“How Deep The Dark . . .’

The Texas Gal’s broken fibula has healed enough now that she’s back to riding the bus to and from her job downtown. It still aches after a day on her feet, and she says the skin over the fracture point and the bone at that point – just above her ankle – are oddly sensitive.

I nodded the first time she said that, and I reminded her that the same thing holds true for me with the six ribs on my right side that I broke in that long-ago traffic accident in 1974. “Some stuff never goes away,” I told her. I didn’t expect that to be comforting news, and it wasn’t.

Anyway, her healing to this point means that I no longer drive her to and from work, and that means my afternoon routine of pulling CDs off the shelf to listen as I wait in the car has come to an end. One of the last CDs I played as I waited came from the most recent addition to the library here: Back To Your Heart, a 2006 two-CD package from Joy Of Cooking, the Berkeley-based band from the early 1970s that was fronted by two women, Terry Garthwaite and Toni Brown.

I’ve long had the vinyl and CD releases of the band’s three 1970s albums, and I’ve searched a little bit for a copy of the fourth release, 1973’s Same Old Song And Dance; some accounts online tell me it was released only in Canada and other accounts tell me it was released only for listening on airplanes. I only know for sure that I have not yet found a copy. And I’ve collected over the years some early and mid-1970s releases by Brown and Garthwaite solo and together. (I’ve written about a few of those post-Joy Of Cooking releases; those long-ago posts are here and here.)

So I was pretty pleased when the mail carrier dropped Back To Your Heart in our box the other week. The first CD is a collection of demos and studio recordings the band put together mostly between 1968 and 1973; there is one tune from the 1990s. Some of the seventeen tracks on the first CD have the full band; others have only the two women, and still others have various combinations of band members and friends helping out. It’s not a polished collection, but it carries with it the sense I’ve always had about Joy Of Cooking, the feeling that this is living room music, tunes that musicians could play at home.

The second CD in the package is a live performance recorded in 1972 in Berkeley, California. I’ve not listened to that one as much as the first, but I can say that Joy Of Cooking was one tight band.

What I’m offering this morning is my favorite track from the disc of studio recordings: “How Deep The Dark.” The spare notes in the CD package tell us that Garthwaite took the lead vocal and that although there’s bass and percussion on the track, there’s no guitar. The notes add, “Another deep dark song from Toni’s dreamscape.”

A Couple Of Notes
In a pleasant note on last week’s post about Boz Scaggs’ long version of “Loan Me A Dime,” reader David Young reminded me that the tune was originally the work of bluesman Fenton Robinson, who first recorded the song for the Palos label in 1967. I probably should have mentioned Robinson’s authorship in the post, but anyway, David’s note reminded me of the 2009 post in which I discussed that and other things related to “Loan Me A Dime.”

And then, I heard from Ted Leavitt, the CEO and owner of Ry-Krisp, the Minneapolis-based company about whose crackers I mused when the company’s closing was announced in March. The company is still alive, it turns out, and someone there must have the job of scouting the world of blogs to see if anyone mentions Ry-Krisp, because Leavitt stopped by here yesterday morning and left a message. He said, “We will be coming back with the product you love. Please sign up for updates as we move forward at http://www.rykrisp.com” That’s very good news.

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