texas music scene continuing her connection to Townes Van Zandt and becoming friends with David Rodriguez.

In the late 1990s, she moved back to Texas and restarted her music career in Austin. She has released five albums, “Outlaws and Lovers” (2001), “Live: From Hell to Helsinki” (2002), “The Long Slow Decline of Carmelita” (2004), “Love, Guns and Money” (2011) and “Dangerous Endeavor.” She tours throughout Texas and overseas.

Bob Johnston collection

This collection mainly consists of live recordings of shows at Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant.

Bob Johnston (October 28, 1947 – May 24, 2012) worked as a volunteer at Anderson Fair Retail Restaurants. For almost three decades, he recorded shows at the venue. He helped start Camp Stupid at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Earlier in his life, Johnston attended Rice University in 1965. He went on to serve in the Vietnam War.

About Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant, taken from Wikipedia:

“Anderson Fair is one of the oldest folk and acoustic music venues in continuous operation in the United States. Located in the Montrose area of Houston, TX, it has been called an ‘incubator’ of musical talent for the folk scene, especially during the folk music heyday of the 1960s-1980s. Notable performers who credit Anderson Fair as an important part of their careers include Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams and many more.

Anderson Fair was founded as a restaurant in 1969 by partners Marvin Anderson and Grey Fair. In the early days, patrons would flock to the Fair for a lunchtime meal such as spaghetti or tacos. The club was housed in the Montrose area of Houston which was, at that time, an enclave for artists, free-thinkers, and war protestors. As a result, it was not long before the Fair became a gathering place for musicians and artists from the community to come together and talk politics. By 1973, the crowd that frequented the barn-like building on Grant Street began to turn the lunch club’s main focus towards live music. Gradually, the venue grew into a destination for singer-songwriters who were willing to perform for an attentive, albeit discerning, audience.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anderson_Fair_Retail_Restaurant, page written by our student archivist Claudia Middleton.

Franci Jarrard collection

This collection consists of digital audio files and images documenting the Houston folk scene of the 1970s-1980.

Born and raised in Houston, Franci Files began hanging out at Sand Mountain Coffee House in the late 1960s. She befriended members of the community including Guy and Susanna Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Don Sanders, and Vince Bell.

A few years later after graduating from college, she became one of the co-owners of Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant. As one of the crew, she organized and handled food preparation, specifically the spaghetti lunches.

As the 1980s approached, Franci Files married Stephen Jarrard and began to explore her own musical career. She teamed up with her husband as a duo, performed in the band Terry and the Telephones, and lent vocals to Richard Dobson’s second album, “The Big Taste.”

Ready for a change, in the early 1980s, Franci and Stephen Jarrard relocated to the Austin-area. They continued to explore their music. Franci Jarrard started to play the accordion and performed with Richard Dobson when he played in Texas. In the 1990s, Stephen and Franci participated in the strolling trios Europa Trio with Javier Chaparro and Troika with Ann Mesrobian.

Rich Layton collection

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Hot Air Band, L to R: Rich Layton, Jack Saunders, and Buddy Duncan

This collection consists of photographs, audio, news clippings, and poster/fliers documenting the Houston career of Rich Layton.

Growing up in Houston, Rich Layton fronted a junior high garage band, attended Lightnin’ Hopkins’ concerts at the Jewish Community Center and was heavily influenced by the various musical styles the bayou city had to offer. Ready for another Lone Star music adventure, he headed to Austin for college and earned a degree in Radio, Film and Television from the University of Texas.

While in Austin, he began playing harmonica with then-girlfriend Lucinda Williams. Lu convinced him to move back to Houston to join the burgeoning music scene at Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant in Montrose, where he became the house harmonica player.

In 1979, Rich joined Rock Romano to form “Dr. Rockit,” the city’s legendary rockin’ blues party band. Adding the Sisters of Mercy, the band played regularly in Houston, throughout Texas and along the Gulf Coast in the early to mid 1980s. Throughout this time, he continued to play with other performers in the area and beyond, including Buckwheat Zydeco, Rocky Hill and Alan Haynes. In 1984, he was named one of five Texas Harmonica Tornados by “Buddy Magazine.”

In 1996, Rich moved to Portland and broke into the NW music scene. In 2003, he formed Rich Layton and The Troublemakers. The band has released two albums to date – “Chop Shop Pit Stop” and “Tough Town.”

You can find a complete list of all of the collections in our archive, as well as new oral histories via the Houston Folk Music Archive research guide.

Memorabilia Monday: Reckling Park Groundbreaking

 

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Since the Rice Owls baseball team is about to battle Louisiana Tech in the first round of the C-USA Baseball Championship, it’s fitting to showcase a bit of baseball history.

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Almost 20 years ago, construction crews broke ground on Reckling Park. Here’s an article from the Rice Thresher about the groundbreaking.

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The same May 25, 1999 issue has an interesting story that maps out all of the upcoming changes to the campus.

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Memorabilia Monday: Giant Lens

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To capture the stunning images in her photographs, Vera Prasilova Scott needed amazing equipment. Here is one lens from her collection. In the finding aid, it’s labeled as a Karl Zeiss Jena 1.45-15 cm lens, but this seems incorrect.

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The actual lens is a Voigtländer and Sohn manufactured in Braunschweig, Germany. It’s numbered 8325, though it’s unclear what the number means, model no. or number produced.

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If anyone else knows about these types of lenses, please feel free to write more in the comments.

For anyone that needs a reminder, here’s an example of Vera Prasilova Scott’s work.

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Winifred White, 1931

Architects in the Archives – William T. Cannady (1937- )

William Cannady, Rice University campus, 1977

Professor of Architecture at Rice University since 1964, and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, William T. Cannady teaches both undergraduate and graduate design studios, focusing on sustainable design principles applied to real-world projects, and providing opportunities to the graduate studio for interdisciplinary collaboration with a wide array of consultants from outside the university and MBA students from Rice’s Jones School of Management.  In his architectural practice, he has designed and built over two hundred projects, and his firm has been honored with sixty awards for outstanding design. Cannady has contributed two collections of his ongoing work to the archives: his academic papers and his architectural projects records.

Will Cannady, President Kenneth Pitzer, William Caudill, and Thomas Vreeland at Rice School of Architecture Rice Design Fete, 1967

Cannady celebrated his 50th year of work as Professor at the Rice School of Architecture in 2014; I highly recommend this article in the Rice News, which includes a video celebration of his work. My favorite part of the article discusses his long work as chair of Rice’s parking committee: “I’ve enjoyed it because it’s been so hard,” he said.

 

Memorabilia Monday: Get Well Soon

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This elaborate get well card comes from the William M. Rice family collection. While it is unclear why he was in the hospital, Jonas Shearn Rice was in and out of the hospital from mid 1930 to early 1931. Considering that he was between 74-75 years old, he had lived quite a long time. He passed away on March 31, 1931. During his stay in the hospital, he received a variety of cards, many from the same sender, Corinne [?].

Because the daily “hopes” are bit hard to read, here is the full text.

Sunday: “‘The better the day, the better the deed,’ / So here is the best wish for you, / Here’s hoping you’ll soon be feeling fine / And just as good as new.”

Monday: “As soon as Monday rolls around / No trouble must you borrow, / May you feel better than yesterday, / And feel still better tomorrow.”

Tuesday: “Here is glad hope No. 3, / Good cheer it comes to tell, / And all your friends will give Three Cheers / When you start getting well.”

Wednesday: “The weeks half over, think of that! / Here is glad hope No. 4, / May you get better every day / And cheer up more and more.”

Thursday: “Here’s hoping all those other hopes / Have helped you in some way, / And don’t forget that all your friends / Are missing you each day.”

Friday: “The very biggest hope of all / Comes popping out today, / Here’s hoping you’ll get better soon, / And always STAY that way.”

Saturday: “No more hopes are on this card, / But thats no cause for moping, / Because the one who sends this card / Will keep right on a-hoping.”

Memorabilia Monday: Watch Fob

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Our Rice University Memorabilia collection has recently been re-organized. For us, this means it’s easier to find certain items. Today, it’s a watch fob from roughly 1928 owned by Edwin Ford Beckenbach.

Because you rarely know what those Rice grads did until you do a Google search, it turns out that Dr. Beckenbach did a lot. He stayed at Rice and earned his PhD in Mathematics in 1931. He taught at Rice from 1933-1942, although the teaching timeline on Wikipedia is a bit fuzzy. He went on to help found the Institute of Numerical Analysis, and under his tutelage the institute created the fastest computer in the world in 1950 called the SWAC (Standards Western Automatic Computer).

For a bit more of a personal touch, here’s a link to Dr. Beckenbach describing his life.

I, Robot

We are currently processing the extensive archives of The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) (see our previous post here.) Included in the collection are wonderful exhibition catalogues which give us a taste of previous exhibits/events at the museum. My favorite so far: “The Robot Exhibit: History, Fantasy and Reality” from the summer of 1985. Recognize a few of these?

Robot Exhibit photograph (cover of exhibit catalogue), 1985

The original exhibit, organized by the American Craft Museum in 1984, is documented here, with a few more images.

Our copy of the exhibit catalogue came with a Children’s Guide to Seeing, complete with a discussion of the robot revolution, discussion questions, and this friendly fellow:

Image from The Robot Exhibit: History, Fantasy and Reality, Children’s Guide to Seeing

Memorabilia Monday: The Screwpull

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In our Herbert Allen business and personal papers, we have the first screwpull wine opener sold. It looks like the inventor, Herbert Allen, bought his own device at Richard’s Liquors and Fine Wines in River Oaks. We even have the receipt from 1979.

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To learn more about the story of how Rice Trustee and oil and gas executive retiree, Allen, invented the screwpull, the Houston Chronicle has a great store about it.

Architects in the Archives – O. Jack Mitchell (1931-1992)

Jack Mitchell, 1992

O. Jack Mitchell came to Rice in 1966 to establish a master’s program in urban design, after completing graduate studies in architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a nationally recognized architectural expert and served as Dean of the School of Architecture at Rice University for eleven years (1978-1989), greatly expanding the school’s involvement with the Houston community. As Director of the School of Architecture (1974-1978), he helped create and lead the Rice Center for Community Design and Research and the Rice Design Alliance.

 

Jack Mitchell, teaching 1983

Sadly, Mitchell passed away at 60, in 1992. The Woodson has his professional papers and the Rice University School of Architecture papers collected during his tenure in the department. You will find a wonderful post about Mitchell in the Rice History Corner.

Memorabilia Monday: S.S. Seydlitz

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In June 1930, Adele Waggaman ’16 took a voyage on the S.S. Seydlitz. While she might have had a passport when she was younger, she did get one especially for this trip. Her passport is dated March 21, 1930. After her whirlwind cruise, she didn’t use that passport again.

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Below are images of some of the items that she saved.

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To learn more about the history of the Jewish wine company Kempinski, there’s a detailed website in German, but Google will translate it for you. According to that website, the Star of David in their logo was eventually replaced by grapes, after the Nazis forced the family to sell the company.

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Finally, there’s a photograph of Adele Waggaman on the ship.

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While the specifics about her life are not as fleshed out as her well-known sister Camille, Adele taught at Austin Sr. High School and retired in 1952. She passed away in 1977.