Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Winter Warmers.

For many of use the it is bitterly cold right now with northerly winds increasing the chill factor. Meanwhile, Carol Taylor is experiencing much warmer temperatures in her home in Thailand, and not just because of the weather, but because she is toiling away in her kitchen to bring us something to warm the cockles of our hearts… I will hand you over to Carol to do just that…

I know many of you are in the throes of some seriously cold weather and what you need is something which keeps you warm…

There is nothing better before you go out to brave the cold than a lovely bowl of hot porridge…This is where the slow cooker comes in handy I used to put my porridge on before I went to bed and it was ready in the morning…Hubby was first up so he had his bowl and as the kids appeared they had theirs. The beauty of making the porridge in the slow cooker is that it doesn’t burn and it means you have no pans to scrub clean and it doesn’t matter what time the family get up it is ready and waiting for them… Hot and delicious…

I used to love mine with some fruit compote…I just used to cook some frozen mixed berries with a little honey until it had reduced nicely and it kept in the fridge for about a week…I would then have a couple of spoonfuls with my porridge.

This kept me going until lunch time.

Lunch…Would either be a jacket potato or a bowl of soup…

To cook a jacket potato:

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminium foil.

Scrub the potato clean under water, dry it with a towel, and then poke a few holes through to the centre of it with a fork.

Bake the potato for one hour or until tender.

Slice into it, fluff it up inside with a fork, and then add butter, salt, and pepper and filling of your choice.

Toppings for Jacket Potatoes:

If you have made a pan of chili and have some left over freeze in portions just enough to top a jacket potato… Or add some grated cheese and Beans or caramalise some onions and mushrooms. These are toppings which can go into a container and are quick and easy for you to heat up at work and add to your potato…

My favourite one when we were kids was a corned beef jacket potato my mum used to remove the flesh from the potato mash it with some butter and corn beef return it to the potato skin and cook it in the oven until the top was lightly browned we used to love them.

Soup can be made in advance and again can be taken to work and reheated or if you are at home it doesn’t take long to heat up…There is nothing better on a cold day than a nice mug or bowl of hot soup.

This soup is quick and easy to make either using lentils or I used to buy a soup pack of mixed lentils and add to soup this soup has a little kick to it to warm you up and can be served with some nice fresh crusty bread for a more substantial lunch. It is also lovely with some cooked bacon hock my kids used to love it and still remind me of how they remember me making it.

Spiced lentil soup.


• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large red onion, diced
• 4 stalks celery, diced
• 1 large carrot or two medium size carrots, diced
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• 26 ounces/737g fresh tomatoes, chopped – you can also use a 28oz can diced tomatoes and drain the liquid
• 1 cup dried brown lentils, picked over, rinsed and dried
• 1 tbsp garam masala or curry powder
• salt & pepper to taste
• 6 cups vegetable broth
• 2-3 sprigs thyme, to be removed at the end
• 1 cup kale, roughly chopped
• Juice of two limes, about 2 tablespoons, squeezed over.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Heat half the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes until the onions are softened.
  2. Add the tomatoes, lentils, garam masala stir together and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the vegetable stock, add the thyme bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
  3. Remove the thyme and remove about two cups of the soup mix and blend then return to the soup mix, add the kale and lime juice and stir to combine.
  4. This soup will keep in the fridge for about 4-5 days and is ideal to take to work in a container as it can be heated up quickly.

For the evening this meat free soup makes a tasty meal if you prefer some meat maybe add some chicken thighs for a lighter, healthier casserole just fry them off when you cook the onions. Myself I used to enjoy a tasty vegetable stew on a cold winters evening.

Beer Casserole with mustard dumplings.


• 125 gm pearl barley
• 2 tbsp oil
• 500 gm baby onions
• 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
• 3 tbsp of flour
• 250 ml of homemade vegetable stock
• 500 ml bottle pale ale
• 1 small Swede ( about 450 gm) cut into cubes
• 3 carrots chopped
• 4 sticks of celery chopped
• 350 gm potatoes halved if small or cut into 4
• 1 bouquet garni…

Mustard Dumplings

• 250 gm self raising flour
• 100 gm shredded vegetable suet
• 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
• 3 tbsp chopped parsley.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Rinse and drain the pearly barley, put in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes, adding more water if required.
  2. Meanwhile heat the oven 180 C fan, 160C and Gas 4
  3. Heat the oil in a flame proof casserole and add the onions cook for 3-4 mins…stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min.
  4. Sprinkle the flour and cook for 1 min. gradually stir in the stock and ale and bring to the boil.
  5. Rinse and drain the pearl barley then stir into the casserole also add the Swede, carrots, celery, potatoes and bouquet garni.
  6. Season and then bring to the boil reduce the heat and cook for 45 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile make the dumplings, sift the flour into a bowl then stir in the suet, mustard and parley, season and add 100 ml of water mix…It should form a soft dough.
  8. Remove the casserole from the oven and remove the bouquet garni, place 12 spoonfuls of the dumpling mix in the casserole return to the oven and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes.
  9. Serve with wedges of steamed Savoy cabbage.

Or if you prefer fish this lovely fish pie is nice and warming it can be made in one dish or in individual ramekins.

Fish Pie.


For the mashed potato topping.
• 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
• 2 tablespoons butter, zest of 1 lemon
• Salt & Pepper to taste.

For the fish pie filling.
• 500ml (2 cups) milk
• 1 bay leaf
• 200g frozen hake fillets.
• 200g frozen smoked haddock fillets.
• 300g fresh uncooked prawns ( peeled)
• 2 onions sm or one large finely chopped.
• 1 carrot, finely chopped.
• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
• 3 tbsp flour.
• 1 heaped tsp English mustard.
• 40g (1/2 cup) mature cheddar, grated.
• Juice of half lemon.
• Salt & pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot of boiling water or in a steamer and cook until soft. Mash the potatoes then mix in the butter and the lemon zest. Season to taste.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  3. To make the fish pie, poach the fish (not the prawns) in the milk with the bay leaf. When the fish is cooked, remove the fish and flake into large chunks. Reserve the milk.
  4. In a large, oven-proof frying pan fry the onion and carrot in a splash of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
  5. Add the flour and stir then add the milk the fish was poached to create a creamy sauce.
  6. Add the English mustard and fish including prawns and stir well then add the cheese and lemon juice and stir.
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Top the fish filling with the mashed potato and create indents with a spoon which will become nice and crispy in the oven.
  9. Place the pie in the oven and allow to bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow cooling for 10 minutes then serving.

Note: I don’t cook the prawns with the fish but add prawns right at the end when adding cooked fish to sauce this way the prawns will be lovely and succulent.

My thanks to  Carol for these winter warmers and it has certainly given me some ideas for this week.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol


 You can find all of the previous posts in the directoryCarol Taylor Food Column

We would love to hear from you… perhaps you can share your favourite winter warmer? Thanks Sally


#Kidsbooks – The life of Roald Dahl

Rediscover your childhood… Robbie Cheadle shares the life of Roald Dahl.. an amazing writer who fired the imaginations of millions of children around the world.

Robbie's inspiration

Roald DahlPhotograph from The Official Roald Dahl Website

On 13 September 1916 one of the most popular children’s authors in the world was born in Llandaff, Wales, United Kingdom.

Roald Dahl was born to Norwegian parents, Harald Dahl and Sophie Magdalene Hesselberg, during a period in history that is commonly known as World War 1 or the Great War. He had two older sisters and two younger sisters as well as a half brother and sister from his father’s previous marriage.

At the young age of four, Roald’s older sister, Astri, died, followed by his father a few months later. This left his mother alone with six children to raise, one of which was still in-utero.

Roald stated his schooling at the local Cathedral school for boys and went on to Repton, a famous British Public School near Derby. His interesting days at Repton are depicted in his autobiography, Boy: Tales…

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Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 120, “Cold & Storm,” #SynonymsOnly


Colleen Chesebro has an amazing response to her weekly poetry challenge and it is a great writing exercise as well as fun. Here is a snippet from this week’s challenge.. for full details follow the link to the post.

via Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 120, “Cold & Storm,” #SynonymsOnly

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Guest Comedian D. G. Kaye (Debby Gies) and another dip into my archives

Debby Gies is off on her annual migration to Mexico and will be away for the next two months. She did however did not want you to fell deprived in any way and has left you some funnies for the next few Tuesdays..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

D. G. Kaye – Buy:
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.comGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Thanks again Debby for finding us some great funnies… now time for a joke from my archives.

The following questions and answers were collected from O-level exams,  These are genuine responses!! (16 year olds)!


Q: Name the four seasons?
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink?
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed?
A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: What is a planet?
A: A body of earth surrounded by sky.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.


Q: What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
A: If you are buying a house, they will insist you are well endowed.

Q: In a democratic society, how important are elections?
A: Very important. Sex can only happen when a male gets an election.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.


Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q; Name a major disease associated with cigarettes?
A: Premature death.

Q: What is artificial insemination?
A: When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow. [He got an A]

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorised? (e.g. abdomen.)
A: The body is consisted into three parts – the brainium, the borax, the abdominal cavity. The branium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs. The abdominal cavity contains the five bowels, A, E, I, O and

Q: What is the Fibula?
A: A small lie.

Thank you for joining us today and as always we appreciate your feedback.. thanks Sally and Debby.

Something to Think About – The R’s of Life – Recognition – Our place in a modern society by Sally Cronin

In January 2016 I began a series that I was intending to publish as a book but since it has been languishing… I have decided to re-run since it is three years since it was last posted.

The title came about as I dipped into a Thesaurus to find some words for a poem I was writing. I noticed that a great many words that reflected (see what I mean) key elements in our lives began with the letter ‘R’. In the original series there was an introduction, but I am skipping that to dive straight into what I believe is becoming extinct in many areas of our world and our own lives…..

Simple Definition of recognition

The act of accepting that something is true or important or that it exists


As a young manager over forty years ago, I was tasked to manage an established team who were all at least twenty years older than I was. I had already run my own business and also managed good-sized teams in the catering industry, but this was daunting. Thankfully I had been lucky enough to have worked for a wonderful manager, when beginning my career, who had given me a valuable piece of advice. That was to identify as quickly as possible, what motivated an individual member of staff and to develop a relationship based on the recognition of that motivation.

I followed that advice all through my career and discovered that it also applied to working with those who managed me. Outside of my career it has certainly been an important factor in my personal life too.

Certainly as writers we face the challenge to get noticed on a daily basis, as our books or blog posts join the millions of other titles or articles uploaded hopefully to the various platforms.We know how special it feels when someone, likes, comments and shares our posts or buys and reviews our books, and that feeling of recognition is exhilarating and motivating. Along with Respect, recognition is one of the key elements to a person’s sense of worth. And this is irrespective of age, and even more important in my opinion, for children.

This is not to say that I believe telling a child or an adult they are fabulous every five minutes is an effective way to give them self-worth. It needs to be in response to an action or thought that is made by them. That might be small in the case of a child as they take their first steps towards the real world. But each recognition of an achievement builds their self-confidence based on their efforts that will stand them in good stead once they get to school and then in a work environment.

We tend to regard the act of recognition as being associated with the workplace, show business, the military and other public services. We are accustomed to watching award shows such as The Oscars and The Baftas where actors, actresses, directors, cinematographers etc, are recognised for exceptional performances or productions. We also honour the fact that those who serve in the armed forces, or are first responders, are awarded medals for bravery or long service. We are also accustomed to seeing those in public life or who have supported charities, mentioned in annual honours in our individual countries.

However, we sometimes forget how important recognition is for those who are much closer to us. Unfortunately one of the downsides to our technological world, is that it can be difficult to keep our daily lives in perspective and to identify what is the norm.

We have become saturated with the relentless onslaught of visual images presented to us on television, both in the dramas and the ‘reality’ shows. The one common theme is that they are produced to provide ‘dramatic effect’. Even the so called reality shows are edited to accentuate the extreme highs and lows that the human participants experience. That can, after an extended period of time, alter our view of our own lives.

In some cases of course, this is not a bad thing if it inspires us to achieve more, learn more and experience more of life. But there can be a detrimental impact of this in my opinion, and that is the creation of unrealistic expectations. We begin to feel that we are entitled to those extremes of emotion. That we have a right to live at that pace, enjoy the jet set lifestyle, wear the latest designer clothes, meet great looking people and have wildly romantic and passionate love affairs.

Real life is not actually like that. Neither usually are the people that are close to us in our family or amongst our friends. There might be the odd person who seems to be a little ‘out there’ in some respect, but generally we are surrounded by people who live, work and love in an attempt to make a good life for themselves and their families.

However, that does not mean that those around us do not desire recognition. Each day we perform hundreds of tasks, some are specifically for ourselves, but most are for others. It is these seemingly small gestures that are going unnoticed, and can actually result in disastrous outcomes for relationships in all areas of our lives.

I talked about courtesy and respect in the last post, but it is worth repeating, that the simplest and one of the most effective forms of recognition, for those seemingly small and inconsequential gifts of time or effort given to us, is ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Even if it is a family member who you expect to cook, clean up after you, pay the bills, pick you up from school or work and who is always there in the background.

We are all unique when it comes to which form of recognition we enjoy. This is where you need to get to know each person individually, and to be fair, most of us do that. We choose birthday and Christmas gifts specifically for a person according to their interests or passions. We might prepare a favourite meal to give them a break from cooking everyday, take them out for dinner from time to time, buy them tickets for a concert or sporting event, or plan a surprise weekend away.

Some people hate being publicly praised and prefer a quiet word of gratitude, whilst others like nothing more than a public pat on the back. In our personal lives the same applies and I have seen people cringe when their partner thanks them publicly, but glow when they are brought flowers or taken out for a meal.

However, as a relationship settles into its rhythm, it is very easy to slip into a routine and to assume that recognition of your partner’s contribution to your life, is automatically accepted by them, and that less effort is required.

It is actually very easy to take things for granted. I covered some of that lack of awareness in my chapter on respect. It applies to both our own actions and the actions of others.

As part of my role as a nutritional counsellor over the years, I have met both men and women whose weight and health issues are the result of a lack of worth. For example; we all laugh when we hear the expression ‘my wife does not understand me‘ but in fact that statement applies equally to husbands as well.

I have had many a discussion with an under-appreciated wife and mother who has dived into comfort eating to find the appreciation due to her. There appears to be a misconception about the role of a mother and a father in a family and their expanded list of tasks from cleaner to taxi-driver and breadwinner to bank. There is also the expectation placed on parents by society and dare I say sometimes their own parents about how they should bring up their children. Very stressful at times and sometimes thankless.

Certainly one of the most effective skills to learn as far as I can identify is delegation. When a child is old enough to participate in chores around the house it provides them with life skills that they will need when they are out in the world on their own. It is also is amazing, how  mutual recognition for the effort that goes into performing everyday tasks, forges stronger relationships.

Sometimes it is difficult to find the words or deed to show your recognition.

On one illuminating occasion a man came into my centre and asked for gift vouchers for my weight loss programme to give his wife for their silver wedding anniversary. I didn’t normally sell gift vouchers, as it is customary for an individual to decide that they needed to lose weight, and come to me of their own accord.

So I asked the guy in and asked him if his wife was aware that he was going to give her weight loss sessions for this very special milestone in their married life. He responded that she did not, but since she was always saying that she felt fat; she would love the gift! He also added that he felt unsure how to respond when his wife did go on about being overweight and was afraid to comment.

I suggested that he spend the money he had planned on spending on the weight loss sessions on a spa day for his wife with the full works from top to toe. Give her an anniversary card with some money to go spend in a clothes shop, and then for their actual anniversary, book a table in their favourite restaurant to show her off. Oh and not to tell her she looked ‘fine’ but ‘fabulous’.

He did come back to me a couple of months later and booked some weight loss appointments for himself, as he said his wife had started swimming three times a week and was looking amazing; he wanted to make sure he did not let her down!

It is not necessary to go overboard all the time with recognition, as it should be something that is regarded as special and heartfelt. Saying ‘I love you’ ten times a day can dilute the meaning behind the emotion, but you can show someone you love them ten times a day in many different ways.

Being invisible.

Earlier I shared the much over used expression “My wife doesn’t understand me!” and there is another you might have heard from someone you are close to “I feel invisible”. Those words or others that have a similar context, are signs that perhaps you need to take a look at how you recognise their contribution to your life. And if you feel that you are not being seen within a relationship, you should consider ways to gently remind those around you that you are very visible and vital to their well-being.

This applies to our extended family and friends too.. They are the ones who are usually there during life’s ups and downs, when we are ill, or when our hearts are broken, lose a job or simply cannot get up in the mornings. They are also there when we celebrate life in all its glory as we get that amazing job, fall in love, have a baby, grow old disgracefully!

What is important is that between those two extremes, when life is sailing along on an even keel for us, that we still recognise their value to us by random acts of kindness that make them feel valued.

Recognition is not always glitz and glamour on the worldwide stage, but is more often a quiet word or simple act of appreciation that will sustain and develop a relationship that will support and delight you for life.

They say that it is much more satisfying to give than to receive. Certainly gifting someone recognition will bring you far more in return.

©Sally Cronin 2019

You can find other posts in the Something to Think About series as well as previous chapters of The R’s of Life:

As always I love to receive your comments and experiences.. thanks Sally.

Healthy Eating…How to shift those Christmas Kilos…

Carol Taylor with some wise words about shifting weight healthily and she will be sharing some cook from scratch Thai and Indian food in coming weeks that will satisfy your taste buds and help you shift your spare tyre… I am sure it will be delicious. Carol will also on Smorgasbord every two weeks with her food column to make sure you never got hungry.

Retired? No one told me!

Well, January is nearly over and I think by now most of you will have finished those boxes and tins of chocolates or maybe you have been really good and given them away??

Who am I kidding?? Who does that???

Who’s waistband is feeling a little snug?

So now you have enjoyed that awesome Christmas dinner …Just to recap what was your favourite part…I just love bread sauce and stuffing with cranberry sauce and the Christmas pudding and cream…After eight mints you know the ones with the little hard pieces of crunch in them? Or the peppermint creams…

But I have now finished the red cabbage we have had a little portion with our meals since Christmas…

But it is now time to get real once again…Christmas just knocked me off my little healthy eating path..a few potholes…

car on road potholesWe can do it can’t we???

Normally I am fine…I walk every day or 6…

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The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition is coming!

Darlene Foster with news of the second edition of the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi… helping authors show instead of just telling… on pre-order at the moment so head over to Darlene’s for the details.

Darlene Foster's Blog

In December 2012 a good friend of mine gave me a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus – A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, as a Christmas gift. It was the best gift ever and has been a huge help to my writing over the past six years. Since then I have recommended this useful writer’s aid to many other writers.

For the last month, I’ve been part of a Street Team for Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers, who are launching their new writing book on February 19th. Because they are known for showing, not telling, they decided it would be fun to keep the thesaurus book’s topic a secret until the book cover reveal…WHICH IS TODAY!
It’s been hard keeping quiet about this, so I am thrilled I can finally announce that The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition is coming!

Many of…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King with Pee Wee Russell #Clarinettist #jazz

This week in the series on Jazz instrumentalists, William Price King shares the life and music of Pee Wee Russell, whose unique style as a clarinettist was later recognised as innovative and an early example of ‘free jazz’.


Charles Ellsworth “Pee Wee” Russell (March 27, 1906 – February 15, 1969), was a jazz musician. Early in his career he played clarinet and saxophones, but he eventually focused solely on clarinet.

With a highly individualistic and spontaneous clarinet style that “defied classification”,[1] Russell began his career playing Dixieland jazz, but throughout his career incorporated elements of newer developments such as swing, bebop and free jazz

Pee Wee Russell was born in Missouri and was raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He was encouraged to play violin as a child, but disliked it, moving onto the piano that he also found onerous, particularly having to learn scales and chord exercises. This was followed by a period of learning to play the drums, before his father took him to see a band playing locally, led by New Orleans Jazz clarinettist, Alcide ‘Yellow’ Nunez. Pee Wee was captivated and he decided that his primary instrument would be the clarinet.

He approached the clarinettist at his local theatre called Charlie Merrill for lessons until the family moved to St. Louis in 1920. The now 14 year old Pee Wee was enrolled in the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois and he stayed there for a year, although he spent much of his time playing clarinet with a number of dance and jazz bands. At 16 he began touring professionally in tent show and on the river boats, with his first recording in 1924 with Herb Berger’s Band in St. Louis. This was followed by a move to Chicago where he began to play with some of the better known musicians of the time such as Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke.

The Very Thought of You” is from the album “Swinging with Pee Wee” with Buck Clayton on trumpet, Tommy Flanagan on piano, Wendell Marshall on double bass, and Osie Johnson on drums. This song was written in 1934 by Ray Noble and used in the film “Lost Lady” (1934) starring Barbara Stanwyck. As you can hear in this piece, Russell has a soft, caressing, breathy tone which he produced in the chalumeau* range of his clarinet and his solo is beautifully complemented by Buck Clayton, muted and tender. He was a master of mood and quite effective with slow and mid-tempo ballads.

*The chalumeau is a folk instrument that is the predecessor to the modern-day clarinet.

His style was always distinctive and unorthodox and he was sometimes accused of playing out of tune. At 20 he joined Jean Goldkette’s band and after a year left for New York to join Red Nichols. While with Nichol’s band, Pee Wee also freelanced with studio work on the clarinet, soprano, alto and tenor sax and bass clarinet. As well as working with the top bands of the day he also began a series of residences at the famous jazz club, ‘Nick’s’ in Greenwich Village in 1937.

That Old Feeling” was composed by Sammy Fain and Lew Brown in 1937. The song first appeared in the film “Vogues of 1938” and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song the same year. Russell’s interpretation of this piece with his un-orthodox, un-clarinet-like tone, is warm, expressive, and musically intelligent, with a very natural sense of swing.

He began to play with Eddie Condon and would do so until the end of his life although he did comment on their association at one point which gives an insight into his lack of self-esteem. “Those guys [at Nick’s and Condon’s] made a joke, of me, a clown, and I let myself be treated that way because I was afraid. I didn’t know where else to go, where to take refuge”.

“Englewood”, composed by Pee Wee Russell is a strong blues. Russell gets to show how funky his clarinet can be in this video and the horn solos are brilliant, sustained by a stringy bass and slapping drums. Check out Russell’s high hard notes and airy lines. He uses his tone as a means of expression as he growls, squeals and then drops down into his lower register with an occasional sotto voce.*

*Sotto voce – In music, sotto voce is a dramatic lowering of the vocal or instrumental volume — not necessarily pianissimo, but a definitely hushed tonal quality.

From the 1940s onwards, Russell’s health was often poor, exacerbated by alcoholism – “I lived on brandy milkshakes and scrambled-egg sandwiches. And on whiskey … I had to drink half a pint of whiskey in the morning before I could get out of bed” – which led to a major medical breakdown in 1951. In his last ten years he often played at jazz festivals and on international tours and he formed a quartet which included trombone player Marshall Brown.

“Midnight Blue” from the album “Swinging with Pee Wee” 1960, is a happy blues which climaxes with a fantastic exchange between the horns. But before that happens Russell makes his instrument whisper and rasp in a very intimate and sensuous manner.

Though often labeled a Dixiland musician by virtue of the company he kept, he tended to reject any label. Russell’s unique and sometimes derided approach was praised as ahead of its time, and cited by some as an early example of free jazz. At the time of their 1961 recording Jazz Reunion (Candid), Coleman Hawkins (who had originally recorded with Russell in 1929 and considered him to be color-blind) observed that ‘”For thirty years, I’ve been listening to him play those funny notes. He used to think they were wrong, but they weren’t. He’s always been way out, but they didn’t have a name for it then.“.

“The Blues in my Flat” is from the Earl Hines Album “Once Upon a Time” 1966. Russell accompanies Ray Nance who was one of the finest jazz violinists of the 1940s who played in the Duke Ellington orchestra. He was also an excellent jazz singer as you will hear in this video. As for Russell, he begins his solo in a cool swing with a pattern of staccato notes moving downward and then veers off into the falsetto register of his instrument. He reverses the pattern and breaks into a delicate rush of notes that become intensely multiplied improvisational phrases.

Pee Wee’s  last gig was at the inaugural ball for President Richard Nixon on January 21, 1969. Russell died in a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, less than three weeks later.

You can buy Pee Wee Russell Music HERE

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About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION

Connect with William

Regular Venue 

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory:

Thank you for tuning in today and we hope you have enjoyed the music. We look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally and William.