Kendra Steiner Editions

April 13, 2014

new and recent releases for April 2014…last call on summer-fall 2013 items

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 9:10 am

 

duke goal

and we lovingly package those dreams EVERY MONTH here at Kendra Steiner Editions….

CHAPBOOKS/CDR’s  NOW AVAILABLE: 

full-sized CDR’s ($8.00 each, ppd. in US—outside US $11 )

ALL ARE AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE DELIVERY

new releases for 2014:

KSE #271 (CDR), FOSSILS/BILL SHUTE, “Diesel Fallout Dixie Stampede”

KSE #264 (CDR), EGG, EGGS, “Off Yellow Soft Pillow”  

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and the last remaining copies of our late summer and fall 2013 releases…

KSE #240 (CDR) SPRILLS OF ORE (Eva Kelly), “Time Mirrors”

KSE #260 (CDR) TOM CREAN, “Wired Love” (solo guitar and banjo explorations)

KSE #255 (CDR), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE/LISA CAMERON/LEE DOCKERY, “Live At the KSE 6th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT”

KSE #257 (CDR),  ALFRED 23 HARTH, “Micro-Saxo-Phone, Edition  IV.”

KSE #254 (cdr), DJIN AQUARIAN/SIR PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE & THE EVERAFTER, Live in San Francisco 10/2011

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SPECIAL EDITION POETRY CHAPBOOKS ($7 each US postpaid…or $8 each postpaid outside US)—LIMITED STOCK ON THESE TWO

KSE #258, GRAHAM LAMBKIN, “SLIMERS VERB”

KSE #259, MATT KREFTING, “THE PRINCESS OF KNIGHT AVENUE”

KSE #272 (poetry chapbook), LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL…JIM D. DEUCHARS….MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH…. A.J. KAUFMANN….MATT KREFTING, POLYMORPHOUS URBAN: POEMS FOR LOU REED”

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OTHER poetry chapbooks ($6 each, ppd. in the US, $7 elsewhere…):

KSE #280 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, Guide Dogs and Bartenders on the Gulf Coast

KSE #273  (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Someplace on Anywhere Road” (Sound Library Series, Volume 75)

KSE #265 (art-and-poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, ‘The Language of Construction”

KSE #263 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Worried Men and Wooden Soldiers”

KSE #250 (poetry chapbook), DOUG DRAIME, “Dusk With Carol” (cover art by Wyatt Doyle)

KSE #249 (poetry chapbook) A. J. KAUFMANN, “Hosannah Honeypots” (Sound Library Series, Volume 72)

KSE #236 (poetry chapbook)  JIM  D.  DEUCHARS, “Thelonious Fakebook”  (Sound Library Series, Volume 71)

KSE #261 (art-and-poetry chapbook), DANIEL HIPOLITO & BILL SHUTE, “Meditations on a One-Way Trail”

KSE #269 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “That Eccentric Rag” (sound library series, volume 74)

 

ORDERING INFO:   Payment is via paypal, using the e-mail address   django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com 

please include a note w/ your order letting us know which items you want and also your mailing address…thanks…

 

April 11, 2014

new poetry-and-photography chapbook, Bill Shute, “Guide Dogs and Bartenders On The Gulf Coast” (KSE #280)

BILL  SHUTE

“Guide Dogs and Bartenders on the Gulf Coast”

poetry and photography chapbook                KSE #280

$6 postpaid in US / $7 postpaid elsewhere

payment via paypal to   django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com

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GUIDE DOGS AND BARTENDERS ON THE GULF COAST….8 pages of poems composed during my recent 5-day stay in Galveston County, the setting of the previous chapbooks SEAWALL and THE MOSQUITOES OF LA MARQUE…the photographs were taken a few months ago.

On my own both on the Island and the mainland in the first week of April 2014, armed with copies of THE COLLECTED LETTERS OF JACK SPICER, Diane Wakoski’s JASON THE SAILOR (Volume 2 in her four-volume ARCHEOLOGY OF MOVIES AND BOOKS), and that perennial favorite, Paul Blackburn’s JOURNALS…..like an actor improvising within character in a Cassavetes film, the narrator of this chapbook found himself thrust into re-inventing himself and creating a new life in Galveston County, Texas, circa 2014….kept on a short leash, crashing with acquaintances willing to help him get his footing, looking for work, having to re-learn the dirty little secrets on which this 2014 social and economic order is based….the chapbook is a series of open-field poetic assemblages, unified by the consciousness of our narrator, but also has an easy-to-follow narrative woven in…. The text covers the top 60% or so of each page, while the bottom 40% features Gulf Coast photographs I took in January 2014.

Together, text and photographs (we hope) take you deep into the poem’s setting and both the narrator’s consciousness and his immediate environment. See the flashing red and blue lights from the Sheriff’s patrol car, smell the oil-tinged salt air, taste the soggy all-you-can-eat burritos, hear the calls from the bingo parlor, feel the seaweed wrapped around your leg during a pre-dawn swim, during that brief window of time when shore access is not controlled.

It’s not an ideal life, but as Paul Laurence Dunbar put it so eloquently in the final lines of his 1903 novel THE SPORT OF THE GODS, “it was all that was left to them, and they took it up without complaint, for they knew they were powerless against some Will infinitely stronger than their own.” But of course, it’s all about finding the cracks in the wall, emerging through the margins, mapping the underground highway, and stealing small shards of ecstasy wherever/whenever one can….with the assistance of the Guide Dogs and Bartenders on the Gulf Coast.

Limited,  (awkwardly)hand-cut, hand-assembled, hand-numbered edition of 39 copies. Get yours now. As this is a poetry and photography book, it’s possible that the poems (not the photos) might appear in some future “Selected Poems” volume (if people feel they are worthy of it), but they WILL NOT appear in this context with the dialogue of text and photograph, which is the way I created this volume and the way I prefer for it to be experienced.

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more poetry chapbooks available from KSE:

these ones are $7 US postpaid / $8 elsewhere postpaid

KSE #272 (poetry chapbook), LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL…JIM D. DEUCHARS….MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH…. A.J. KAUFMANN….MATT KREFTING, POLYMORPHOUS URBAN: POEMS FOR LOU REED”

KSE #258, GRAHAM LAMBKIN, “SLIMERS VERB”

KSE #259, MATT KREFTING, “THE PRINCESS OF KNIGHT AVENUE”

(NOTE: last remaining copies on 258 and 259)

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these ones are $6 US postpaid / $7 elsewhere postpaid

KSE #273  (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Someplace on Anywhere Road” (Sound Library Series, Volume 75)

KSE #263 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Worried Men and Wooden Soldiers”

KSE #256 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Led Along” (Sound Library Series, Volume 73)

KSE #269 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “That Eccentric Rag” (sound library series, volume 74)

KSE #261 (art-and-poetry chapbook), DANIEL HIPOLITO & BILL SHUTE, “Meditations on a One-Way Trail”

 

ps, please include a note w/ your paypal order listing the items ordered and your mailing address…

 

 As always, thanks for your support of independent DIY arts organizations such as KSE…direct from person-to-person, no middleman (or woman)…

March 24, 2014

now available, POLYMORPHOUS URBAN: POEMS FOR LOU REED (KSE #272)

“There was violence in Lou Reed’s music that made the tender moments ring true, just as there was tenderness that made the violence all the more stunning.” — Matt Krefting

“Lou Reed was simultaneously way too smart for rock n’ roll and dumb enough to believe in its redemptive power.”–Brad Kohler

$7 postpaid in US / $8 postpaid elsewhere………..payment via paypal to   DJANGO5722(at)YAHOO(dot)COM

lou

now available…KSE #272 (poetry chapbook)…POLYMORPHOUS URBAN: POEMS FOR LOU REED.

LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL…JIM D. DEUCHARS….MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH….                                                                                                                                                    A.J. KAUFMANN….MATT KREFTING

Lou Reed. He was still alienating people in the last months of his life. People were walking out on his (brilliant) Metal Machine Trio shows because there were no “songs.” And do we even need to mention the polarizing LULU album or his head-scratching praise of Kanye West’s YEEZUS. In the local newspaper here, on the event of his passing, the musicians who’d opened for him or fans who’d tried to talk with him described with pride his telling them to “f*ck off,” with the same doe-eyed love in their tone as if they were a elderly lady who’d once been given a scarf by Elvis at a 1972 concert in Murfreesboro.

Reed’s work was life-changing for many listeners, no matter when they got onboard the train. I was too young to have heard or heard of the Velvets during their active years. I picked up 1969 LIVE while in high school and immediately had the sense that THIS IS HOW ROCK N ROLL OUGHT TO BE PLAYED. I then went back and found WHITE LIGHT WHITE HEAT, and as I’d already heard Anthony Braxton and Albert Ayler, when I heard Lou’s guitar solo on “I Heard Her Call My Name,” it all came together…and at the same time it all came apart. And I’ve never been the same…

I’m  old enough to remember reading Lester Bangs’s articles on Lou back while they were being published in CREEM, and like many teenagers, I got caught up in that long-running feud–whatever the reality behind it, it helped Lester’s visibility, it helped Lou’s visibility, and it sold copies of CREEM. I stayed with Lou over the years, and to his credit, he continued taking chances until the end. Lou Reed albums were not run past a focus group before release. They were not test-marketed. I think that one thing we all admired about him even when we did not like or enjoy particular albums was that he truly did not care at all what anyone thought of his work. All of us who labor in obscurity doing work that’s outside the norm, and also outside the alternative norm, can point to Lou as a man who never did what was expected and who liberated us from the model of allowing gatekeepers (or “underground” gatekeepers) to affect our work.

Reed opened doors…not out of politeness toward those following him, but because the door was in the way so he kicked it down without a thought. He needed room to breathe…down came the wall, in came the light…

As KSE is a press-label with a commitment to both cutting-edge contemporary poetry and contemporary music, the core of us here starting talking about what to do to celebrate Lou Reed’s life and work before the sun set on the day he died. Jim Deuchars suggested a poetry chapbook, and within a day I’d invited A. J. Kaufmann and Matt Krefting and Michael Layne Heath (all both musicians and poets…hmmm, do I sense a pattern here?) to come up with work that somehow was inspired by Lou Reed. The next day, my friend and longtime KSE poet Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal sent me a poem he’d written about Lou in the past and thought I’d appreciate in the time of Lou’s passing. I knew that beautiful poem had to open any KSE collection….I asked Fossils co-conspirator David Payne, whose watercolor artwork I’ve long admired, to create new Reed-inspired work to grace the cover.

We’ve assembled our KSE poetry A-Team for this one…brand-new, white-hot poems inspired by Lou Reed from

LUIS  CUAUHTEMOC BERRIZOBAL (Los Angeles)

JIM D. DEUCHARS  (Pittsburgh)

MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH (San Francisco)

A. J. KAUFMANN (Poznan, Poland)

and MATT KREFTING (Western Massachusetts).

With cover art by DAVID PAYNE (Hamilton, Ontario). Edited and compiled by yours truly, Bill Shute

 

As with Lou Reed’s work, the experimental and the lyrical are intertwined here in these poems, the abrasive and the tender…

Limited hand-assembled edition of 125 copies, and more than half are already gone SO ACT NOW…

LOU REED COVER

now available…KSE #272 (poetry chapbook)…POLYMORPHOUS URBAN: POEMS FOR LOU REED.

LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL…JIM D. DEUCHARS….MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH….                                                                                                                                                                          A.J. KAUFMANN….MATT KREFTING

$7 postpaid in US / $8 postpaid elsewhere………..payment via paypal to   DJANGO5722(at)YAHOO(dot)COM

 

March 21, 2014

HIDDEN GEMS, VOLUME 1: Atlantic Records (no label, CDR)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 8:37 pm

HIDDEN GEMS, VOLUME 1: ATLANTIC RECORDS

no label CDR, released early 2014

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For the lover of vintage late 40′s/early 50′s jump blues/R&B, this 24-track compilation will be nothing but joy. So much of the Atlantic label’s 1940′s and 1950′s output (and for that matter, 1960′s too) has not been reissued, let alone properly reissued, which makes this set of 1949-1950 78′s a real find. Atlantic began recording in late 1947, right before the second Petrillo ban, and had a wide variety of artists, including jazz, country, spoken word, and pop, but by 1949, they had a first-rate line-up of raw jump blues/R&B artists, and that’s what is featured here. I believe that the Tiny Grimes and the Jimmy “Baby Face” Lewis tracks have shown up on the Spanish “Blue Moon” compilations devoted to those artists’ work, but everything else is new to me….names such as Frank “Floorshow” Culley or Melrose Colbert don’t ring a bell, but they no doubt were exciting live performers, and recordings in those days were able to capture the excitement and presence of these artists. And the personnel on these sessions are the cream of the crop: drummer Cozy Cole, saxophonist Paul Bascomb (here masquerading as “Manhattan Paul”), saxophonist John Hardee, pianist Harry “Vann” Walls,  saxophonist Tab Smith, drummer Kenny Clarke, saxophonist Allen Eager, etc. There’s a nice mix of styles: vocal groups, Wynonie Harris-style shouters, Jimmy Witherspoon-style jazz-tinged blues singers, a few Eckstine-esque slower tracks,  a few numbers with a Johnny Otis-esque tinge, all held together by many booting rockers. In many ways, the music here is a New York mirror of the Los Angeles R&B being issued on labels such as Modern. If you’ve been enjoying the many CD archival digs into the Modern family of labels that have been issued in the UK by Ace, then you’ll also enjoy these East Coast sessions. The lyrics on many of these are pure jive-poetry and surreal boast-and-bluster in the best late 40′s tradition, and there is a hotness and depth to the actual recordings so it sounds like the band is in the room with you…and thankfully, the compilers have not used much or any noise reduction…so there is a slight layer of 78 surface noise, but the benefit is none of the full frequency range of the recordings is muffled or limited. Nothing sounds like a LOUD 78 recording of rhythm’n’blues, and that’s what you get here.

Whoever compiled this really did the R&B lover a huge favor. Maybe in the 1990′s a compilation like this might have come out on a “real” label, back when labels were milking their deep back catalogue for content to fill the then-new CD format, but nowadays, except for a handful of specialist labels who can only release so many albums per year, that’s unlikely, so it takes “collector” CDR releases such as this to fill the gap…and it fills it well. You can get this from Crystal Ball Records…check their website. It’s a brand-new release, and certainly one of the best of the year.

You can find the 78′s on this album in this online Atlantic 78 discography if you want further info, but the album DOES come with complete personnel listing and recording dates, as well as the Atlantic release number of each item. Can’t wait for volume 2 of this series, and I’m assuming the series will be tackling other labels of the day, not just Atlantic. What a great project!

Link to ATLANTIC 78 DISCOGRAPHY:   http://www.78discography.com/Atlantic.htm

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March 14, 2014

OUT OF THE DARKNESS I AM BEGINNING TO SEE: SONG POEMS SELECTED BY BELLYBONGO (private cdr released circa 2004)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 6:30 pm

If you are an aficionado of that uniquely American creation, the song-poem record, you have to keep your eyes out for vintage song-poem gems appearing online and elsewhere. The days of over-the-top vintage song-poem compilations coming out every year are long gone, and the American Song Poem Music Archive website has been dormant for a decade or so, though you can still read many of the articles and discographies  (many of the links are now dead, of course). However, quality releases are STILL out there—Roaratorio Records has done a few collections of Rodd Keith’s work, and the newest one, BLACK PHOENIX BLUES, is a mind-blowing compilation and one of my best releases of 2014 (you can order that album direct from the label at this link: http://roaratorio.com/31.html ). Also, Bob Purse’s fantastic blog THE WONDERFUL AND THE OBSCURE serves up vintage song-poem morsels almost every week, and Bob knows the genre inside out, so he’s always able to put the songs in context historically and provide the backstory of the various labels and singers/musicians involved. You can find Bob’s blog here: http://bobpurse.blogspot.com/ . And I would be remiss if I did not give a plug to the hour-long internet radio show by Sammy Reed, MUSIC FROM THE WORLD OF THE STRANGE AND THE BIZARRE, which devotes a good chunk of each program to song-poem material (in fact, Sammy’s most recent show was an entire hour devoted to the songbird of song poems, BOBBI BLAKE). Here’s a link to over a dozen Sammy Reed shows you can enjoy: http://sammyreed.com/strange/past.htm .

The reason for this post, however, is to document a privately released song-poem CDR  I picked up circa 2004. It was announced in the news section of the American Song Poem Music Archive, but other than that announcement (which is still up, by the way), there is no reference to it anywhere online, and the BELLYBONGO website has lapsed. I pull it out from time to time, so I want there to be SOME online documentation of it…

I ordered my copy directly from BELLYBONGO in Sweden, and it’s a 28-track homemade CDR (kind of like one of our KSE releases, actually) with both sides of 14 song-poem 45′s on such well-loved labels as MSR, Preview, and Tin Pan Alley. The 28 tracks lean toward MOR territory, though a few have a country flavor and others a twist of exotica. Because few of the songs here are as weird as the better-known song-poem tracks that have been compiled and have become classics of the genre, one could put this album on and if people were not really listening, they would not necessarily stop in their tracks. It could be B-sides of album filler from some vanity record or something on a local label from the 1970′s. Only when one starts to listen to the lyrics, and then notices how thin the instrumentation is on most tracks, with a cheesy 70′s electronic keyboard attempting to fill the space, does the album kick in. The arrangements have a one-take feel, but the pros who made these recordings  could “fake” it well, and vocalists such as Rodd Keith or Bobbi Blake have the professionalism of people working in the commercial jingle field or people who are part of the entertainment at theme parks. Although these terms “DIY” and “MOR”  would seem to be contradictory, what the song-poem usually produced was a kind of DIY middle-of-the-road musical product. After all, the folks who paid good money to have their lyrics set to music and recorded did NOT want their song recorded by someone who was an “outsider.” They would have made their own “real people” recording had they wanted to fully execute their “vision” in that manner. No, they wanted their lyrics set to music by professionals, and despite the “song sharking” nature of this business, that IS what they wound up getting. The handful of copies of each release went to family and friends of the lyricist, and some were sent out to radio stations but promptly thrown out. Others leaked into the junk-store/flea market circuit, where they still appear today. That’s where I first saw a few of these in the early 1970′s, although I did not think of it as any kind of a “genre” at that time. I guess I just considered it an extension of the vanity record with someone else doing the singing.

On those days when the world seems absurd, and everything seems phony and standardized in a grotesque way as if one’s on a bad acid trip, song-poem recordings can provide a welcome sense of REALNESS, of sweet-and-sour awkwardness, that somehow makes everything tolerable again….yes, Virginia, there ARE real people out there, the ones who sent in the lyrics to these songs and the session players who awkwardly recorded them…not everyone is a pod person and not everything is scripted and airbrushed. I have also included the occasional song-poem on some of the Virtual Thrift Store CDR’s of recent vintage…

The CDR is a temporary storage medium. I’d say about half of the Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley boots I traded for in the 1990′s  on CDR  have come down with CDR rot, and the last track on THIS album is skipping, leading me to wonder if now this CDR too has got the start of the rot. I did manage to make a copy of the CDR (on which track 28 is defective), so maybe that will buy me a few more years….in any event, someone needed to document this fascinating album, and I just have.

I hope someone thought to make an MP3 copy of this and upload it somewhere….

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“Love Is A Wailing Thing: The MGM 55000 Series” (GVC cd, UK)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 3:18 pm

various artists (circa 1954-56) from MGM’s 55000 Series, dedicated to R&B

LOVE IS A WAILING THING: THE MGM 55000 Series

(GVC, UK, cd–30 tracks)

available from Crystal Ball Records and other oldies collector outfits

This late in the game (60 years late),  it’s always a joy to find a unified body of top-quality musical work that’s somehow avoided reissue.  That’s what we have here in this wonderful collection of 30 sides (A & B sides of 15 singles) from MGM Records’ short-lived 55000 series, launched in 1954 as a series devoted to R&B and under the A&R direction of Leroy Kirkland, longtime session organizer and key player on the New York scene. MGM is not a label one associates with jump-blues or R&B in the late 40′s through the mid-50′s, other than the exceptions of Ivory Joe Hunter and Billy Eckstine  and the instrumental albums of Sam “The Man” Taylor  and some one-off sessions here and there, some of them in the vocal-group/doo-wop genre.  I don’t know what motivated MGM to initiate this R&B series…music historians have mentioned that 1954 was the first big year of “crossover” success for R&B, and perhaps they hoped for a taste of that…or maybe it took them that long to realize the large Black audience for the music….whatever the reason, I’m sure glad they did, and you will be too when you hear this hot collection of 30 sides, 15 singles A&B, most of which would cost upwards of $100 on the collector’s market.

It’s a varied collection of men and women (no teenagers here….MGM later had a Cub (originally called “Orbit”)  subsidiary devoted to teen music) whose music would no doubt have appealed to fans of Anisteen Allen or Jimmy Witherspoon or Roy Milton, although there are some proto-doowop vocal group sides and others that dip the toe into the bubbling waters of rock and roll. These are NEW YORK sides, so they don’t really sound like West Coast R&B or Chicago R&B, and as major label sides, they have a full sound and A-team jazz sidemen, so they don’t have the rushed quality one sometimes finds on NYC labels such as Herald or Derby. One could compare this material with the output of RCA’s “Groove” subsidiary, but there are fewer novelty songs here–only one tune halfway qualifies, and it’s mostly ‘novelty’ in the tone of the vocal. Short-sighted labels often thought a novelty number was a shortcut to a hit….fortunately, A&R man Leroy Kirkland had been around long enough to see the error in that and he knew that in the long run, solid-sending R&B with a groove is what would command those jukebox nickels and dimes, and that’s what you get here.

These are the kind of records that Alan Freed used to champion in the early 50′s, forward-thinking beat-driven booting R&B platters played by black musicians who’d paid their dues in the waning days of the swing era—-they had jazz-level chops but still realized that most popular music had to also succeed as entertainment—-people such as Mickey Baker, Sam “The Man” Taylor (who wound up as a longterm MGM artist), Big Al Sears, Taft Jordan, etc. Some artists in the 55000 series such as The Twilighters or Gladys Patrick did record for other labels before and/or after their stint with MGM, but many of the named artists are lesser-known, and at least a few are pseudonyms for the session musicians and for leader Leroy Kirkland. So what you are getting here is 15 singles, A & B sides, for a total of 30 hot tracks, coming from a great period, 1955-56, as R&B evolved into rock and roll.

The sound is fine, and the package is done up just right by respected blues archivists/scholars Victor Pearlin and Bob Fisher. with pictures and anecdotes provided by Billy Vera, who knew and worked with Leroy Kirkland, and who no doubt questioned him thoroughly during their work together. It’s a prime slice of quality material from one of the best periods ever in R&B history from one of the best locations (NYC) with some of the best musicians anywhere, at the top of their game like a seasoned athlete and probably playing  dozens of studio and live gigs a week, and thus having the kind of effortless flow that someone who’s ALWAYS playing tends to get. This has a 2009 release date on it, but it evaded me until late 2013. However, it’s still available…just google the title and you’ll find a few dealers who have it. If this description intrigues you, then you NEED this prime collection.

love-awailing

MGM 55000

  1. I Must Have Love – Johnny Oliver
  2. Lemonade Baby – Johnny Oliver
  3. He Ain’t Mine No More – Baby Dee
  4. When I Cry – Baby Dee
  5. Cloudburst – Claude Cloud & His Thunderclaps
  6. One Bone – Claude Cloud & His Thunderclaps
  7. Cherie – The Hide-A-Ways
  8. Me Make Em Pow Wow – The Hide-A-Ways
  9. Long Gone Lonesome Blues – Jimmie Newsome
  10. I’m Afraid I Love You – Jimmie Newsome
  11. Bad Girl – The Ramblers
  12. Rickey-Do, Rickey-Do – The Ramblers
  13. Move It On Over – Ray Reid
  14. I’ll Take the Blame – Ray Reid
  15. High Winds – Sam ‘The Man’ Taylor w/Claude Cloud & His Thunderclaps
  16. Bang Up – Claude Cloud & This Thunderclaps
  17. Daddy On My Mind – Mamie (Miss Good Blues) Thomas w/Leroy Kirkland’s Orchestra
  18. Nobody Like My Man – Mamie (Miss Good Blues) Thomas w/Leroy Kirkland’s Orchestra
  19. Unchain My Heart – Gladys Patrick
  20. The Blues – Gladys Patrick
  21. Little Did I Dream – The Twilighters
  22. Gotta Get on the Train – The Twilighters
  23. Darling Is It Time – Johnny Oliver
  24. My Lady Love – Johnny Oliver
  25. Zoom De De Ho Ho – Dolores (Baby Dee) Spriggs
  26. Unless You Love Me – Dolores (Baby Dee) Spriggs
  27. Half Angel – The Twilighters
  28. Lovely Lady (Lundy Lou) – The Twilighters
  29. Somebody Please – Gladys Patrick & the Charioteers
  30. Love is a Wailing Thing – Gladys Patrick & the Charioteers

sam

MGM

MGM back

March 11, 2014

new poetry chapbook, Bill Shute, “Someplace On Anywhere Road” (KSE #273)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 11:10 am

BILL  SHUTE

“Someplace On Anywhere Road”

Sound Library Series, Volume 75

KSE #273  (poetry chapbook)

edition of 44 copies

SOMEPLACE

I began SOMEPLACE ON ANYWHERE ROAD in November 2013, worked on it while in southwestern Louisiana in January 2014, and just finished it a few days ago. With the many projects I’m involved with presently—-the work on the films of Jerry Warren, the tribute to Lou Reed poetry chapbook (which will be out soon), the release of a new music CDR every month in 2014—-I’ve put the publication and promotion of my own writings on the back burner (there are others from the second half of 2013  ready to go and already distributed to friends, but as yet unissued through KSE). However, with the release of the Fossils/Bill electronics-and-poetry CDR, some folks have asked, “hey, what are your most recent poetry chapbooks,” so I’ve now prepared this one, the most recent creation, for release…and here it is.

It’s a daybook, a collage, a soil sample, an open-field junk sculpture—-it features cameo appearances by Umberto Scalli (as played by Timothy Farrell), Andy Milligan’s Duke of Norwich, and the Sleepwalkin’ Guitars of Dan and Dale—-it tastes of pig ears, used washwater, and generic wine served by elderly ladies in red hats—-you can hear the gunshots and military overflights—-

It might provide a breadcrumb trail to some kind of liberation…then again, it may not

It’s a home-made, hand-cut and hand-assembled edition of 44 copies.

In a few months, it will have floated past you down the river, forever out of reach.

It’s authentic.

It’s perfect for those with limited attention spans who read a few words and then drift away for a spell….the next free-floating phrase-cluster will still be there when you come back down…

$6 postpaid in the US / $7 postpaid elsewhere…

payment via paypal to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com

It’s volume 75 in KSE’s SOUND LIBRARY SERIES…

also available for the same price

KSE #265 (art-and-poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, ‘The Language of Construction”

THE LANGUAGE OF CONSTRUCTION

KSE #263 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Worried Men and Wooden Soldiers”

KSE #256 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Led Along” (Sound Library Series, Volume 73)

KSE #269 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “That Eccentric Rag” (sound library series, volume 74)

KSE #261 (art-and-poetry chapbook), DANIEL HIPOLITO & BILL SHUTE, “Meditations on a One-Way Trail”

and I still have a few copies of the reprint of this, IMHO one of my best-ever, written in Galveston soon after the BP Gulf Oil Spill

KSE #169 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Seawall” (Sound Library Series, Volume 57, orig. release August 2010)

seawall

As always, thanks for your support of independent DIY arts organizations such as KSE…direct from person-to-person, no middleman (or woman)…

March 6, 2014

FOSSILS and BILL SHUTE, “DIESEL FALLOUT DIXIE STAMPEDE” (KSE #271), cdr album now available

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 6:10 pm

FOSSILS and BILL SHUTE

“Diesel Fallout Dixie Stampede”

CDR album KSE #271

10 tracks of flash-fried-and-fracked  third-mind  sound poetics

Fossils are David Payne and Daniel Farr

Bill Shute poetry source material

recorded by Derek Rogers

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1. Rabbits Smelling The Cedar

2. Concrete and Stone 3. As We Expected

4. Dry Head-Cleaner   5. I Can Hear Them Now

6. Shavings 7. 1971 and 1993

8. Third-Mind Tap 9.Cracks In The Circle

10. Gasoline-Stained Napkins

FOSSILS BILL SHUTE

The acclaimed Hamilton, Ontario lo-fi sound-art duo FOSSILS (the core being Daniel Farr and David Payne) create their audio sculptures from a combination of found material, recordings they make and then distort/warp/resculpt, and live electronics. There are dozens of FOSSILS releases, a combination of cassettes, CDR’s, and lathe-cut discs, usually in micro-editions. In a recent interview, David P described one of their strategies as being a kind of Jackson Pollock-esque “action painting in sound,” and that certainly captures the rawness, the alive-ness, and the physicality of pretty much ANY Fossils music. KSE was proud to issue a FOSSILS album last year, BELLS AND GULLS (now, alas, out of print), and as we are huge fans of the duo’s work and entire aesthetic, they were invited to do a second album: imagine my surprise when they suggested using some of my poetry recordings as “source” material for the Fossils treatment. But then, it does make perfect sense…one of my recent collections is called JUNK SCULPTURE FROM THE NEW GILDED AGE, and they were once referred to at Foxy Digitalis as ” super fried, paint-splattered jams that sound like they were born out of junkyards and dumptrucks,” so like that loud but affectionate couple in the next apartment,  I guess we were made for each other. We’re both scavengers creating assemblages from the flotsam and jetsam of throwaway culture.

I provided Fossils with some solo poetry recordings made a few years ago and recorded by my good friend Derek Rogers when he was still living in Austin, and the resulting album is DIESEL FALLOUT DIXIE STAMPEDE. In the classic Burroughs/Gysin “third mind” approach to cutting/folding/restructuring literary texts in order to bring out implicit theme and images and to “release” submerged layers of meaning, Mr. Farr and Mr. Payne spent a lot of time with the source material and created TEN amazing sound-sculptures made from the texts of such Bill Shute poetry chapbooks as ACRES,  FOUR TEXAS STREAMS, and SHORE ACCESS–the themes and images from those texts have been cut-up, tossed, and flash-fried into tasty new dishes that dig deeper into the themes and concerns of the original writings. However, beyond that, this is a great FOSSILS album. The texts could be in Japanese or Swahili—-it’s a mind-frying listen, full of diverse rhythms and textures, the source material melted and reformed into unrecognizable shapes.

A first-rate FOSSILS album AND an extension of Bill Shute’s Texas-rooted poems into another dimension…all on ONE cdr that’s waiting for you from Kendra Steiner Editions. And don’t worry, we have asked FOSSILS for another new album due early next year, 2015. We believe in what they do…and do better than anyone else. Until then, please check the Cardinal Records website and join the Middle James Co. Yahoo group and find out about the many and varied FOSSILS releases. They are, to me, about the most interesting and essential band out there. Like KSE, they are about lo-fi/low-cost experimentation with inexpensive and/or found elements—-we Poverty Row practitioners of the experimental arts need to stick together.

DIESEL FALLOUT DIXIE STAMPEDE. KSE #271

$8 USA POSTPAID / $11 ELSEWHERE POSTPAID

payment via PAYPAL to  django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com

(please include a note w/ your order indicating which items you want and also your mailing address…thanks!)

ALSO AVAILABLE FROM KSE ON CDR (same price as above):

KSE #264 (CDR), EGG, EGGS, “Off Yellow Soft Pillow”  

KSE #240 (CDR) SPRILLS OF ORE (Eva Kelly), “Time Mirrors”

KSE #260 (CDR) TOM CREAN, “Wired Love” (solo guitar and banjo explorations)

KSE #255 (CDR), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE/LISA CAMERON/LEE DOCKERY, “Live At the KSE 6th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT”

KSE #257 (CDR),  ALFRED 23 HARTH, “Micro-Saxo-Phone, Edition  IV.”

KSE #254 (cdr), DJIN AQUARIAN/SIR PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE & THE EVERAFTER, Live in San Francisco 10/2011

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SPECIAL EDITION POETRY CHAPBOOKS ($7 each US postpaid…or $8 each postpaid outside US)—LIMITED STOCK ON THESE TWO

KSE #258, GRAHAM LAMBKIN, “SLIMERS VERB”

KSE #259, MATT KREFTING, “THE PRINCESS OF KNIGHT AVENUE”

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OTHER poetry chapbooks ($6 each, ppd. in the US, $7 elsewhere…):

KSE #265 (art-and-poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, ‘The Language of Construction”

KSE #263 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Worried Men and Wooden Soldiers”

KSE #250 (poetry chapbook), DOUG DRAIME, “Dusk With Carol” (cover art by Wyatt Doyle)

KSE #249 (poetry chapbook) A. J. KAUFMANN, “Hosannah Honeypots” (Sound Library Series, Volume 72)

KSE #236 (poetry chapbook)  JIM  D.  DEUCHARS, “Thelonious Fakebook”  (Sound Library Series, Volume 71)

KSE #261 (art-and-poetry chapbook), DANIEL HIPOLITO & BILL SHUTE, “Meditations on a One-Way Trail”

KSE #249 (poetry chapbook), A.J. KAUFMANN, “Hosannah Honeypots” (Sound Library Series, Volume 72)

fossils by nuuj in rochester 2012David Payne and Daniel Farr perform in Rochester, NY, August 11, 2012  (photo: Rob Nuuja)

bill, east coast trip may 2011 064

Bill Shute reading at Flying Object Books, Hadley, MA, May 2011

fossils

previous FOSSILS album on KSE (now out of print)

fossils albany

Visit FOSSILS at the Cardinal Records Website:  http://cardinalrecords.blogspot.com/

fossils tape

writing about FOSSILS:

http://www.foxydigitalis.com/foxyd/?p=35366

http://www.digitalisindustries.com/foxyd/features.php?whichlh=87

http://kendrasteinereditions.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/new-fossils-cdr-album-bells-and-gulls-kse-239/

acres

BURROUGHS

IMG_20140201_0002

February 1, 2014

new album from EGG, EGGS, “Off Yellow Soft Pillow” (KSE #264) now available!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:50 pm

E G G , E G G S

“Off Yellow Soft Pillow”

KSE #264 (CDR album)

limited edition of 123 awkwardly hand-cut, hand-numbered copies

$8 US / $11 outside US   postpaid   payment via paypal to    django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com

The cover features an original painting, “Small Business,”  by Connecticut artist Elisa Vegliante. You can view more of her work at   mondoexpressionism.com

EGG EGGS

Short version: a generously programmed selection of “sound happenings” from EGG, EGGS, the pioneering Western Massachusetts low-fi  free-improv ensemble, with strings, toy instruments, electronics, percussion, and the sonic glue of the sound-poetry of vocalist David Russell, weaving inside and around the pieces. After dozens of cassettes and various LP’s and lathe-cut micro-editions, OFF YELLOW SOFT PILLOW is their first CDR release. They are totally what KSE is about, and we are honored to have their sublime plink, plonk, and scratch on our label.   Core members Ted Lee, David Russell, Brett Robinson, and Jennifer Gelineau are joined by five other initiates from the Temple of the Off Yellow Soft Pillow. ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

Longer version: With so many “underground” bands today doing calculatedly “transgressive” projects that they are probably also submitting as their MFA portfolio, all the while trying to get on the cover of THE WIRE,  it’s nice that a few remember the true anarchic, f*ck it all DIY spirit that animated SMEGMA, YA HO WA 13, Gertrude Stein, the Nihilist Spasm Band, and “Last Movie”-era Dennis Hopper. Noise is old hat now–as stylized as hardcore, bluegrass, or shoegaze.  It’s so eight years ago! The older I get, the more jaded I become, the more I believe that anyone who’s doing anything worthwhile in the arts has to be rejected as a charlatan (especially by those who were once part of the so-called “underground” but have become careerists) AND to produce a massive amount of work as a kind of existential barbaric yawp, sprayed over the world like a shaken-up soda bottle providing an aesthetic Coca Cola Douche. To produce work that has some constantly moving entry points but exists in its own inimitable world and takes the listener/audience into that world for a roller coaster ride without any seat belts, while at the same time having a kind of outsider folksy quality with roots, but roots in the flotsam and jetsam of a disposable culture, roots in the curly fries and elderly burlesque queens and grumpy winos and vinyl handbags and stuttering mechanically-separated piles of almost-meat ready to serve at gradeschool cafeterias. Truly, by that standard, EGG, EGGS is  the only band that matters, as some group of limeys (whose name I forget) once had claimed for them by their label.

FINALLY, someone has taken the tribal-psych communal racket-making aesthetic,  mixed it with the most playful and subversive aspects of European free-improv (back when it was still uncharted territory and free of cliche), folded in some post-Crocus Behemoth, post-Zoogz Rift, post-Babs Gonzales sound poetry delivered with a witty but acerbic musicality the way a Steve Lacy or a Trevor Watts might be working in an Alan Silva large ensemble on BYG or in a European Echoes-style  orgasmic free-jazz orchestra…or maybe Blood Harvest-era Tiny Tim jamming with The Music Improvisation Company.

And there is a wonderful sense of PLAY…with toy instruments and nursery rhymes...it’s a JOYOUS PLINK, PLONK, and SCRATCH.

Each track on this generously programmed album captures a kind of SOUND HAPPENING, frozen naked at the end of the fork, and presented for you on CDR by Kendra Steiner Editions, a Texas label sending an exploratory mission to the wilds of Western Massachusetts and taking back an audio core sample, OFF YELLOW SOFT PILLOW. What’s in the water there in Northampton? We don’t know, but you can drink from those same streams with the FIRST-EVER CDR ALBUM from Egg, Eggs. After dozens of cassettes and also vinyl and lathe-cut editions, they’ve allowed us to capture the EGG, EGGS experience on glorious home-burned CDR.

You need to grab this album before all 123 copies are gone….the rotgut-sillyputty white-cat-heat sound of a band that never stops to look back…..ladies and gentlemen,   EGG, EGGS…   GET YOUR COPY NOW…and see the band LIVE if you live in the Northeast. This album really captures the in-your-face immediacy of an EGG, EGGS performance. You can almost smell the curly fries and taste the Mad Dog 20/20…your speakers have never before handled such a nakedly intimate and raw and beautiful recorded experience…that’s our story and we’re sticking to it…

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Late 2013 CDR releases still  available from Kendra Steiner Editions:

KSE #240 (CDR) SPRILLS OF ORE (Eva Kelly), “Time Mirrors”

KSE #260 (CDR) TOM CREAN, “Wired Love” (solo guitar and banjo explorations)

KSE #255 (CDR), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE/LISA CAMERON/LEE DOCKERY, “Live At the KSE 6th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT”

KSE #257 (CDR),  ALFRED 23 HARTH, “Micro-Saxo-Phone, Edition  IV.”

KSE #254 (cdr), DJIN AQUARIAN/SIR PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE & THE EVERAFTER, Live in San Francisco 10/2011

$8 each postpaid in US/ $11 each postpaid elsewhere…payment via paypal (see instructions above)…please include a note w/ your order giving yr name/mailing address and which items you are ordering…many thanks…

and thank you for your support of independent, non-aligned DIY arts organizations EVERYWHERE…

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COMING IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2014 from KSE (not available yet):

MARCH…KSE #271 (CDR), FOSSILS/BILL SHUTE, “Diesel Fallout Dixie Stampede”

APRIL…KSE #268 (CDR), CATHAL RODGERS (Wereju), “Instrumental Conditioning”…meditations on the work of Samuel Beckett, from a contemporary Irish master

MAY…KSE #274 (CDR), MASSIMO MAGEE/TIM GREEN/MAX FOWLER-ROY, “Relentless Communion”…scalding hot free-jazz from the exciting Brisbane, Australia scene

JUNE…KSE #275 (CDR), ALFRED 23 HARTH, “China Collection,” to be released June 2014…live recordings from Shanghai/Hong Kong/Macao and related studio works like a new Peking Opera remix… all from the years 2011 – 2013

and let’s not forget the poetry chapbook coming out in March:

LOU REED COVER

KSE #272 (poetry chapbook) POLYMORPHOUS URBAN: POEMS FOR LOU REED, featuring new Reed-inspired poetry from LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL, JIM D. DEUCHARS, MICHAEL LAYNE HEATH, A. J. KAUFMANN, and MATT KREFTING. Art by David Payne.

egg eggs album 2

They’re here, they’re gear, they are  E G G , E G G S !!!!!!!!

egg 5

egg egg

egg 3

egg eggs album

the amazing Feeding Tube album from EGG, EGGS, “The Cleansing Power of Fruit”…their best-distributed release so far….if it’s still available, buy one AFTER you buy OFF YELLOW SOFT PILLOW…

eggnothing goes better with yr heaping platter of EGG, EGGS than some FROSTY SHAKES…

egg egg egg

January 26, 2014

now available from VCI: THE JERRY WARREN COLLECTION, Volumes 1 & 2

mayan

Among the most exciting and anxiously awaited cult-film releases of the year, VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker films have brought us TWO volumes of JERRY WARREN films as part of VCI/Parker’s POSITIVELY NO REFUNDS series, previous entries of which have included WHITE GORILLA (which resembles a Jerry Warren film in some ways) and CUBAN REBEL GIRLS.

THE JERRY WARREN COLLECTION, VOLUME ONE:

MAN-BEAST (1956), THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN (1966), CURSE OF THE STONE HAND (1964)

jerry warren one

THE JERRY WARREN COLLECTION, VOLUME TWO:

HOUSE OF THE BLACK DEATH (1965), ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY (1963), CREATURE OF THE WALKING DEAD (1965)

jerry warren two

SIX of Jerry Warren’s mind-bending features in the finest picture quality we’re ever likely to see, at a cost of about $5 per film. If you are not familiar with the body of Warren’s work, here’s a quick filmography…

the films of Jerry Warren:

MAN BEAST (1956–original film)

THE INCREDIBLE PETRIFIED WORLD (1957–original film)

TEENAGE ZOMBIES (1959–original film)

INVASION OF THE ANIMAL PEOPLE (1959–patchwork film)

TERROR OF THE BLOODHUNTERS (1962–original film)

ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY (1963–patchwork film)

A BULLET FOR BILLY THE KID (1963–patchwork film–this feature is presently considered LOST although the Mexican source film survives and can be seen online)

FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF (1964–patchwork film–this not only cannibalizes footage from two Mexican features, but it also borrows original Warren footage from ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY–in fact, it features only a few minutes of “new” material, yet it’s in many people’s view Warren’s most fascinating film)

CURSE OF THE STONE HAND (1964–patchwork film)

CREATURE OF THE WALKING DEAD (1965–patchwork film)

HOUSE OF THE BLACK DEATH (circa 1965–this was an unfinished film directed by Harold Daniels to which Jerry Warren added new scenes with his “stock company” players such as Katherine Victor,  so in a sense it belongs in the “patchwork” category)

THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN (1966–original film)

FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND (1981–original film)

Warren’s films fall into two basic categories: those which were original creations  (using only occasional stock footage for scenes too expensive to shoot, which is standard operating procedure in any low-budget film); and the patchwork films, where the majority of the feature consists of footage from foreign films (Swedish, Chilean, or usually Mexican) which Warren “recontextualizes” though voice-over narration and through his American-shot scenes which impose a new “plot” onto the assemblage of foreign and Warren-shot footage. In these curious hybrids, Warren was following in the shoes of the makers of WHITE GORILLA (where newly shot scenes with Ray “Crash” Corrigan and a handful of others show the new actors “reacting” to scenes from a silent jungle feature) and, what probably gave Warren the idea for this method, the American release of Godzilla, where Raymond Burr and various Asian-American actors are cut into an edited version of the Japanese original Godzilla film. The American release of Godzilla was cleverly done, and if one did not know that there was a different Japanese original, one might believe that Burr was part of the original production. I believe that the example of Godzilla gave Jerry Warren the idea he could do the same with foreign films he could acquire inexpensively and put his personal stamp on, without having to go through the hard work of creating his own feature film from scratch, as he did with this first three features.

MAN BEAST, his first feature, an Abominable Snowman film, was somewhat ambitious for a low-budget independent 50′s monster film. While a number of rungs below a Universal 50′s monster film, or even an American International one,  it was an entertaining film. Warren’s next project, THE INCREDIBLE PETRIFIED WORLD, was an even more ambitious project, including underwater photography and name stars such as Robert Clarke, Phyllis Coates, and John Carradine–though it can be faulted in a number of ways when compared to higher-budgeted “monster” films of the period, it too was competent on a drive-in/z-grade level and showed Warren as someone who enjoyed playing with complex scientific ideas on a pulp level. Warren’s next film, however, TEENAGE ZOMBIES, though 100% his own creation, was a sloppily made film with lots of static master shots, but it has a zany over-the-top feel to it, it has that unique 50′s rock-and-roll teen feel that one loves so much about AIP films of the period, and it introduced some of the members of Warren’s stock company of actors,  including Katherine Victor and Chuck Niles. TEENAGE ZOMBIES, as Fred Olen Ray perceptively observed in his book THE NEW POVERTY ROW, showed that Jerry Warren was wanting to cut corners yet still “create” feature films.

With his fourth feature, INVASION OF THE ANIMAL PEOPLE, Warren purchased the North American rights to a Swedish sci-fi film, TERROR IN THE MIDNIGHT SUN, shot in English with American stars Barbara Wilson and Robert Burton, and directed by the American Virgil Vogel (of THE MOLE PEOPLE fame), but rather than release it as is (and it would have played just fine here in North America, as it was shot in English, had impressive Northern Swedish locations, and was fast-moving), Warren took about 60 % of the Swedish film (the most impressive looking parts of it) and with newly shot US footage, some of which included actress Barbara Wilson, who’d been in the original film, Warren grafted a new plot onto the hybrid creation and included long passages of John Carradine making vaguely scientific speeches and providing narration to “explain” the proceedings. The result was an odd creation, and although only about half of Jerry Warren’s films fall into the “patchwork” category, those were the films that, for better or worse, have come to be associated with his name.

When I first saw Warren’s films on television back in the late 60′s and early 70′s, I was fascinated by them. As most of them used a similar font on the opening credits, it was easy to spot a Warren film even before the directorial credit came up. Believe it or not, at one time Warren was second only to K. Gordon Murray as an importer and exhibitor of English-language versions of Mexican horror films. However, unlike Murray, who had a staff of Spanish-speaking workers at his Soundlab studio in Coral Gables, Florida, and who worked hard to create relatively faithful dubbed versions of the Mexican originals (yes, the dubbing is cartoonish, but that was certainly intended) and who showed a lot of respect for the original films, Jerry Warren picked sections out of the Mexican films the way a finicky eater might pick the meat out of a stew, while leaving the vegetables. And, what’s even more odd, he rarely dubbed the Spanish language scenes–instead, he had voice-over English narration explaining what was happening in those scenes, as they had been recontextualized into his new plot (so he was not at all telling us what was happening in the original, in most cases).

For the rest of his career, Warren alternated between original productions and the patchwork films, leading up to the outrageous WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN in 1966, which has been widely viewed and enjoyed. That film generated a lawsuit from DC Comics, and whether the sting of the lawsuit or just changes in the marketplace motivated him, Warren did not release another film for 15 years, until FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND in 1981, a color film with an excellent cast (old favorites such as Katherine Victor, John Carradine, and Robert Clarke, joined by Cameron Mitchell and Andrew Duggan), and a film that re-visited a number of earlier motifs and plot elements–in some ways a remake of TEENAGE ZOMBIES.

Warren passed away in 1988, but fortunately the indefatigable Tom Weaver tracked him down for an interview prior to his passing, and that interview showed a complex man–has any independent filmmaker ever written off his own work in the manner Warren did? Yet at the same time, he was trying to impress his interviewer by making claims that were not true (such as his working with Lon Chaney Jr. on FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF…all of Chaney’s scenes in that were taken from the Mexican source film, LA CASA DEL TERROR).

Say what you will, Warren’s films are instantly recognizable, they have fascinated cult-film fans for decades, the man had a unique METHOD of making films (or cobbling them together, if you will), and films such as Warren’s could only have been created during the 1950′s/1960′s period when drive-ins were still hungry for B&W indie horror films and television horror packages welcomed the kind of product Warren created. Continuity inconsistency and confusing plots did not matter much when the films would be watched ONCE and not rewound on VHS or freeze-framed on DVD—what mattered was a good title and a haunting  (or at least odd and off-putting) atmosphere, and Warren delivered both of those.  When he said in the Weaver interview that you didn’t need to make it “good,” you just needed to make it “weird,”  he was truly showing his hand. He did not have the opportunity to make higher-budgeted films and he did not make the effort to create better-crafted films (in the traditional sense), but what he did create is a body of work that’s unique and strange and puts one in what’s almost an altered state of consciousness. With this new two-volume set from VCI and Kit Parker Films, a good number of Warren films can now be seen in the best quality they are ever likely to be seen in and Warren can now be appreciated alongside other independent filmmakers such as Andy Milligan, Phil Tucker, Al Adamson, Coleman Francis, Ray Dennis Steckler, and Larry Buchanan as part of the Golden Age of z-grade independent auteurs whose works came out of left-field and provided viewers of the period with a cheap (and/or confusing!) thrill. Like a garage-band rocknroll record or a paperback original crime novel, the films of Jerry Warren are fascinating artifacts of an age long gone, and they show evidence of an inquiring mind and of considerable risk-taking as an artist—-can anyone deny that FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF is a truly avant-garde creation? Whatever Warren’s intentions (and they may well have been that ‘confusing equals mysterious”), the world would have been a less interesting place had he NOT made these curious and still-enjoyable films. And with that in mind, as readers of this blog know by now, I am co-writing a book on the films of Jerry Warren, we have an interested publisher, and my co-author Rob Craig and I hope to have the book finished by early 2015. I hope you’ll look for it in a year or two…

jerry warren creature

Now, what’s on these new JERRY WARREN COLLECTION dvd’s from VCI/Kit Parker Films?

First of all, the quality of the transfers on these is superb. Of course, these were VERY low budget films and in the patchwork films little effort was put into the shooting of the “new” footage, but the films look as good, if not better, than the first day they played theatrically, and they look fine on large-screen televisions. Warren’s films have never been regularly available since the dawn of the VHS age…CREATURE OF THE WALKING DEAD was available on a slow-speed Goodtimes VHS back in the day, ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY and MAN BEAST and WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN were available on Rhino VHS and then DVD, but those were adequate at best. I don’t believe CURSE OF THE STONE HAND has EVER had a legitimate release, and most of the grey market copies floating around are taken from murky dupe 16mm prints. STONE HAND literally looks like a different film here. The Chilean film from which the first half of STONE HAND was adapted had top-notch production design (for a low budget film), and one can savor that in this new restoration. You can throw out any previous editions of the film. The 1950′s and early 1960′s were a Golden Age of horror filmmaking in Mexico, and the men and women making these films clearly studied the 1940′s Universal horror films closely while adding their own unique Mexican gothic touch. Jerry Warren knew the quality of the visuals in these source films (no matter what he might have said in his interview with Tom Weaver), and he knew that a few impressive scenes can “make” a horror film—-maybe not make it a classic, but make it something the undiscriminating viewer and/or the horror film addict will feel positively about. All the crispness and richness of the Mexican films comes through clearly in these DVD’s.

VOLUME ONE contains MAN BEAST, Warren’s first feature, built around stock footage of the Himalayas he’d acquired, a solid third-tier 50′s sci-fi/monster film which shows that Warren could make a standard genre film, and it did quite well at the box office, no doubt inspiring Warren to continue in the business, for which we all should be grateful. The Himalayan footage and the location shooting at Lone Pine look impressive in this remastered version—throw out the old Rhino VHS. Also, as an extra, Kit Parker includes from his archives about 8 minutes of footage that was included in a dubbed Spanish version of the film that played in Latin America but was not included in the American release footage.

Next in this set is the patchwork film CURSE OF THE STONE HAND, which combines footage from two Chilean (I believe) features from the 1940′s (yes, the source films were ALMOST TWENTY YEARS OLD when Warren released his film). This is NOT typical of Warren’s method in the patchwork films, and because of that, it might be a good starting point for an investigation of Warren’s work. He essentially cuts down the source films to about 30 minutes each, shoots some framing footage about a cursed estate that is related to the characters in each of the stories/source films, so it plays somewhat like an anthology film and is far less fragmented and surreal than most of Warren’s patchwork films. CURSE looks about 2000% better than any version I’ve seen before. All previous versions, probably taken from 16mm dupes, were dark and murky. I was not looking forward to “analyzing” this film in our Jerry Warren book because it was so hard to see in detail what was happening, but now the film is crystal clear–and the two Chilean films are well-mounted and quite attractive with period settings. Warren has tacked an outrageous ending onto the two edited features to “tie things up,” the kind of ending you could only get away with back in the pre-VHS/DVD days when people could just watch a film ONCE and not go back and re-view scenes. The outrageous out-of-the-blue ending happens, you scream “what!?” and then the film is over. You can find a detailed discussion of this film at the Braineater website.

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Closing volume one is Warren’s 1966 THE WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN. This film is often attacked and was the subject of an MST3K episode, and in the interview re-enactment included with the disc, star Katherine Victor seems embarrassed by the project (she was promised it would be in color and have a significant budget—it wasn’t and didn’t), but any lover of over-the-top screwloose cult films can’t help but love the film. It’s closest in spirit to a Ray Dennis Steckler film—-one might say that this film is to Columbia late 1940′s Sam Katzman movie  serials what Steckler’s LEMON GROVE KIDS was to the Bowery Boys. Warren does borrow a little footage from the Swedish drama NO TIME TO KILL, with John Ireland (an English language film that he distributed in the US), but otherwise, it’s a 100% original creation. If you can imagine a SUPER cheap, b&w, “outsider” attempt to cash in on the Batman TV series with its cartoonish pop-art ambiance, and you realize that the film was MEANT as a comedy, you should find it very entertaining. After a lawsuit, Warren changed the title to SHE WAS A HIPPY VAMPIRE, and this package contains trailers for both versions.

VOLUME ONE of the Jerry Warren Collection contains a diverse sampling of Warren’s work and is a good introduction to this much-maligned but fascinating cult film-maker. You get his first film, you get the most coherent of the patchwork films, and you get Batwoman—-all in sharp, clear transfers and with trailers. It’s an essential purchase.

Then we move into VOLUME TWO of the Jerry Warren Collection, and this one digs a little deeper and is definitely the stranger of the two sets, with THREE patchwork films from the 1960′s, once Warren had this cut-and-paste technique down to a science. He had a definite method to his madness, and that’s something we’ll be going into in detail in our Jerry Warren book. The technique might have grown out of finding the cheapest possible method of cobbling together a feature film with the least effort—-but it was a technique he turned to again and again, and now that the principals involved with the films are largely gone, all we have are the works themselves. And for the hardened cult/outsider film devotee, something like ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY, the first film on this set, is truly jaw-dropping—-if you like the films of Al Adamson, or Creation of the Humanoids, or the films of Andy Milligan or the films of Godfrey Ho, you will howl with joy when you see ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY, which is perhaps the one Warren film I would screen to an audience of cult film devotees. Warren takes footage from the Mexican horror classic LA MOMIA AZTECA (and now that the three original Aztec Mummy films from Mexico are available on DVD for study and enjoyment, you can see how Warren appropriated and recontextualized the footage–we’ll be getting into that in the book) and inserts it into a tale of a scientific researcher and science journalist who is burned out and looking to tell his story of the scandal at “Cowan Research” (an outfit also used in Warren’s next film, FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF) to newspaper editor Bruno VeSota. This frame story allows a series of flashbacks to tell the convoluted story of past-life regressions and mysterious goings-on in the Yucatan. There are a number of impressive visuals of Aztec rituals (for some reason Warren changed that to Mayan, though that really did not matter with his target audience) and Yucatan pyramids. Seeing this film on television as a child, I was quite impressed with its eerie feel, and the “mystery” elements of the US footage seemed mysterious (or more likely, confusing, which equaled mysterious to a child, and to most of Warren’s target audience)—the film plays fast and loose with traditional concepts of continuity, but that just adds to its weirdness appeal. And once again, there is an ending out of left field that’s totally a cheat and somewhat nihilistic, but the film is so elliptical and so unlike a traditional narrative that one would not expect any kind of well-developed and properly-seeded payoff at the end. ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY should be high on cult-film lovers’ lists of favorites. If you are the kind of person who has watched MONSTER A GO GO more than a few times, you will be glad to make the film’s acquaintance…and it looks SO MUCH better than the previous Rhino issue.

Next in this set is CREATURE OF THE WALKING DEAD, which takes an atmospheric Mexican horror film called LA MARCA DEL MUERTO (which you can watch online…just google for it) and adds Jerry Warren-shot scenes which attach themselves to the original film the way a tapeworm attaches itself to a dog. Because Warren rarely dubs the Spanish originals (he prefers to have his American actors NARRATE what’s going on in his re-contextualized usage of the footage), there are long periods in this film without dialogue, and with the deep, shadow-filled, gothic feel of the source film, along with the grandiose and repetitive musical score, CREATURE truly creates an eerie feel in many scenes. I would imagine that if one had seen this at a drive-in in 1965, it would make a serious impression. This got wide distribution in the VHS era on a slow-speed Goodtimes Video release, but once again, the film is much brighter and clearer here, which really helps with a film that has so much atmosphere. One can’t really praise Warren’s new footage in this one—it has the infamous eight-minute “massage” scene with Bruno VeSota—-but the cheap, cinema-verite feel of Warren’s static talky exposition scenes create an almost documentary feel in texture, which doesn’t really sync with the long soliloquies the actors are reading in a single take. It’s that unique feel that makes a Jerry Warren film INSTANTLY recognizable. With so much CGI and so many interchangeable films playing at today’s multi-plexes, Warren’s z-grade cinema is a refreshing change of pace that cuts through all traditional “standards” of film-making the way an off-key 60′s garage-band 45 cuts through all standard of professionalism, yet retains an odd sense of “outsider” appeal and uniqueness. Warren’s films were odd when they were released, and time has only heightened their uniqueness…the world in which (and for which) they were created is long gone. CREATURE may seem slow-moving to some, but it’s a film about atmosphere, and when you slow down to its funereal pace, it can be quite entertaining.

Sabrina (Norma Sykes)

The final film on this set is not really a Jerry Warren film….it’s a z-grade horror/witchcraft film directed by Harold Daniels (of My World Dies  Screaming, Port Sinister, and Roadblock fame) that starred Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine and Tom Drake and Sabrina (of Satan In High Heels and The Phantom Gunslinger) called HOUSE OF THE BLACK DEATH. Evidently the film was not finished, or not finished in a way acceptable to the producers/ investors, and Jerry Warren (known for being able to cobble together a feature film in an inexpensive manner) was called in to shoot some new scenes with members of his stock company such as Katherine Victor and create something that could be released on TV and on the lower-rungs of multi-film horror packages at drive-ins  (I remember it playing in the Denver area as BLOOD OF THE MAN DEVIL on a four-film BLOOD package, and in his book THE NEW POVERTY ROW, Fred Olen Ray remembers seeing it as part of a FIVE-film “Blood” package at a Florida drive-in). With Warren’s signature opening credits and library music, and with the opening narration (which is in rhyming verse and in the persona of Satan!)  done by Warren regular George Mitchell (over footage shot by Daniels of close-ups of Chaney, Carradine, Drake, and Sabrina), Warren’s stamp is on the project from the first frame. However, only about 15 minutes of the film are from Warren—-mostly, two long scenes of a Satanic Ritual featuring Katherine Victor and George Mitchell and a few young ladies who are pledging allegiance to the devil, accompanied by Orgy of the Dead-style dancing. One such sequence runs until about nine minutes into the film, and then another runs from 46:39 through 52:15. Two aspects of these scenes are especially of interest: one, the “vow” is quite reminiscent of the pledge to Batwoman at the beginning of WILD WORLD OF BATWOMAN; and two, the scenes were clearly shot with two cameras and have a much more dynamic look than Warren’s static expository dialogue footage in the filler sequences in his own films.

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HOUSE OF THE BLACK DEATH is actually a quite engaging, genuinely eerie feature. Except for Warren’s sequences, it doesn’t really play like a Warren film. The quality of the acting is above average, with former MGM star Tom Drake giving the role his best effort and attempting to make the character (the semi-normal member of the Desard family) three-dimensional, something we don’t usually expect or get in such a low-budget genre film, and Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine do what they did best at this point in their careers, providing the needed horror-film star power, here playing battling warlocks who are both patriarchs of the Desard family. Both Chaney and Carradine always raised the quality of whatever they were in, and they do that here. Some reviews of this have mentioned the films lack of continuity, but compared to Warren’s usual patchwork films, it’s a somewhat linear narrative. I first saw this on local TV in Denver in the early 70′s, and I found it to be quite atmospheric and effective. Clearly shot on a few cheap sets, any film that begins with a close-up of Lon Chaney Jr. staring into the camera while being lectured by Satan is off to a good start, and as with Monogram horror films of the 40′s (some of which John Carradine himself was in), the low budget helps to create a barren mood that works to the film’s advantage. With the faux-Satanic vibe, the B&W photography, the fog, the occult rituals, and the presence of Chaney and Carradine, HOUSE OF THE BLACK DEATH should appeal to fans of the z-grade horror and of Lon and John. I don’t know how much editing Jerry Warren did of the footage shot by Harold Daniels, or how much if any Warren put the film into its present order/structure, but Warren doesn’t seem to get in the way of the core story. His original characters, played by Victor and Mitchell and the young ladies, basically comment on the action as members of the same coven—-they are “outside the action,” commenting on how they are related TO the action. This is not just an entertaining horror film; it also shows us some insight into Warren’s method, and as such, it fits well on this set…and if nothing else, Kit Parker’s transfer of this film, which has ALWAYS been murky in the past, will have you throwing away your old copies. Of course, we don’t know how much Warren re-ordered or edited the Daniels-shot footage, or how much if anything from the original footage he did not use. Also, one perceptive online commentator mentioned that the initial shots of the four major characters staring into the camera were possibly test shots or for costume purposes and not intended to be in the actual film. As Warren is a master of putting commentary on top of footage meant for other purposes, perhaps that’s what he’s done here.  I hope someone is able to find a shooting script for the original film, so we can discover what Warren’s role was beyond shooting new footage. He must have done SOMETHING with the original footage, since his new scenes could be discarded and the film would still hold together, somewhat (another possibility is that the film simply was not long enough and that Warren shot footage to extend it, the way B-movie makers would extend their 59 minute features to 75 minutes for TV syndication packages, usually with talky, static, and unnecessary footage that ruins the flow of the films). In any event, though Warren himself did not work with either Carradine or Chaney on this project, if the thought of a film with those two actors AND Jerry Warren involvement gets you as excited as it does me, you’ll want to check out HOUSE OF THE BLACK DEATH.

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While Jerry Warren claimed that he never aspired to create something worthwhile, merely something adequate for the lower rungs of the genre-film marketplace, when we are confronted with the actual films, and when we ignore the usual condescending “bad film” mindset that some bring to films of this style, we find that they are curious and unique creations. Warren’s monologues put into the mouths of his characters often dance around a number of deep topics, enough to make us wonder what issues interested Warren the man. What kind of books did he read? What was his personal philosophy of the cosmos or of government? Also, as we get further away from the decades that produced these films,  it is hard to not admit that Warren’s film grammar has a curiously post-modern flavor. Whether or not Warren had read about the aesthetic theory behind the concept of BRICOLAGE,  or whether or not he’d seen the films of Jean-Luc Godard or Alain Resnais  (and my guess is that he had not read or seen them), Warren’s works feature the ruptured narratives, overlapping and contradicting points of view, incorporation of found elements, and incorporation of randomness and chance into the finished work that we associate with post-modern works. Warren’s intentionality should not matter in our evaluation of the work. Once the work enters the marketplace, it no longer belongs to the man who created it (or threw it together, if you prefer). A lot of the eerieness and mystery that radiates from a Warren film is due to illogical/a-logical construction and the manipulation of images….also, Warren certainly knew what buzzwords to drop in his advertising. And he knew how a good title can condition us to view a work in a particular way. On the low level of poverty-row genre film where Jerry Warren worked, the standards might not have been high, compared to mainstream Hollywood efforts, but one was also allowed a lot of freedom, as long as your film had an exploitative title, a hysterical poster and ad campaign, and a name like John Carradine. No exhibitor really cared what the product was like, once you got the customers in the door…or through the drive-in gate. This gave an outsider film-maker such as Jerry Warren (or Andy Milligan or Godfrey Ho or Phil Tucker or Ed Wood or Doris Wishman) a lot of creative freedom, and love him or hate him, you must admit that JERRY WARREN TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THAT. How else to explain the chutzpah of someone getting a totally strange and avant-garde creation as FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF in front of paying audiences.

It’s about time Jerry Warren receives the attention his unique work is due. We intend to illuminate the Warren method and Warren’s body of work in our book on THE FILMS OF JERRY WARREN, which we hope to have available in 2015. Until then, why not get these excellent collections from VCI and get to know these odd and fascinating works. You’ve got a good and representative chunk of Warren’s body of work right here. If you like these, you can find TEENAGE ZOMBIES, FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND, FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF, and the others online or on DVD. And who knows, maybe some company like Vinegar Syndrome (if they can discover Albert Zugsmith’s THE PHANTOM GUNSLINGER, which was thought lost until recently) can dig up a copy of BULLET FOR BILLY THE KID…

These two sets are MUST purchases for the cult-film fan and will surely rate among the most important releases of the year to those who enjoy the work of outsider film auteurs such as Andy Milligan, Godfrey Ho, or Ray Dennis Steckler. Let 2014 and 2015 be the years of Jerry Warren! Kit Parker has done the same great job with the Warren library as he’s done with the Lippert films catalogue (check out the various HAMMER NOIR volumes) and the Weiss Global archives. Now that the films are out there in excellent shape and at an attractive price, let the Jerry Warren Revival begin…

stone handWhy not order BOTH volumes of the Jerry Warren Collection from VCI right now!

You can find volume 1 here…   http://www.vcientertainment.com/JERRY-WARREN-COLLECTION-1                                                                               ….then just search within VCI’s online store for Volume 2…

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