A Virginia-based podcast that discusses history, music, and film.
American Rambler with Colin Woodward Colin Woodward
A Virginia-based podcast that discusses history, music, and film.
Season 7, Episode 4: Greg Wells of Records and Relics
Greg Wells is a hustler. The owner of Records and Relics in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond, he's been buying and selling vinyl for a long time. As he tells Colin, he sold sold records at antique stores, vinyl shows, and on Ebay before he decided to get his own place.
Greg has been in Richmond for over 25 years, and he's seen the city change quite a bit. But he's always been devoted to vinyl. Now he's the owner of a thriving business in a neighborhood humming with coffee shops, bars, and restaurants.
An in-store podcast, Greg walks Colin through the process of setting up a small business, dealing with Covid, and not becoming a "record store guy" cliche.
So, stop by the shop! Records and Relics is open Friday-Sunday, 12-5. Used vinyl only, but Greg is open to buying and trades. You can follow the store here:
Season 7, Episode 3: David Vaught on Pitcher Gaylord Perry
A professor at Texas A & M since the late-90s, David Vaught is a longtime baseball fan. A native of the Bay Area, he visited ever-chilly Candlestick Park as a kid and remembered seeing Perry pitch. But while he has loved the Giants, Spitter: Baseball's Notorious Gaylord Perry, grew out of a previous book on baseball.
San Francisco was just one of many teams Perry played for, including the Indians, Rangers, Yankees, Braves, Royals, and Mariners. As David shows in his terrific biography, Gaylord Perry wasn't just notorious for his use of the spitter, he was also a fierce competitor and often difficult. Perry was a terror to batters as well as the men in the field behind him, management, and owners. Much of his competitive fire was rooted in his hard upbringing in rural eastern North Carolina, where he was the son of tobacco sharecroppers. He was also the younger brother of Jim Perry, who excelled as a major league pitcher.
What are we to make of Perry? Did he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? A known cheater who lied about his cheating, Perry nevertheless compiled impressive career stats, including more than 300 wins, two Cy Youngs (one in each league), and more than 3,500 strikeouts. He was admired for hiding his "hard slider" from the prying eyes of umpires for many years. But how do we evaluate him in the context of baseball ethics, where rules are often abused and ever changing? Perry was controversial, but should we condemn him? Whatever we make of Perry, David Vaught has written a compelling and well researched book.
Buy David's book here: https://www.amazon.com/Spitter-Baseballs-Notorious-Swaim-Paup-sponsored/dp/1648430643/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3100EF75O41XU&keywords=david+vaught&qid=1674659757&sprefix=david+vaught%2Caps%2C74&sr=8-1
Season 7, Episode 2: Bob Beatty and the Allman Brothers Band
Play All Night!: Duane Allman and the Journey to Fillmore East is Bob Beatty's most recent book. Bob, however, has been an Allman Brothers fan for a long time. Like the Allmans, Bob has Florida roots. He now lives and works in Tennessee, where he got his Ph.D. and is a history and museum consultant.
Bob's fast-reading book looks at the breakout album for the Allmans. Released in 1971, Live at Fillmore East is one of the best live albums ever, and it brought the band to a mass audience. It features the classic Allmans lineup, with Duane Allman and Dickey Betts on guitar, Gregg Allman on vocals and organ, Berry Oakley on bass, and Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson on drums.
Unfortunately, though Duane started the Allman Brothers Band, his time with the group was relatively brief. He died in a motorcycle accident only a few months after At Fillmore East came out. Duane was just 24, and there seemed no limit to what he could do as a guitarist.
As Bob makes clear, with Duane at the helm, the Allmans were closer to blues and acid rock than the more laid back band they became later. The radio friendly mid-70s sound of the ABB was the result of Dickey Betts writing more country-flavored tunes. Nothing wrong with that. But the Duane period has a tougher quality.
Bob and Colin talk about how the Allmans formed, why the Fillmore album took off with listeners, and how the band continued to evolve amid lineup changes and inner-tensions.
Season 7, Episode 1: John A. Kirk and the Arkansas Rockefeller
John Kirk is English, but he has lived in Arkansas for more than ten years. Raised in the Manchester area, his fascination with the US began as a graduate student, where he studied the civil rights movement. He is the author and editor of ten books, and his newest is on soldier, philanthropist, and governor Winthrop Rockefeller (yes, that Rockefeller family). It is the first fullscale scholarly treatment of WR's early life.
In Arkansas, the legacy of Winthrop Rockefeller is a palpable one. Elected in 1966, WR was the first Republican Arkansas governor since Reconstruction. The fact that it took 90 years for that to happen says a lot about the political culture in which he lived. His journey from New York City to Little Rock may seem odd for someone of his stature, but in many ways it was an old American story of someone starting fresh by going west.
WR was a reformer, but as John shows, the governor was always progressive when it came to civil rights. A flawed man, to be sure, WR nevertheless used his money and family name for good. While he struggled as a student at Yale, he felt comfortable in the oil fields of the 1930s and as an officer during World War II, where he was wounded in the Pacific during a kamikaze attack.
John's book stops in 1956 when WR arrives in Arkansas. The book provides a detailed and penetrating look at Rockefeller, and it sets the stage for what will no doubt be an engaging and well-researched second volume.
Season 6, Episode 16: Bradley J. Sommer
Bradley J. Sommer is a native of Ohio who received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2021. In Pittsburgh, he studied under labor historian Joe William Trotter. His dissertation was “Tomorrow Never Came: Race, Class, Reform, Conflict, and the Decline of an Industrial City, Toledo, Ohio, 1930-1980,” which he is now revising into a book.
Ohio is one of the country’s most populous states, a “purple” place that has usually determined the outcome of the presidential elections (though not in 2020, when Ohio went overwhelmingly for Trump). Brad talks about the difference between being a “de-industrial” and “post-industrial” city. And though Ohio has had its problems, none of its cities have been in crisis the way Detroit or Baltimore have.
Brad is also on the vicious and unforgiving job market, so if you’re looking for a good historian, let him know. You can read more about him at https://bradleyjsommer.com. You can also follow him at @DrHistoryBrad on Twitter.
Season 6, Episode 15: Edward T. O'Donnell
Edward T. O'Donnell is a professor of history at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. A native of the Bay State, Ed completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University. For years, he was the host of the history podcast In the Past Lane, whose guests included Ken Burns.
Ed has stayed focused throughout his career. At Columbia, he gave history tours around lower Manhattan, while studying the labor movement in America. He also started a family. This type of focus has allowed helped him publish several books: 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about Irish- American History; Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum; Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality; and Visions of America. He is on sabbatical now, where he hopes to finish a new writing project. Unfortunately, he is no longer podcasting. But he has some interesting things to say about the process and the guests he talked with.
Good stuff with VA history
Interesting podcast and interesting topics!
Love the fact that they discuss VA history!
It’s definitely worth the download.
With this podcast you not only get a very engaging host, but also a variety of interesting guests and subject matter! Highly recommended!