App’s Guitar Arpeggios and Chord Encyclopedia  

TK Smith

I’ve had these two books in a drawer for about 15 years. My wife, Jill, brought them home with a bunch of records that she found from at estate sale in El Monte, CA while I was out of town. I’d glance through them from time to time and wondered about this App person who put together these nicely done, educational guitar books.

TK Smith

Recently I’ve been looking through the arpeggio book so I did a quick google search which turned up nothing. Then I posted a picture of the books on Instagram and within a few minutes, Deke Dickerson responded with a link to a website for O.W. Appleton who is quite possibly the guy who should be credited with being the first to build a solid body electric guitar. Check out his
amazing story here.

Deke also said that he had a handwritten letter, from Appleton to RC Allen describing in detail about how Gibson’s salesman came through Iowa, saw his guitar and based the Les Paul on it!

TK Smith

On the inside cover of each book, there is a note from App to his friends “Hub and Evelyn”. With RC  living in El Monte, this is most likely how the books ended up at the estate sale there. Maybe they were all friends? I’m glad to know more about App and what he contributed to the history of the electric guitar. The copyright on the books is from 1970. If you ever see them, they’re worth picking up.

TK Smith

Motherlode Of Obscure George Barnes Recordings

TK Smith

A few days ago I was searching the internet to see if I could find any Western Swing podcasts or radio shows to listen to in the shop. Don’t ask me how but I stumbled upon a bunch of great George Barnes recordings on Mixcloud posted by Atsushi Yoshida. There’s so much great music in his Mixcloud profile that I’ve never heard before including some amazing 1957 recordings by Joe Venuti and The Blue Five with GB on guitar!

I didn’t even know Mixcloud existed a few weeks ago so I’m feeling a bit out of touch, it seems a lot of this stuff was posted a few years ago. I thought I’d share the link to Atsushi’s Mixcloud profile here:

A Forgotten Art – Letter Writing

TK Smith

From time to time, MB Wilson, founder of Embie Concepts, sends me the most interesting items from the past.  Last week, I received this letter written by Bob McKeehan, radio station KCNA disk jockey, in Tucson, AZ.  It was written to Slick Norris, who according to Billboard Nov. 12, 1955, was singer Jimmy Newmans manager.

Dated, March 25, 1955, there’s not an address number to be found on either the “to” or “from” address; simpler times indeed.

It kind of makes me wonder whether the daily social media updates and instant world news is better, or an annual letter and a weekly newspaper might have been the best, less detracting way to go? Thanks MB!

Tal Farlow with a GA-40

TK Smith

 Nick Rossi recently sent me this photo of one of my favorite players, Tal Farlow, in the late 50’s using a Gibson GA-40. Rarely is there an amp in any pictures of Tal from the 40’s and 50’s.

If you haven’t seen the documentary, “Talmage Farlow”, it’s definitely worth checking out. The film gives insight to his early work, his day job as a sign painter in New Jersey, and what got him back to playing live after he seemed to disappear from the NY music scene. It’s not a completely in-depth look at his career but with appearances from Lenny Breau, Red Norvo and other greats, it’s an interesting look into Tals life.

You can get it from Netflix DVD rentals here, or Amazon here.

Hometown Jerseys: Old-fashioned racing jerseys made in America

Image 1

Just over two years ago Jill and I wanted to come up with some new shop shirts that would be different than anything we’d made before. Up to that point, we did what most people do, buy blank, or plain t-shirts from big manufacturers and have them silkscreened. Even though we were able to buy Made in the USA blanks, we were never really happy with the quality and fit. Jill finally decided to just manufacture our own to get exactly what we wanted, a heavy-weight jersey similar to vintage racing jerseys.

The Smith Fabrication jersey was the first item she made. A few months later, my wife started her own business, Hometown Jersey. Today, Hometown Jersey provides all new jerseys and T’s sold on my Store. I’m really proud of what she’s created, not only for me but for anyone who wants their own custom felt lettered jersey or t-shirt.

This week, Hometown Jersey was featured on the blog of Hemmings Motor News, a publication that I’ve had a subscription to for years. It’s been funny how all of my hobbies and business collide. Below is a direct re-post of the article written by Daniel Beaudry.

Hometown Jerseys: Old-fashioned racing jerseys made in America
Daniel Beaudry on Dec 21st, 2015 at 4pm

This is the raglan-sleeve jersey that Hometown Jersey made for my car club.

A couple of us here are members of a group called the Barnstormers VSC (Vintage Speed Club), and when we decided to have jerseys made, we knew we wanted them to be homegrown and to have old-fashioned style and quality. So, when we saw how dapper the McCann clan of DeLuxe Speed Shop—Mark, Scott and Bryan—looked at The Race of Gentlemen this year, we asked them where they got their regalia. “Jill Smith at Hometown Jersey in Joshua Tree, California,” Scott enthusiastically replied.

Deluxe Speed Shop

Mark, Scott and Bryan McCann showing their team spirit in their regalia made by Hometown Jersey at the 2015 Race of Gentlemen. Above photos by the author.

After the race, I checked out Hometown’s website, and liked what I saw Read The Rest

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