Hot CDs

From the fifties to the seventies, producer H. W. “Pappy” Daily recorded a colorful cast of aspiring musicians from southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana for Houston’s D Records, though except for the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace,” he didn’t really have any hits. Still, he left a genuine artistic legacy, and it finally gets its due on a German import, The Complete D Singles Collection, Volume 1: The Sounds of Houston, Texas (Bear Family). The four-disc set is filled with every side the label issued, including George Jones doing rockabilly and George Strait doing country before he became a star. JOE NICK PATOSKI

Cattle Call: Early Cowboy Music and Its Roots (Rounder) is a welcome collection of fourteen classics, dominated by Texans, from the early days of the recording industry. Carl T. Sprague’s “When the Work’s All Done This Fall” and Jules Verne Allen’s “Little Joe the Wrangler” exemplify Western music as it was evolving from the traditional songs of nineteenth-century trail drives into Hollywood’s romanticized ballads. JOHN MORTHLAND

Hot Books

Mike Blakely is a full-service cowboy. By day he’s a Marble Falls rancher, by night he’s a country balladeer, and by golly he’s a western writer to boot. His latest opus, Too Long at the Dance (Forge, $23.95), continues the saga of Caleb Holcomb, the cowboy fiddler of the Spur-nominated Shortgrass Song. Second verse, same as the first: Plenty of good-guy-bad-guy action, a poignant love story, and an unerring sense for contemporary detail make this historical novel sing. . . . The First Scholar of First Ladies is the University of Texas’ own Lewis Gould, who has edited a definitive new reference book, American First Ladies: Their Lives and Their Legacy (Garland Publishing, $75). Gould, a history professor, researched and wrote the extensive chapters on Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edith Bolling Wilson as well as the especially warm-hearted mini-bio of Lady Bird Johnson. . . . Speaking of the Johnsons, a new book examines the notorious Box 13 election fraud that launched LBJ’s political career. The author of The Fall of the Duke of Duval (Eakin Press, $24.95) is none other than San Antonio’s John Clark, the former U.S. attorney who helped dismantle George Parr’s political machine after the Duval County boss man shot himself to foil the feds. Clark examines some heavy-duty legal issues, but his narrative stays surprisingly brisk and clear. ANNE DINGUS

Hot Comeback

Houstonians grieving over the disappearance of Greg Fourticq—he of the ubiquitous social presence and elegant but fleeting interior design emporiums—have reason to cheer. The 35-year-old has resurfaced as the manager of the Home Collection for the new Calvin Klein store on New York’s Madison Avenue, where he’s impressing his impeccable if quirky tastes on socialites, fashion moguls, movie stars, and wannabes—and showing off those much-admired sultry cheekbones. Memo to Calvin: Still looking for another poster boy? Why? MIMI SWARTZ

Hot Database

No wonder Netizens around the world—and the editors of Forbes—are buzzing about DejaNews. The Austin company’s World Wide Web page (http: // archives a year’s worth of messages posted to more than 15,000 special-interest newsgroups (they’re usually erased within two weeks). You can sort the missives by subject, date, or author; for a fee, you can be notified when a certain kind of message has been posted. If all this is geek to you, think again: DejaNews’ page logs more than 100,000 search requests each day. JOSH DANIEL

Hot Snack

Looking for a great way to spice up a meal? Try the special new strain of spineless nopalitos sold exclusively at the King Ranch Saddle Shop in Kingsville. The tender young pads of the prickly pear cactus, which make the crispest, freshest pickles you’ve had in a long time, were developed by researchers at Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M Kingsville) working off a grant from the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. The pickles come in sweet or dill for $10 a quart plus $4.45 shipping; call 800-282-5464. PATRICIA SHARPE

Hot Grammologist

When journalists or rival pols want the goods on Phil Gramm, they call Kate Fain. The fifty-year-old Austinite has been studying the U.S. senator and GOP presidential candidate since she was the research director for Lloyd Doggett’s 1984 race against him; more recently, as a consultant to the Democratic National Committee, she has clipped every article written about him and created a database of every Gramm speech and vote (did you know he voted against unemployment benefits for oil workers during the bust?). Last summer Fain signed up to work for Senate candidate John Odom, but other Democrats can rest easy—she says she’ll be happy to help whoever wins the primary. JOHN B. JUDIS