Monday, August 29, 2929

"A Year In My Garden" book available

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Monday, August 15, 2929

"The Art Of The Comfort Room" book

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Monday, August 8, 2929


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 5 Joan Baez

At the same time Bob and I were discovering The Kingston Trio we were drawn to folk music.  Pete Seeger, The Weavers, and Woodie Guthrie had paved the way for our new favorite, Joan Baez. Most of all we loved the clarity of her voice and the basic genre of the roots of our country's music.  Joan had started recording in 1958 and her music spoke directly to us.

Here is my copy of her first album.

And here is what we loved.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 4 The Kingston Trio

As we moved from dixieland to jazz and rock BobTorrison and I loved folk music. We moved from Leadbelly and Josh White to Bob Dylan and  Joan Baez via The Kingston Trio. The group included Dave Guard, Bob Shane and 
Nick Reynolds. They started as a San Francisco Bay Area nightclub act. They had a huge impact   transforming folk music into a hot commodity and creating a demand—where none had existed before—for young men (sometimes with women) strumming acoustic guitars and banjos and singing folk songs and folk-like novelty songs in harmony. On a purely commercial level, from 1957 until 1963, the Kingston Trio were the most vital and popular folk group in the world.  In a 2001 Rolling Stone interview, Bob Dylan remembered: " I never really was an elitist. Personally, I liked the Kingston Trio. I could see the picture...the Kingston Trio were probably the best commercial group going, and they seemed to know what they were doing." Even some staunch traditionalists from both the urban and rural folk music communities had an affinity for the Kingstons' polished commercial versions of older songs. In her memoir And A Voice To Sing With, singer and activist Joan Baez recalled that "Traveling across the country with my mother and sisters, we heard the commercial songs of the budding folk boom for the first time, the Kingston Trio's 'Tom Dooley' and 'Scotch and Soda.' Before I turned into a snob and learned to look down upon all commercial folk music as bastardized and unholy, I loved the Kingston Trio. When I became one of the leading practitioners of 'pure folk,' I still loved them…"

Here is my original cover of their first album. When I spent the summer of 1960 in Honolulu "working"at St. Francis Hospital we were singing Kingston Trio songs on the beach in the evenings and later even one moonlit night hanging from the mast of John Nasse's sailboat drinking San Miguel.

And this is the original Sloop John B.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 3 Turk Murphy

Next  to The Salty Dogs Bob Torrison loved Turk Murphy the best. Turk was a San Francisco performer who loved the music of the New Orleans pianist, composer and arranger Jelly Roll Morton. We often bought albums together and this was one. 

Enjoy the sounds of Turk and Wally Rose playing  Jelly Roll Morton. I looked up this album and it recently sold on the internet for 75 cents. What do they know?

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 2 The Salty Dogs

The music of our high school days was pretty awful - Johnny Rays "Cry" comes to mind. At Purdue
Bob Torrison fell in love with the Salty Dogs Jazz Band. He would  talk of nothing less. As an avid packrat
collector myself I wonder where his collection is today. The Salty dogs, begun in 1947 in West La Fayette,
have been playing in one form or another ever since. Like many bands of that era they recorded in Richmond, Indiana. Starting out as a University club, after graduation they moved to Chicago and are still playing today.
Their roots were from New Orleans jazz and Dixieland music - King Oliver,  Jellyroll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke,
and revivalist Turk Murphy. Enjoy:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Don's Blog The Iceman Cometh 1-14-2017

We are in the midst of a spectacular ice storm. The otherwise dull deep woods have been
transformed into an icy wonderland.

Each branch and twig is encased in ice.

The Buddhist Prayer Flags are covered.

The trail through the woods is a magical glass covered treat.

But Ozymandias has not fared so well.

Bob Torrison Retrospective V The Music 1

Welcome to my Bob Torrison Retrospective 2017. Bob was my best friend in high school  who passed away prematurely and I have been sharing my memories of his contributions to my life with his daughters and family. 
Bob and I shared a love of music together as we grew up in high school and after. Bob like me was a pack rat who saved almost everything. I wonder about his record collection. Mine has thinned out but his influence on my love of music is felt even today. We started out with mutual affection for Benny Goodman. I had a 78 album recording of the complete 1938 Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Swing Concert. We were in love with Sing Sing Sing. Here is the classic. Press and  enjoy.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bob Torrison Retrospective IV Montezuma

After our marriage Bob invited Jan and me to stay at his cabin in the mountains outside of Denver and go 
skiing . Th cabin was in Montezuma Colorado and was in a dream like setting. It was a snow covered old time cabin with an outhouse. It was heated by an old stove into which we put large chunks of coal at bedtime. If you wonder about the cold, one night we left a martini on the kitchen table and in the morning it was frozen solid.

The midnight trips to the out house were legendary as was the view of the full moon through the open 
door  while sitting on the throne. Bob kept us going with games and an exercise piece which consisted
of a board and a solid cylinder of wood. He could ride the board with simple ease. We never did get the hang of it. His love of the place was obvious.

The stove actually worked pretty well and we successfully cooked some meals after Bob had to go back to work.

And the fireplace helped keep th inside somewhat warm. We kept trying to climb in the fire pit.

The skiing was another issue. The ski area was called Arapahoe Basin and was just a short drive from the cabin. We had never done it before and Bob was our instructor. He was a member of the Ski Patrol and was a real expert. We started on the Poma Lift on Bunny slope and after an initial catastrophe we were able to snow plow down the hill. The problem was that we couldn't breathe and had done no working out before arrival. The catastrophe was me somehow falling down with my head downhill and my skis crossed on themselves behind me up the hill. As I gasped for air I thought that this did not seem to be as much fun as I expected. We had rented skis and boots and the boots had a safety strap. On my second trip on the ski lift up the big hill to the gentlest slope available I looked down and found that my ski had fallen off and was dangling off my ankle. I was able to get it off and into my hands but the embarrassment quotient was off the scale as I was helped off the chair at the top. Bob was an excellent teacher but neither of us were very apt pupils. We went several more times and we were able to get down the hill (much to our amazement) but neither Jan nor myself were bitten by the ski bug. We were just too scared.