Teece’s Bit: Takin’ The Easy Road

Time once more to hand over the reigns to my fellow book and music lover Teece for a wander through the dusty catacombs of his mind. This article finds our redoubtable hero waxing lyrical over a clutch of easy listening LPs beamed in from an altogether more exotic location than Rotherham;

Teeces Bit Header

Funny how the passage of time changes one’s perceptions. To this earnest young rock fan ‘easy-listening’ music seemed like the enemy. Bland background muzak with no redeeming features, right? I smugly dismissed the older generation’s middle of the road tastes as I listened to the interminable drum solo on side 3 of some heavy rock live double album. Fast forward a fair few years and the sides have been flipped completely. The creatively unfettered and joyously bonkers music of people like Esquivel, Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman now seems infinitely more inventive and original than the vacuous histrionics of corporate rock music.

Anyway, here’s a selection of album covers from my collection, with their promise of exotic locations, exotic liaisons and a modern stereophonic listening experience.

Byrd In Hawaii by Jerry Byrd
London Records, 1973

Byrd in Hawaii

The Magic Music Of Faraway Places by Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra
Polydor Records, 1964

The Magic Music of Faraway Places

Maria Elena by The 50 Guitars Of Tommy Garrett
Liberty Records, 1963

50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett

Tropicana by Hugo Blanco
Polydor Records, 1964

Tropicana

The Music Of Lecuona by Stanley Black And His Orchestra
Decca, 1959

The Music of Lecuona

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 14

Rev Fanthorpe Portrait

Sundays certainly come round quickly each week which is fine by me because it gives me a valid excuse to delve into my Badger book collection for another title to enjoy. This weekend’s volume is another by John E. Muller, better known as the trio of R. L. Fanthorpe, John S. Glasby and A. A. Glynn and carries the following tagline;

The man they had rejected came back to rule the new nuclear age

The cover features one of Badger’s trademark ‘floating faces’ which appears open mouthed and furrowed of brow materialising out of the clouds, hovering menacingly above a futuristic domed city.

Righto, that’s enough typing as I’m itching to get between the covers and find out where this story leads me. I’ll be back next weekend with another gem from the Badger vaults.

Reactor XK9 by John E. Muller
(Serial Number SF96)
This version was published in 1963 by Badger Books
The cover artist is H. Fox

Badger - Muller Reactor XK9

From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.10, A Final Bit Of Horror And The Supernatural

Having covered the great August Derleth’s anthologies (here) and works of pure pulp (here) I find myself still left with a huge pile of horror books with brilliant covers that I’d like to share. I can’t include everything I want in this final post and so I’ll just have to choose eight of my favourites from the ghoulish to the garish to wrap up this diversion into all things horrible.

I hope that these covers have been of some interest, particularly to my usual sci-fi devotees, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments then maybe I can post a few more at some other point;

A Stir Of Echoes by Richard Matheson
This version was published in 1965 by Corgi Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

Anthology A Stir Of Echoes

The Supernatural Omnibus edited by Montague Summers
This version was published in 1976 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Justin Todd

Summers, The Supernatural Omnibus

Horror Anthology edited by Syd Bentlif
This version was published in 1965 by Mayflower-Dell Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Bentlif, Horror Anthology

The Darkest Night by Peter Saxon
This version was published in 1966 by Mayflower-Dell Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Saxon, The Darkest Night

Tales Of Love And Horror edited by Don Congdon
This version was published in 1961 by Ballantine Books
The cover artist is Richard Powers

Congdon Tales Of Love And Horror

The Dance Of Death by Algernon Blackwood
This version was published in 1963 by Pan Books
The cover artist is W. F. Phillipps

Blackwood The Dance Of Death

The October Country by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1965 by Four Square Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Bradbury The October Country

Shock! by Richard Matheson
This version was published in 1962 by Corgi Books
The cover artist is Josh Kirby

Anthology Shock!

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 13

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

I do love my Sundays, a whole day of wonderfully slothful inactivity with nothing more demanding to do than casually read a book. I suppose that’s why I’ve chosen to work through my Badger collection on this day, each volume being short and light enough to get through in one sitting. This week’s selection was penned as ever by the Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, this time under the pseudonym Lionel Roberts. The ever-present front tagline reads as follows;

Man had always dreamed of immortality…. The dream became a nightmare

This is yet another Badger book with a great cover depicting a man wearing fur lined boots and a fetching gold belt as he kneels before a huge wobbly apparition of a stern face. Great stuff!

Time to dive in now and find out a bit more about this mysterious X whose face adorns the front cover. Comments at the ready.

The Face Of X by Lionel Roberts
(Serial Number SF39)
This version was published in 1960 by Badger Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Badger - Roberts, The Face Of X

From The Library Of The Unsubscriber No.9, More Horror And The Supernatural

Last week I wrote of my predilection for works of fiction documenting weird happenings and other supernatural occurrences (here). I started off with a selection of anthologies curated by one of supernatural fiction’s leading lights, August Derleth but this week I’m considering the work of pulp fiction houses, ever quick to catch on to a quick way of boosting their circulation figures.

The two publishers featured in this selection are far better known for their science fiction output than many of the other genres they also traded in but make no mistake, these books were all about bringing horror and the supernatural to the table.

Both Brown & Watson’s Digit Books and Badger Books were most active in the 1950s and 60s, pumping out titles wrapped in lurid covers at an astonishing rate. There are many, many hundreds of books printed by these two publishers alone out there for the connoisseur of pulp to collect. I have a healthy selection of both to choose from but nothing compared to what’s available hidden away within the secondhand market. I’m currently featuring Badger SF books on Sunday posts and am busy preparing a series to cover my collection of digits too if you’re interested to see more.

But I digress, it’s time to get pulpy and lurid with eight terrible tomes containing tales of unspeakably foul horrors;

Terror In The Modern Vein edited by Donald A. Wollheim
This version was published in 1961 by Digit Books
The cover artist is D. Rainey

Anthology Terror In The Modern Vein

More Terror In The Modern Vein edited by Donald A. Wollheim
This version was published in 1961 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Anthology More Terror In The Modern Vein

Phantoms Of The Night by Elliott O’Donnell
This version was published in 1963 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - Horror Anthology Phantoms Of The Night

Shadows Of Evil by Elliott O’Donnell
This version was published in 1963 by Digit Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Digit - O'Donnell Shadows Of Evil

The Unseen by Lee Barton
(Serial Number SN78)
This version was published in 1963 by Badger Books Books
The cover artist is uncredited

Badger - Barton The Unseen SN78

Supernatural Stories No.43 featuring Face In The Dark by R. L. Fanthorpe
(Serial Number SN43)
This version was published in 1961 by Badger Books
The cover artist is Rainey

Badger - Supernatural Stories SN43

Supernatural Stories No.89 featuring The Shrouded Abbot by R. L. Fanthorpe
(Serial Number SN89)
This version was published in 1964 by Badger Books
The cover artist is H. Fox

Badger - Supernatural Stories SN89

Supernatural Stories No.99 featuring Vision Of The Damned by R. L. Fanthorpe
(Serial Number SN99)
This version was published in 1965 by Badger Books
The cover artist is H. Fox

Badger - Supernatural Strories SN99

A Badger Book On Sunday With The Reverend R. L. Fanthorpe, Chapter 12

Rev Fanthorpe Frame

Right, that’s the cushions plumped up and a steaming hot cup of tea on the side table, now to select a reading partner for the next few hours. This week I’ve gone for a Pel Torro title which was another pseudonym for R. L. Fanthorpe and Harry O. Mansfield. This one’s called ‘Galaxy 666’ and has the rather exciting cover tagline;

“Man or Alien which would claim the planet?”

The cover is typically great fare from Badger as it depicts a rocketship launching at the side of a huge figure looming over the entire scene. He has an overly bulbous bald head (stylish haircut if I might say so), distinctly pointed chin and a look of extreme worry on his face. I’m not sure which of these are supposed to man or alien – perhaps the aliens are safe on their own world but the looming figure and rocketship look decidedly human to me.

There’s only one way to find out who’s who and which will claim that planet after all and that’s by cracking on with the book. I hope you’re still enjoying these visits to my treasure trove of Badger books as there are plenty more still left on the shelf, feel free to share your opinions with me in the comments section;

Galaxy 666 by Pel Torro
(Serial Number SF86)
This version was published in 1963 by Badger Books
The cover artist is H. Fox

Badger - Torro Galaxy 666

Another Random Act Of Generosity

Back in November 2014 I wrote an article about a series of Penguin SF paperbacks with eye catching cover art produced by experimental photographer Franco Grignani (here). I presented my incomplete collection of fifteen books as I hadn’t been fortunate enough to find a copy of the remaining volume anywhere after exhausting all of my resources. I had finally become resigned to the fact that this series would remain incomplete despite my best efforts and so posted what I had before moving on to other books.

It came as no small surprise then when I was contacted out of the blue sometime afterwards by my good friend and fellow blogger Mr Read who told me that he had stumbled across a copy of the missing book whilst browsing in a secondhand shop and had purchased it on my behalf. I was absolutely thrilled as you can imagine and immediately replied to his kind email to shower praise upon such a selfless act of generosity. Mr Read is of course no stranger to this kind of thing after having stepped in previously with a spare copy of The Abominations Of Yondo by Clark Ashton Smith to complete another collection (here). I am therefore forever indebted to this kindly gentleman who would take nothing but a mere book swap for his pains, I happily sent him a couple of Badger duplicates for his trouble.

It’s worth noting here that Mr Read runs his own very well produced and extremely erudite website/blog called Lankhmar – The Fritz Leiber Homepage which can be accessed here.

Say what you like about the denizens of the internet and bloggers in particular but I have never come across such a friendly and thoughtful bunch. I have never met Mr Read in person but knowing that he’s out there reading my words and acting on my behalf in such situations pleases me greatly. There are many others out there too who have taken the time and effort to react to my humble efforts whether clicking the ‘Like’ button or leaving a comment, it’s all the same to me and displays a tangible human connection through the wires. I’d therefore like to take this opportunity to say a big thanks to everyone who has responded in some way or another, I’m truly grateful for your participation.

Here then is the final piece in my now completed Franco Grignani puzzle, a book I never thought I’d get my hands on try as I might. Your comments are as always welcomed;

The Day It Rained Forever by Ray Bradbury
This version was published in 1969 by Penguin Books
The cover artist is Franco Grignani

Bradbury, The Day It Rained Forever

For the sake of completeness, here’s a recap of the other books in this series. Click on a thumbnail for a larger view;

Brunner The Productions of timeSaberhagen BerserkerLeiber The Wanderer

Harrison Bill The Galactic HeroPohl Kornbluth Search The SkyPKD The Penultimate Truth

Davidson RorkPohl Williamson StarchildPangborn The Judgement Of Eve

Brunner The Squares Of The CityPangborn DavyMoorcock Traps Of Time

Leiber Conjure WifePohl Williamson The Reefs Of SpacePKD Time Out Of Joint