Thursday, May 12, 2005

New Worlds for Nellie

One of my favorite books - possibly my favorite book - as a child was Rowland Emett's New World for Nellie, a story about a steam locomotive that rode the rails, flew through the air, dove under the sea, and mined for gold. (It wasn't until 30 years later that it finally sank in that "World" was singular! Now that I think about it, perhaps the book was about Nellie coming to the New World - America. Time to read the book again?) I must have spent countless hours poring over the details in the drawings on each page - heaven!

I was very excited to discover the other day a web-based slide show of illustrations from the book. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dennis!

Title Page

Also see Emettplus Online Photos, an on-line photo gallery of assorted Rowland Emett projects, prints, and paraphernalia.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Doctor Who's Blues?

Dr. Alexey Agranovsky, that's who! Biochemist by day, bluesman at night.

I was channel surfing on cable TV and came across Born in the USSR, a Russian talk show, featuring an acoustic guitar player and a harmonica player doing a blues song ("Good Ole Wagon"?).

Frantic searching on the Internet the next day revealed that the singer/guitarist was Dr. Alexey Agranovsky of the band Chernyi Bhleb (Black Bread). Dr. Agranovsky has an infectious smile and looks like a cross between Barry Manilow and Dr Who:

Dr. Alexey Agranovsky

The harp player appears to have been Alex Bratetsky, judging from the pictures on Agranovsky's web site. After some banter (in Russian) with the host of Born in the USSR and some phone calls from the audience, Agranovsky and Bratetsky played T. Bone Walker's classic "Stormy Monday Blues". Interestingly, Bratetsky played his harp into a tin cup!

Dr. Agranovsky has a good bit of music online. English is not his first language, but he has a warble in his voice that really hits the spot. All the songs are blues and in English, except for "Слишком поздно (Slishkom pozdno)", which is highlighted by some beautiful slide guitar.

Well worth a listen ... make that repeated listenings!