In Cold Blood, 50 Years On : The Guardian takes a look at Holcomb, Kansas 50 years (to the day) after the crimes depicted in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.
For lovers of old-time, mountain banjo styles and songs, Roscoe Holcomb and Dock Boggs are revered figures. To many, however, plucker and singer David Akeman remains uncelebrated or unknown, even by his stage name of Stringbean. Is it because he was for a time actually famous as a country music showbiz staple, and therefore lacks folk cred? Or maybe the purists just can't get with those low-hanging pants the man was known for, his original hillbilly homeboy styling? Or was it cause on any given tune his left hand would likely be off the neck of the banjo more than on it? Whatever the reason, it's time folks took a new look at Stringbean. After all, the lines between folk and commercial styles have always been blurry in American music. Let's hear it for Stringbeeeeeeeaaan! [more inside]
In Cold Blood. Forty-five years ago today, the bodies of four members of the Clutter family were discovered in Holcomb, Kansas. The killers made off with $40 and a transistor radio. This New York Times report inspired Truman Capote to write what he called the first "non-fiction" novel. There are other accounts of the murders, including one that says the book is not honest. In 1996, Capote and George Plimpton discussed creative journalism and the book in a long interview. (Plimpton's own biography of Capote details some of the liberties Capote took.) [All links SFW.]