Peter Gardner Reels

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Image courtesy of The Media Preserve

The family of Peter Gardner had a large trove of over 100 reel-to-reels that they wanted to digitize. We worked with them to send the reels to The Media Preserve and now the music on the reels is alive once again.

A little background on Peter Gardner. He arrived in Houston in 1963 with his then wife and musical partner Isabelle. She now goes by Isabelle Ganz, expect an oral history from her in the coming months. The Gardners traveled the U.S. and Europe performing unique arrangements of traditional folk songs from all over the world. In 1963, Peter became the Director of Adult Activities at the Jewish Community Center. He started the radio program “The Sampler” on KRBE in 1965, which he recorded in his home. Peter also hosted pickin’ parties there in the mid-1960s, which is where Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt met.

The reels themselves shine a light on the early days of Houston’s folk scene and also provide a glimpse into the programming at the JCC. Live performers include Frank Davis, Kay (K.T.) Oslin, Ed Badeaux, Carolyn Terry, Sara Wiggins, John Lomax, Jr., Jerry Jeff Walker, perhaps the first recording of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and other surprising discoveries like The Gospel Mellowtones.

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Image courtesy of The Media Preserve

It will be a few months until the items are reading room ready, but we wanted to give everyone a sneak peek of what is to come.

Oral Histories and Wheatfield Concert

The Houston Folk Music Archive has a couple of new oral histories that have been indexed and are ready for viewing.

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The first is from Walter Spinks. He tells about his teenage years going to Sand Mountain Coffee House, his duo Fat and Furry, and being a co-owner of Anderson Fair Retail Restaurant.

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The second is from Houston folk band Wheatfield. They talk about the band’s formation, becoming a regional powerhouse band, their lives post-Wheatfield, and the reformation of the band.

If you are interested in watching more oral histories about Houston’s folk music scene, you can find more here.

Wheatfield will also be playing at Fondren Library live on November 2nd at 6 p.m. If you are in town for Homecoming or just love live music, please stop by. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

 

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KTRU Tuesdays: Update

While we are not completely finished, we wanted to let our devoted KTRU-ers know that we are updating the news masters at scholarship.rice.edu.

We’ve used the University of Kentucky’s OHMS viewer to index the news masters to ensure that you can find what you need fast.

For example, if you go to scholarship.rice.edu, search for “news masters,” select News Master 4. and click the blue button labeled “Synchronized Viewer,” you’ll see this.

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You can click on any indexed part. You can then select “play segment” or “segment link.” If you do the latter, you can post the snippet of audio to Facebook or elsewhere.

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We hope you enjoy this added level of functionality.

Interactive Houston Folk Music Venue Story Map

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The Woodson now has a new addition to our Story Maps. We’ve used Esri’s ArcGIS software in conjunction with their Story Map application to create a map that follows the growth and decline of Houston’s folk music scene. Included are photographs of venues, posters, video clips of people describing the places, and some live audio.

If you haven’t checked out our Story Maps on U.S. Civil War Narratives and Journals and Diaries, you are in for a visual treat.

Memorabilia Monday: AIDS Quilt Commemoration

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In honor of Pride Month, this a section from a series of panels made by the Rice community to commemorate the display of the The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, which visited campus. The Community Involvement Center, the Wellness Center, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs spearheaded the display in 2001.

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Here is a photograph of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the Rice Memorial Center around February 15, 2002.

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The AIDS Memorial Quilt still goes out on display and is searchable by name. In this vein, the oH Project collection, containing oral histories of HIV/AIDS in Houston, Harris County, and Southeast Texas, has a large number of interview transcripts online. If you want to learn more from AIDS survivors and caretakers in Houston, it is a wonderful resource.

Spare Albums and Deserved Recognition

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A recent university archival collection yielded a large amount of LPs. Sadly, many of these are multiple copies. We have kept two for ourselves and will eventually digitize them. We’d like to offer the rest to you for free. Please email slg4@rice.edu if you are interested.

In other news, our own Amanda Focke won the Society of Southwest Archivists Distinguished Service Award. She is a long serving member, who has been active on a variety of committees, served as president, and is currently a board member. Congrats to her on such a well-deserved honor.

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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: 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

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.”