Today’s book of the indeterminate period of time is December 6 by Martin Cruz Smith

I’ve just finished reading this book and enjoyed it so much that I’ve decided to add another stream to this blog.

Martin Cruz Smith has taken his readers to Russia and Cuba in his earlier books, and here he takes us to Japan on the eve of Pearl Harbour. The research behind this excellent writing really brings the time and place to life.

I say:

Imagine Casablanca’s Rick Blaine transported to Tokyo and reborn as Harry Niles, the Japanese self-raised son of American missionaries. A good man behind the facade of a gambler.


Today’s album of the day is Sheik Yerbouti by Frank Zappa

As suggested yesterday, it’s a Frank Zappa day. Another difficult choice involving a double album and a triple album rock opera both released in 1979. The second, Joe’s Garage was definitely in the running, but happy memories in and around Sheik Yerbouti tip the scales in that direction. This was Zappa’s first album released under his own label, which gave him the freedom to thoroughly indulge his humour as well as his musicianship. Mostly live recordings overdubbed in the studio, I love it all!

My favourite tracks:

  • Dancing Fool
  • Jewish Princess


Today’s album of the day is Ry Cooder by Ry Cooder

For his first album, Ryland pulled together a blend of blues and folk dating from the ’20s up to the current time (1969). Songs by Woody Guthrie, Blind Blake, Sleepy John Estes, Leadbelly, Blind Willie Johnson,and Randy Newman. He also included an instrumental track of his own, Available Space, as the opening track. Not just guitar (both picking and sliding), but mandolin and bass too. A wonderful trip through early American music – and an Airstream on the cover!

My favourite tracks:

  • Available Space
  • Dark is the Night

I almost had Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band : Safe as Milk as today’s AotD, but half way through listening to it I realised that it was Ry Cooder’s guitar that I was enjoying the most so there was a switch. Captain Beefheart was always a hard sell anyway, and looking back I find that I prefer his buddy Frank Zappa’s similarly offbeat schtick. Something for tomorrow?


Today’s album of the day is The Real Folk Blues by Howlin’ Wolf

Chester Burnett ranks as the most intimidating performer I’ve ever seen! Originally released in 1966, this album contains many of Wolf’s singles from ’56 to ’66. Every track is a classic – powerful singing and the sublime guitar of Hubert Sumlin.

My favourite tracks:

  • Sittin’ On Top of the World
  • Killing Floor
  • Taildragger
  • Three Hundred Pounds of Joy


Today’s album of the day is Howlin’ Wolf, aka “The Rockingchair Album” by Howlin’ Wolf

The Blues found me in 1962 with this album. I couldn’t afford to buy an album back then so I bought the EP instead – it had all my favourite tracks anyway. While I bought the album later, I still have that EP fifty years later, one of the very few things I brought with me when I emigrated that I still have.

My favourite tracks:

  • Smokestack Lightnin’
  • Howlin’ for My Baby
  • Going Down Slow
  • You’ll Be Mine
    youtube   youtube

Bonus Day: I didn’t post an Album of the Day yesterday as I was on the road all day driving to and from Toronto to pick up John via a stop in Markam to visit Kate and Nolan (and Leah and Grant.) I was driving Steph & John’s Subaru so I had Sirius XM channel 070 (BB King’s Bluesville) on for most of the trip, and I’m musically back to my early Blues days. My Twofer is a pair of early Howlin’ Wolf albums.

Aside: My favourite lyric heard yesterday was from Doug MacLeod’s song $50 Wig … “Don’t let the door hit you where the dog shoulda bit you.