RE: RARA-AVIS: Blues settings?

From: William Denton (
Date: 25 Sep 2000

On 25 September 2000, Mark Sullivan wrote:

: However, neither of these musics were of very respectable or even
: mainstream culture, always thought to be from the wrong side of the
: tracks. I don't really recall any hillbilly musicians in vintage
: hardboiled lit, either.

Spade Cooley, the country swing bandleader who stomped his wife to death in front of their daughter, pops up in Ellroy's stuff. Anyone who likes early country music or honky-tonk jazz should definitely track down some of his cuts.

: Are there even many (I can't think of any, but my knowledge of vintage
: HB could be a lot better) scenes set in roadhouses or juke joints?

Roadhouses seem very strange now. Driving to some place far away to do some drinking, then driving back, would appall people today. I do remember Marlowe and the Op going to roadhouses, but I can't recall in which stories. They knew how to handle their liquor, but I don't know about the guys who were dancing with the B-girls.

On a side note: I was in Jamie Fraser's bookstore last week--he's the main dealer in town for pulps and old paperbacks. I was looking through a box of stuff he hadn't put out yet, and found a Marvin H. Albert book. I set it on the counter to look at more closely, but Fraser snatched it away and said it was on hold for someone who'd seen him examine it when it first came into the store. Signs of a small Marvin Albert renaissance! I looked for books by Max Allan Collins and some of the writers here, but came up empty on all counts except for some highly-priced anthologies edited by Robert Randisi.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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