Category Archives: Books
Dirtdobber Blues, By Cyril Vetter
Immensely talented and devastatingly self-destructive, singer/songwriter Charles ”Butch” Hornsby lived hard and fast. One of the most versatile artists ever to emerge from South Louisiana, Hornsby touched and frustrated his friends in equal measure. Dirtdobber Blues, a fictionalized account of Hornsby’s life written by his close friend Cyril Vetter, provides the gritty but engrossing story of this man, his demons, and his art.
Much like Hornsby’s life, Dirtdobber Blues consists of short, fast-paced segments. These vignettes juxtapose musical accomplishments and personal misadventures to paint the portrait of a truly complex individual. His all-too-familiar vices–sex, alcohol, and rock and roll–and his capricious temperament affected his ability to find success in the music business. Vetter celebrates all that is Hornsby including his off-beat humor, frustrating narcissism, and profound creativity.
In addition to Vetter’s lively and captivating account of Butch’s life, the book includes Hornsby’s sheet music and a CD with fourteen of his songs. Photos of Butch and images of his found-object artwork by photographer Philip Gould are also included.
Through the music, images, and text, Hornsby moves from the strawberry fields of Amite, Louisiana, to the bars of Baton Rouge and into the unforgiving arena of the recording industry. Along the way, Vetter provides glimpses into the musician’s inspiration–a tumultuous young love, a stint in Hollywood, his family’s return to Louisiana–and pieces together the arc of Hornsby’s life, littered with poor decisions, crowned by artistic success, and concluding with the redemptive power of love.
For more information check out the Dirtdobberblues.com website.
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The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town by Cyril E. Vetter and Philip Gould
Architect A. Hays Town changed the face of the Louisiana house, and this volume honors that legacy. Color photographs of numerous homes, including Town’s own, combine with illuminating text to produce a volume that captures the appeal and beauty of the state’s finest architectural tradition. 200 color photos.
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Fonville Winans’ Louisiana: Politics, People, and Places
Nestled in the marshes and bayous of Louisiana is a world unlike any other. The politics are as steamy as the weather, and the people and places defy generalization. In this handsome and entertaining book, Cyril Vetter gives us passage into that enchanting and wondrous world through a sympathetic and thorough rendering of the lifework of the internationally renowned Baton Rouge photographer Fonville Winans (1911-1992). Celebrated as one of America’s best regional photographers, Winans offered a view of Louisiana through a marvelous and eccentric eye, a view that will invoke nostalgic memories for Louisiana natives and introduce others to the magic and beauty of the Pelican State. Fonville Winans’ Louisiana contains more than one hundred black-and-white photographs spanning a period of nearly forty years and depicting the politicians, ordinary citizens, and exotic locales that exemplify Louisiana’s cultural richness and diversity. During his long career, Winans photographed virtually all of the colorful campaigners who have given the state’s politics such a spicy reputation – the legendary brothers Huey and Earl Long; the “singing governor,” Jimmie Davis; the archsegregationist and demagogue Leander Perez; the charismatic and controversial Edwin Edwards; and many others. Equally striking are the portraits and candids of everyday people: bartenders and beauty queens, oystermen and inmates, sharecroppers and salt miners, black, white, Cajun, Creole. Taken mainly during the 1930s…
Hail to the Dragon Slayer, by Arthur A. “Buddy” Lemann
Hail to the Dragon Slayer, Arthur A. “Buddy” Lemann, III’s highly anticipated memoir, chronicles some of his most compelling and publicized clients and cases from alleged Mafia Don Carlos Marcello to Dino Cinel, a former priest involved in a pornography scandal. Lemann adds the picturesque backdrop of a lovingly detailed account of his childhood in rural South Louisiana to an entertaining, sometimes disturbingly funny true crime narrative. Hail to the Dragon Slayer will appeal to lawyers and people in law enforcement and the administration of criminal justice, fans of true crime and pulp fiction, persons interested in the far-flung reaches of the Jewish diaspora, and cognoscenti of the Southern literary tradition.