If the blues are your hunter
The sixth Tropical Depression weekly digest post
Here’s your sixth periodic digest post reviewing the last few entries and tossing in some recommendations, tidbits, etc.
This Substack has now been going for about three months. I keep thinking I have a sense of the rhythm of putting it out, but then that will change. It is maybe the irregularity of that rhythm that feels true to the spirit of the endeavor.
For a couple weeks earlier this month, my output felt a bit lighter than I wanted. This happens. There were reasons—the usual reasons. It’s amazing how much one small boy child can vomit. It’s amazing the time we’ll exchange for money. It’s amazing how white the page can look with a touch of blue. The coffeeshops I used to work at downtown are still closed because of the hurricane. Well, one of them is just closed for good. At the public library, there’s a man who has loud arguments on the telephone with customer service. He doesn’t think customer service is doing very well at their jobs, and he tells them so. “I’m at work,” he says, exasperated. “I’m calling you from work, right now.” Maybe sometimes he does work at the library, but I’ve only witnessed him on the phone with customer service.
When my grandfather used to take me fishing in the York River, he would cast his line and shout, “Go out there ranger and bring in a stranger!” Sometimes I would catch an eel, and my grandmother would cook it up that night, why not. I got a taste for eel early on that never left me.
Okay, thank you for reading. And as ever, if you’re enjoying the Substack, it would mean so much to me if you would spread the word to others!
Department of Updates and Corrections
The story about Stoney Edwards meeting Lefty Frizzell was even bleaker than I depicted in my post last week. I did a little more digging and found the interview in which Stoney tells the story firsthand. I had seen it as two separate stories in secondary sources, one that said Lefty was moved to tears by Stoney’s rendition of “Hank and Lefty Raised My Country Soul,” and another that said Lefty called him the n-word. As I suspected, it’s actually the same story. Seems to me like the more saccharine version I had seen simply chose to whitewash the details. I’ve updated the post with the dispiriting truth, see below:
When the song came out in 1973, Stoney ran into Lefty Frizzell at a bar in Nashville, according to an interview Stoney gave in 1992. Lefty was sitting at a table by himself, listening to “Hank and Lefty Raised My Country Soul” play on the jukebox. Lefty was forty-five years old and would die two years later; at that point, he was many years removed from dominating the country charts. Stoney walked over to say hello.
“Lefty was sitting there crying and he was listening to that song,” Stoney recounted to the Journal of Country Music. “He said, ‘Boy, I tell you, that song just tears me up. That song’s a tribute to me. I didn’t think anybody cared nothing about me anymore.’
“And then, out of the clear blue, Lefty says, ‘And wouldn’t you know it? It had to be by a n*****.’ Well, then he shook my hand, but I don’t think he ever did know who he was talking to.”
Friday, Feb. 24
On divine details and my favorite Wikipedia sentence.
Thursday, March 2
The ancients perhaps meant forty days as a consequential period of time, unspecified.
Thursday, March 16
Honkey-Tonk Weekly #6: Stoney Edwards, “Poor Folks Stick Together”
Sixth edition of a weekly column here at Tropical Depression. Every week, I listen to and share a country song and write whatever comes to mind. This week, we stuck together til the end with Stoney Edwards.
Saturday, March 18
Tropical Depression Movie Night: Interesting Ball, directed by Daniels
Wild 2014 short film from the directors of Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Sunday, March 19
Honkey-Tonk Weekly #7: Townes Van Zandt,”Heavenly Houseboat Blues”
Seventh edition of Honky-Tonk Weekly: On Townes Van Zandt, life, life after death, houseboats, and longitude. For Lowell Landes and Levy Easterly, in memoriam.
Vibrations from Behind the Iron Curtain
Third album from legendary Russian psychedelic band Aquarium. Occasionally unlistenable, but at times sublime, kind of a Leningrad Roky Erickson vibe.
Recommended: a book, a poem, a short story, a magazine piece, and a painter (the poem and the magazine piece require a Harper’s subscription to read in full). Also here is Kirk Douglas talking in French about Western films, enjoy.
Found text: Wikipedia sentences
When Hilma af Klint had completed the works for the Temple, the spiritual guidance ended.
The life cycle of the fig wasp is closely intertwined with that of the fig tree it inhabits.
There, the beings lament in the cold, going haa, haa in pain.
The movie is also notable for its multiple usages of the word ‘foundry’ in dialogue, with the instance count of two eclipsing all other contemporary films.
Although most former Athletics players shaved off their mustaches after the team traded most of their players in 1975–76, Fingers maintained his after signing with the Padres as a free agent in 1977, and he still has the mustache today.