Apr 25, 2011

DISFARMER The Vintage Prints

The legendary Mike Disfarmer is considered one of the great portraitists in the history of photography. As the resident photographer in tiny Herbert Springs, Arkansas, he captured the faces of the American heartland at a defining time in history in which the Great Depression yielded to World War II, and the sons of the farm donned their country's uniform and headed off to foreign shores. He was also a true American eccentric: born Mike Meyer in 1884, he legally changed his name to Disfarmer to disassociate himself, not only from the farming community in which he piled his trade, but from his own kinfolk - claiming that a tornado had accidently blown him onto the Meyer family farm as a baby.

All photos above from the hardcover book DISFARMER The Vintage Prints.
Previously, Disfarmers work was known only from a cache of glass-plate negatives that had been salvaged from his studio after his death. The book DISFARMER The Vintage Prints presents his original vintage prints for the very first time. It is the culmination of an unprecedented two year reclamation project in which a team of dedicated researchers scoured every family album in every home along every dirt road in Cleburne County, Arkansas. via DISFARMER The Vintage Prints

DISFARMER The Vintage Prints is one of two Disfarmer books in our collection and one of three hardcover books currently available which also include Mike Disfarmer: ORIGINAL DISFARMER PHOTOGRAPHS and DISFARMER: The Herbert Springs Portraits, 1939-1946.

Must have material for those who appreciate the dust bowl & depression era photography of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans & Lewis Hine.

Send a Disfarmer postcard e-card here

Guitarists Bill Frisell, who I had the pleasure of seeing perform live a half dozen odd times in the 1990's, recently released the album Disfarmer based on Disfarmer's work and performed the Disfarmer Project live to a slide show of Disfarmer's portraits. While initially drawn to his over the top, 40 genres of music in 60 seconds playing with John Zorn's Punk, Jazz, Speed-Metal, Film Score mash-up group Naked City, I enjoy and appreciate Frisell's truly unique and American musical voice explored on his later solo work. 

More info and song samples from Disfarmer can be found at Bill Frisell's website here. Scroll down the discography and click on Disfarmer. Highly recommended as the proper soundtrack to these wonderfull images. 

 He's a guitar tactician with warmth and a composer of unclassifiable songs. As a solo artist, Frisell is known largely for drawing upon the affects of Americana — folk, country and western, what-have-you — in ways you wouldn't immediately call jazz, but which draw from jazz in a way that implies no better descriptor. via npr.org

In 2008, a picture of Disfarmer was used on the 80th Academy Awards telecast as the alleged portrait of Roderick Jaynes, the film editing pseudonym of the Coen brothers, who was nominated at that ceremony for editing the Coens' film No Country for Old Men. Disfarmer's photo was supplied to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by the Coens after Jaynes' nomination. via wikipedia

Apr 22, 2011

More LITTLE FEAT In Concert... Pinkpop, The Netherlands 1976

Little Feat circa 1969-1979... so much talent, so underrated, so sorely missed. 
Lowell George - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Paul Barrere - Guitar, Vocals
Bill Payne - Keyboards, Vocals
Kenny Gradney - Bass (1972 - 2011) 
Roy Estrada - Bass (1969-1972)
Richie Hayward - Drums, Backing Vocals
Sam Clayton - Congas, Percussion, Vocals

The Frank Zappa connection.

Lowell George met Bill Payne when George was a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Payne had auditioned for the Mothers, but had not joined. They formed Little Feat along with former Mothers' bassist Roy Estrada and drummer Richie Hayward from George's previous band, the Factory. The name of the band came from a comment made by Mothers' drummer Jimmy Carl Black about Lowell's "little feet." The spelling of "feat" was an homage to The Beatles.

There are three legends about the genesis of Little Feat. One has it that George showed Zappa his song "Willin'," and that Zappa fired him from the Mothers of Invention, because he felt that George was too talented to merely be a member of his band, and told him he ought to go away and form his own band. The second version has Zappa firing him for playing a 15 minute guitar solo—with his amplifier off. The third version says that Zappa fired him because "Willin'" contains drug references ("weed, whites and wine"). George often introduced the song as the reason he was asked to leave the band. On Oct. 18, 1975 at the Auditorium Theater in Rochester New York while introducing the song, George comments that he was asked to leave the band for "writing a song about dope".

In any version, Zappa was instrumental in getting George and his new band a record contract. When "Willin'" was recorded for the Little Feat album, George hurt his hand in an accident with a model airplane, so Ry Cooder sat in and played the song's slide part. Lowell's accident is referenced on the cover art of the band's 1996 album Under the Radar. "Willin'" was re-recorded (this time with Lowell playing) on Little Feat's second album Sailin' Shoes, which was also the first Little Feat album to include cover art by Neon Park, who had painted the cover for Zappa's Weasels Ripped My Flesh.  Via Wikipedia

Little Feat at The 1976 Pinkpop Music Festival, The Netherlands via jnerrot

Apr 21, 2011

LITTLE FEAT Live in Studio... One Of The Greatest Rock & Roll Bands Ever

Rock & Roll Doctor and Oh Atlanta... Turn it up!

R.I.P. Lowell George and Richie Hayward.

Apr 20, 2011


The Erwin Cotton Mills Co. of Durham North Carolina was founded in 1892.  The two-story brick factory included a picker building, dyehouse, boiler room, and engine house. The mills had 11,000 spindles and 360 looms producing a variety of fabrics.
Rows of houses were built for the workers. By 1895, some 375 families were living in the mill village. The end of the line for Erwin Mills came in 1986.
 Erwin Mills Machine Shop circa 1967.

Vintage 1950's era ERWIN Work Jacket / Chore Coat constructed using BLUSERGE SANFORIZED indigo dyed selvedge denim. From The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. archive . 
The SANFORIZED Shrunk process was patented in 1928, and was first used by Erwin Mills in 1936 to make denim for overalls marketed under J.C. Penney’s Big Mac label.

The community of Erwin began with the erection of a cotton mill in 1903.
The Erwin Mills Company was formed in 1892 by a group of financiers who included W.A. Erwin and J.B. "Buck" Duke. Construction started in the spring of 1903, and the mill was in full operation by the latter part of 1905. The site had been selected because of the proximity of the Cape Fear River, the proximity of the cotton fields, and the probable supply of adequate labor.

The town which was constructed to house the workers of the mill was originally called Duke, but its name was changed to Erwin in 1926 when Trinity College in Durham became Duke University.

The mill hosted an annual celebration for the mill employees called “Overall Days” and from there the Erwin chamber of commerce started sponsoring a fall festival that is now called “Denim Days”. This festival is held each fall, the first weekend of October.

Apr 15, 2011

Rising Sun Indigo Dyed Canvas Outdoor Vest

Mike and company at Rising Sun just finished work on a new batch of their signature outdoor vests in Cone Mills Indigo Dyed Duck Canvas. I highly recommend anyone in the market for a great vest to take advantage of this opportunity.  
If in town, be sure to pay them a visit and pick one up at their haberdashery located at 107 S Fair Oaks Ave #109 Pasadena, CA 91105-2011. If not in Southern California,  phone them at 1-626-793-3479 or email info@risingsunjeans.com 
Below are a few pictures of Julian of Julian Boots fame in his indigo outdoor vest showing just how great the vest looks after 2 years of real wear. 
Looks like I'm gonna have to get busy wearing my vest as much as possible in order to acheive such great fade and character. I'm thinking of giving my vest a cold water soak, and wearing it while slightly damp to get the process started. Will post an update.
All photos courtesy of Rising Sun. 

Apr 11, 2011

LOFGREN 1920's Style Indigo Dyed Polka Dot Print Wabash Shirt

Just received my beautiful 1920's style Wabash Polka Dot work shirt. Details include
• Japanese Indigo Dye
• Chinstrap closure at neck
• Scalloped double back yoke and underarms with indigo thread ventilation holes
• Hexagon embossed buttons similar to those seen on vintage Tuff-Nut work shirts 
• Railroad style watch pocket with additional angled button hole for watch chain 
• Front patch pockets with authentic work shirt bar-tacking and stitching details
• Lower hem rip-stop shirt tail gussets
• Correct proportional cut and fit 
• Can be worn tucked in or left out for equally correct look

Fit picks to follow after a cold water soak & line dry.

Please consider spending a few of those hard earned dollars on some of Speedway Shop's great products. Both goods and service are top notch and it's a great way to help those in Northern Japan..ie we support John by buying some very nice goods while he does some great work helping those less fortunate in his area and country.
Facebook members can check out one of John's updates here. Also check out more great stuff at Speedway's online shop at  http://www.speedway-shop.com/ 

Additional angled button hole for watch chain can be seen on front button placket.
Nice subtle choice of indigo thread for the vent holes. 
Embossed hexagon type buttons.
Railroad type watch pocket  with nice stitching & bar-tack details.
Lower hem rip-stop gusset and union label type zig-zag stitching.
John Lofgren's nice take on a much favored United Garment Workers of America union label design.
Care instructions for Japanese indigo dye.
Cold water soak in the tub .
Indigo dye after minimal contact.

Apr 7, 2011


With practice for this weekends Formula One Grand Prix of Malyasia about to get under way I figured this was a good time to share a bit of what some of those in F1 are doing to help Japan and raise awareness.
Via formula1.com
Amidst all the excitement of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Formula One racing didn’t forget those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Taking a break from the on-track action, a host of Formula One stars paid tribute to the Asian country in a specially-recorded video message. Watch the video here.

I like the repeated reference in the video to "keep pushing". Spoken like a true racer.

Amongst the famous faces featured are Red Bull team mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Williams’ Rubens Barrichello and Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi. Martin Whitmarsh, Christian Horner and Stefano Domenicali, team principals of McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari respectively, also sent their best wishes.
Over the course of the Melbourne weekend, all the teams ran with bespoke stickers as a mark of respect to the casualties of the disaster, and a minute’s silence was held on the grid before the race started. 

Below are the decals seen on the Mercedes GP MGP W02 & Sauber C30.

 Let's all continue to do what we can to HELP JAPAN.

Apr 5, 2011

Lightning Magazine AMERICAN HERITAGE Special Issue Vol. 101, Part 3... 1950's POWR HOUSE Vent-Hole Chambray Work Shirts

Well worn with multiple holes and nicks, but holding up due to its true workwear design. Originally made to last twice as long and provide twice the wear. 
 Details include double fabric back, shoulders & elbows, triple stitched seams, vat-dyed to hold color after many washings and rust proof Gripper fasteners that were guaranteed for the life of the shirt.
Harder to find vat-dyed dark blue chambray with beautiful sun fade showing shirt was worn with overalls outdoors. 
Older MW POWR HOUSE • SANFORIZED • printed label.
Bare metal Scovill GRIPPER snaps.
Nice hand sewn primitive repair.
Green vent hole grommets or eyelets, either way...NICE!
Lower shirt tail rip-stop gussets. 
Same basic vat-dyed dark blue chambray vent-hole shirt as above only in deadstock condition with MW embossed  Scovill GRIPPER snaps and late 1950's early 1960's WARD'S Powr House label.   
More photos of this N.O.S. shirt can be found in a previous post here.