Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

March 22, 2023

MAIN STREET GIRL(S), aka Paroled From The Big House (1938), directed by Elmer Clifton

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:51 am

exciting low-budget crime film, marketed as exploitation film, from director Elmer Clifton

PAROLED FROM THE BIG HOUSE (the title on my copy, but also known as MAIN STREET GIRL) is an exciting crime film about a young lady (Jean Carmen, of Wolves of the Sea fame) whose father is killed when he refuses to go along with a protection racket. She vows revenge on the gangster who killed her father, and goes on a long quest which eventually succeeds. This is directed by the great Elmer Clifton, one-time associate of D.W. Griffith, and master of both exploitation films and westerns. Clifton had made the exploitation classics SLAVES IN BONDAGE and GAMBLING WITH SOULS for producer J.D.Kendis previous to this, but PAROLED is not really an exploitation film.

It starts off with a police commissioner (Milburn Stone) giving the audience a lecture on abuses of parole through payoffs by organized-crime linked criminals who can afford it, but other than the broadly-played criminals, a scene with a few girls in negligees, and a scene where the heroine is in a room with a psycho that ALMOST becomes distasteful, there’s no sleaze here. Judged against the competing poverty row crime films being produced by Monogram and Republic at this time, I’d have to say that PAROLED FROM THE BIG HOUSE works very well and is exciting. Jean Carmen is a unique looking lady who can command attention, and the script (from serial king George H. Plympton) has wonderful depression-era naturalistic touches, with Carmen pounding the pavement day after day, looking for work and homeless. There are a lot of close-ups, and as always Elmer Clifton can be given virtually no resources and the cheapest of sets and rear projection, yet make it flow.

The print used by SWV on my VHS tape, released in the early 90s, looks like it was made yesterday. So many 30s genre films are taken from duplicate prints made for TV showing, and they tend to get a bit fuzzier with each duplication, but the crispness and the sharpness of this copy help make the film even more impressive. If you get this thinking it is an exploitation film (it was marketed that way both in its original release and in its video release), you may well be let down. If you think of this in comparison with other poverty row crime films of the day (just remember that static, talky films made at Grand National!), it holds up quite well. Special mention should be made of the character “Torchy”, a pyromaniac member of the criminal organization, who is the film’s comic relief, lighting some of the other characters on fire when they are introduced into the film! He is played with relish by Ole Oleson, who looks like a cross between John Waters and the Wild Weed-era Jack Elam.

BILL SHUTE, originally published elsewhere online in 2005


My newest poetry book for 2023…only $6.95 and available internationally at your local Amazon platform

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

March 14, 2023

I’LL NAME THE MURDERER (1936), starring Ralph Forbes

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 4:31 am

1930’s newspaper gossip columnist solves whodunit

Florid, over-confident newspaper gossip columnist Tommy Tilton (Ralph Forbes) turns sleuth when his friend is blamed for the murder of an ex-girlfriend with a taste for blackmail. We’re introduced to a number of colorful supporting characters, with Tilton gradually figuring out the nature of the crime through a combination of bluff and insight. He also uses his column to “smoke out” the guilty party, even when he doesn’t yet know who the guilty party is! Director B.B. Ray was an old hand at low-budget action films and westerns, and with minimal sets and dialogue that describes actions that would be too expensive to film, Ray keeps the action moving at a swift pace. Forbes plays the part of Tilton as something of a dandy, with a lot of empty bravado. When Tilton proclaims “I’ll name the murderer” in the next day’s paper, even though he doesn’t yet have any proof, we audience members pull for him, WANTING him to crack the case. I’ll let you see the film yourself to see how all this is resolved… Overall, a solid 1930s poverty-row murder mystery from Puritan Pictures, best known for their 1935-36 series of interesting Tim McCoy westerns, including the classic MAN FROM GUNTOWN.

BILL SHUTE, originally published elsewhere online in 2002


My newest poetry book for 2023…only $6.95 and available internationally at your local Amazon platform

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

March 8, 2023

STORM OVER LISBON (Republic Pictures, 1944), starring Vera Hruba Ralston, Richard Arlen, and Erich Von Stroheim

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:11 am

Storm Over Lisbon (1944)

Republic Pictures’ answer to CASABLANCA, with Arlen and Ralston, instead of Bogart and Bergman

I’m not one of those people who has memorized CASABLANCA or who watch it once a year. It was a good b-movie, but there are thousands of other films I need to see, so I’ve moved on, and I’m not in the least bothered that STORM OVER LISBON is basically Republic Pictures’ low-budget echo of CASABLANCA, with Richard Arlen and Vera Ralston echoing Bogart and Bergman (after all, I can hear Republic president,and husband of Vera Ralston, Herbert Yates saying, “Bergman is a mysterious European with a seductive accent, so is Vera! This is a great vehicle for her.”).

The plot here is somewhat different, but there’s no question that this film would not even exist without CASABLANCA. There’s a lot of tension created in STORM OVER LISBON, and it’s well-acted by Arlen, Robert Livingston, Erich Von Stroheim, Otto Kruger, Eduardo Ciannelli, and Republic regulars Kenne Duncan and Roy Barcroft reprising their heavy roles, but this time instead of working for an evil town boss in a western, they are working for shady club owner Von Stroheim. There’s a well-staged dance sequence featuring Ms. Ralston, and after hearing for decades how bad she is, I was surprised at how bad she WASN’T. This was only her second dramatic film (I’m not counting her first two films, vehicles for her ice-skating prowess), and the script wisely does not give her many lines even though she is IN a lot of the film. The lack of dialogue helps to create a mysterious, seductive quality about Ms. Ralston, so whatever she DOES say we listen to and we apply a layer of mystery to. I don’t know if her English is phonetic or not, but after having seen films starring Madonna, Tara Reid, Roseanne, and Milla Jovovich, I have no complaints about Vera Ralston. Richard Arlen is always a comforting presence in a film–his gruff, virile persona is one we want to empathize with, and he has a natural quality that makes him believable.

A story of spies and intrigue and back-stabbing and desperation in the Lisbon of World War II, STORM OVER LISBON is a successful b-espionage film that is a great way to kill 70 minutes on a rainy day.

BILL SHUTE, originally published elsewhere online in 2005


My newest poetry book for 2023…only $6.95 and available internationally at your local Amazon platform

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

March 1, 2023

TWIST AROUND THE CLOCK (1961), produced by Sam Katzman, starring Chubby Checker

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:02 am

Twist remake of “Rock Around The Clock”–Chubby and Dion are fine, rest of film is weak

TWIST AROUND THE CLOCK, the first of two TWIST films produced by Sam Katzman and featuring the great Chubby Checker, is basically a remake of the old BIll Haley vehicle ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK, and like that film, the “star” here, Chubby Checker, is little more than a guest star in his own film. In the earlier film, Alan Dale is featured as the lead performer and his story is told, with Bill Haley merely being a “friend” who helps the lead character and who performs a handful of songs. Here, Clay Cole is featured, and Chubby Checker does three or four songs, has a few lines of dialogue, and performs in a group number at the film’s finale. Checker is a fine performer, and he handles the dialogue well–the NEXT Twist movie he was in, DON’T KNOCK THE TWIST, was MUCH better in that Checker was given a lot more importance in the story, and had much more dialogue with star Lang Jeffries. As for TWIST AROUND THE CLOCK, it also has Dion do three songs, and the vocal group the Marcels do a nice Christmas twist song. However, the dramatic sections of the film are weak, especially so since they are a carbon copy of the same plot in the earlier Bill Haley movie. If you take the Dion and Chubby songs, and the Marcels’ number, out of the film, there is really not much else worthwhile. Fans of DON’T KNOCK THE TWIST will recognize the same cheesy sets and tiny “stage” used as the TV studio in that film. Serious rock and roll fans should see this film ONCE so they can say they have seen ALL the pre-Beatles rock and roll films, but only the lip-synched Chubby Checker and Dion songs are worth keeping. This was aired a few years back on AMC, where I taped my copy and originally saw the film.

BILL SHUTE, originally published elsewhere online in 2005


My newest poetry book for 2023…only $6.95 and available internationally at your local Amazon platform

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

February 22, 2023

SERGE GAINSBOURG—En Studio Avec Serge Gainsbourg (Mercury, France), 3-CD

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:53 am

        This overstuffed 3-disc set complements a large book called Le Gainsbook which documents Serge Gainsbourg’s recording career (which began in 1958, through the artist’s death in 1991, though his last album was issued in 1987) through pictures and interviews. It’s kind of a career-spanning odds and sods collection, divided into three parts: 1) studio alternates and leftovers; 2) Gainsbourg’s songs as performed by other, mostly female, performers; 3) excerpts from Gainsbourg’s many film soundtracks. There really is no English-language equivalent of Serge, so I’m not going to suggest any. He was on the surface a bundle of contradictions. He was ready (some would say too ready) to adapt to any current trend in music, but he was in many ways a classicist (his songs and film scores often echoed classical and historic melodies) beyond time. He would indulge in cheap and exploitative headline-grabbing antics calculated to offend, and never stopped at that as he got older (the 1980’s brought his infamous crude proposition of Whitney Houston on live TV in France and his cringe-worthy track “Lemon Incest,” recorded with his daughter, also available in a music video that has to be seen to be believed), but he was at the same time a soft-spoken, sensitive, misunderstood artist-type. His trademark vocal style can seem tossed-off and lazy, but his timing is impeccable and has an ability to float subtly around and over a beat worthy of the best jazz or bossa nova players/singers.

     Disc one travels through his early small-group jazz-flavored pieces with pianist/composer Alain Goraguer, through the 60’s beat and ye-ye material, with a stop at the original, unreleased-at-the-time version of “Je t’aime…” with Brigitte Bardot (the hit version featured Jane Birkin), and then into the 70’s and 80’s, where he’s still up to his bad-boy shenanigans with tracks like “SS In Uruguay” and “Sea Sex and Sun” but also working with Sly and Robbie in Jamaica.

     Disc two contains a few decades worth of various singers performing Gainsbourg songs, ranging from Marianne Faithfull to France Gall, from Francoise Hardy to Petula Clark, some in dated 70’s/80’s dance-pop styles.

     Disc three is an overview of his much-underrated film soundtrack work, some of which integrates vocals.

     Everyone should own classic Gainsbourg albums such as Gainsbourg Percussions or Histoire de Melody Nelson, but one can get a good overview of his large body of constantly changing work through this fascinating collection of leftovers and rarities.

En Studio Avec Serge Gainsbourg (Disc 1)
Serge Gainsbourg– Ronsard 58 (Maquette) 1:29
Serge Gainsbourg– Black Trombone (Avec Intro) 2:44
Serge Gainsbourg– Chez Les Yéyé (Prise Complète) 3:17
Serge Gainsbourg– Machins Choses (Version Instrumentale) 3:18
Serge Gainsbourg– Torrey Canyon (Mixage Giorgio Gomelsky) 2:40
Serge Gainsbourg Avec Brigitte Bardot– Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus (Mixage De L’Acetate Original) 4:39
Serge Gainsbourg– 69 Année Érotique (Version Instrumentale Avec Choeurs) 3:31
Serge Gainsbourg– Melody (Prise Complète) 9:28
Serge Gainsbourg– En Melody (Solo Violon Électrique Complet) 3:23
Serge Gainsbourg– Panpan Cucul (Version De Travail, Texte Alternatif) 3:25
Serge Gainsbourg– Tout Mou Tout Doux 4:18
Serge Gainsbourg– SS In Uruguay (Avec Intro) 2:30
Serge Gainsbourg– Comme Un Boomerang 2:38
Serge Gainsbourg– L’Ami Caouette (Prise De Voix Alternative) 3:26
Serge Gainsbourg– L’Homme À Tête De Chou (Version Instrumentale) 4:00
Serge Gainsbourg– Sea Sex And Sun (Extrait Des Prises Voix) 1:03
Serge Gainsbourg– Lola Rastaquouère (Version Instrumentale Complète) 11:59
Serge Gainsbourg– Ecce Homo (Texte Alternatif) 4:17

Les Interprètes (Disc 2)

Los Goragueros– Mambo Miam Miam 2:29
Nana Mouskouri– Les Yeux Pour Pleurer 3:11
Régine– Les P’Tits Papiers 2:08
Michèle Arnaud En Duo Avec Serge Gainsbourg– Les Papillons Noirs 2:50
Marianne Faithfull– Hier Ou Demain 2:39
Dominique Walter– Les Petis Boudins 2:02
France Gall– Bloody Jack 2:58
Claude François– Hip Hip Hip Hurrah 2:45
Zizi Jeanmaire– L’Oiseau De Paradis 2:08
Brigitte Bardot– Harley Davidson 2:29
Mireille Darc– Le Drapeau Noir 2:26
Françoise Hardy– Comment Te Dire Adieu (It Hurts To Say Goodbye) 2:24
Jane Birkin– Jane B 3:10
Juliette Gréco– Le Sixième Sens 2:25
Petula Clark– Flash-Back 3:45
Jane Birkin– Apocalysptick 2:38
Alain Chamfort– Lucette Et Lucie 4:38
Bijou (2)– Betty Jane Rose 2:46
Jacques Dutronc– J’Ai Déjà Donné 3:09
Alain Bashung– Volontaire 4:03
Jane Birkin– Rupture Au Miroir 3:19
Isabelle Adjani– Le Mal Intérieur 3:56
Charlotte Gainsbourg– Plus Doux Avec Moi 5:00
Bambou– Entre L’Âme Et L’Amour 3:27

Les Musiques De Films (Disc 3)
Du Film “L’Eau À La Bouche”
Serge Gainsbourg– L’Eau À La Bouche (Avec Intro) 2:30
Serge Gainsbourg– Milena (Inédit) 1:57
Du Film “Les Loups Dans La Bergerie”
Serge Gainsbourg– Les Loups Dans La Bergerie 1:24
De La Comédie Musicale “Anna”
Serge Gainsbourg– Photographes Et Religieuses 1:32
Serge Gainsbourg– Jerks En Cavalerie 2:55
Anna Karina– Roller Girl 2:23
Du Film “L’Horizon”
Serge Gainsbourg– Le Village À L’Aube 2:35
Du Film “Le Pacha”
Serge Gainsbourg– Requiem Pour Un Con (Version Instrumentale) 3:20
Du Film “Slogan”
Serge Gainsbourg– Evelyne 2:10
Du Film “Les Chemins De Katmandou”
Serge Gainsbourg– Les Chemins De Katmandou 3:14
Du Film “Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus”
Serge Gainsbourg– Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus (Instrumental) 3:19
Du Film “Madame Claude”
Jane Birkin– Yesterday Yes A Day 3:00
Serge Gainsbourg– First Class Ticket (Prise Alternative Inédite) 1:22
Serge Gainsbourg– Discophotèque (Rough Mix Inédit) 2:54
Du Film “Goodbye Emmanuelle”
Serge Gainsbourg Avec Jane Birkin– Goodbye Emmanuelle 3:18
Du Film “Melancoly Baby”
Serge Gainsbourg– Melancoly Suite 3:10
Du Film “Le Physique Et Le Figuré”
Serge Gainsbourg– Le Physique Et Le Figuré (Version Complète) 5:17
Du Film “Tenue De Soirée”
Serge Gainsbourg– Travelling 4:20

BILL SHUTE, originally published in 2019 in Ugly Things magazine note: covering a massive and eclectic set such as this in under 400 words for UT was a challenge. I threw out my first review of this because I felt that readers should get an overview of the man’s work rather than a play-by-play of what’s on this odds’n’sods collection. You’ll notice I kind of breeze through the specifics of what’s on the box-set because what unifies it all is the presence of SG, and I felt that had to be established
in the review. That’s why I front-loaded the review with
my own description of what I feel SG was about. I had a copy of the 1964 LP GAINSBOURG PERCUSSIONS
while a teenager (I just stumbled across it in a used record store and took the plunge), so I’ve been listening to his music for 40+ years. I first saw him in early 60’s sword and sandal films as a supporting actor on TV when I was a child, long before I had heard his music….or even knew that he did music. When PIL’s FLOWERS OF ROMANCE came out, which I loved and still love, it was VERY clear to me that Lydon owned a copy of GAINSBOURG PERCUSSIONS too, and played his copy as much as I’d played mine!


My newest poetry book for 2023…only $6.95 and available internationally at your local Amazon platform

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

February 16, 2023

four albums by the Florida band SAGE

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 7:50 pm

Very excited to discover recently that FOUR of the lesser-known Illusion-label albums from Tampa, Florida, band SAGE have surfaced on You Tube, featured on the “ahones” YT channel, to whom I offer a million thanks. According to online sources, the band was around for decades, starting in the 1960s, and were a popular live band in Florida. They managed to issue SEVEN LP’s on the mysterious Mike Pinera-related ILLUSION label in the 1976-78 period. SAGE BY SAGE was the best known of these and was reissued on CD on the UK greymarket RADIOACTIVE label in 2006. That’s where I first heard the band and became an instant fan.

On the rare occasions where one of their albums surfaces, it sells for multiple hundreds of dollars. Of course, Illusion was not a traditional label. Often referred to as a “tax scam label,” Illusion released dozens of albums over a short time. Supposedly, Mike P himself referred to the label as a “tax write-off,” which explains why such a huge glut of product was issued in such a short time and why they weren’t promoted or marketed in the traditional ways, hence their rarity today. I have seen and even owned albums on other tax scam labels such as Guinness and Tiger Lily (and others), but I’ve never held an actual Illusion album in my hands (though I have a pirate repress LP of the album by THE FANZ). A musician in one of the bands that had albums (two) released on Illusion reported that “we were approached to do some recordings for an un-named millionaire. We were told these were tax write-offs, yet would receive actual copies of the records…. we DID get our copies.”

The band SAGE consisted of

Bass, Keyboards, Vocals – Hilda Williers
Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals – Rodger Stephan
Lead Guitar, Bass, Vocals – Ray Williers
Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, Vocals – John Cameron

Some of the albums are credited as being recorded at their own SAGE Studio, so it makes sense that if Illusion was looking for instant product to pump up their inventory to be written off, a working band with their own studio with multiple professionally recorded albums available for release RIGHT NOW would be the perfect group to work with Illusion. I hope that the band was able to sell their copies and hold on to multiple extras, and in that case, perhaps the deal worked out well for both artist and label/mysterious financier. Anecdotal evidence mentions Mike Pinera’s being a friend and supporter of the band, and there’s also a rumor (not true) that Duane Allman plays on a track on SAGE BY SAGE, but according to the daughter of a band member, Allman knew guitarist John Cameron and taught him some slide guitar techniques, which he put to use on that track and others.

I see SAGE’s albums described as Southern Rock, Rural Rock, “Classic Rock” (whatever that is), Psychedelic Rock, or “psych mixed with southern rock.” All of those tags fit to some extent, but take a look at the pic above of the band from the 70s: this music sounds like that picture looks. If anyone remembers the short-lived 1980s “Breeder” label which reissued rare early 70s albums by bands such as Short Cross, Magi, Ken Little, and Homer, I could see the SAGE albums fitting into that label’s release schedule.

SAGE BY SAGE is an album that gets better with each listen. The slide guitar and the harmony vocals and the vaguely trippy feel mixed with a rootsy vibe, while at the same time being music that would have satisfied the mid 70s club-goer used to “70s rock”, really put the band in a class of their own. I’ve been playing my Radioactive pirate reissue of SAGE BY SAGE for 15+ years now, regularly, so I’m happy to see these four lesser-known SAGE albums surface on You Tube.

The albums still missing in action are DON’T LOOK BACK and ROCK IT OUT. If they are online anywhere, please let me know.

It would be wonderful if a label such as Light In The Attic could contact any surviving group members or their families and try to do some kind of authorized and informed reissue of the albums. Presumably, more than what’s on the Illusion albums was recorded, and we can only hope that some tapes survive. Until then, please enjoy these newly surfaced albums, which I have not yet listened to more than once, so I can’t comment on them, except to say that if you like SAGE BY SAGE, you’ll like these too. I intend to have them on a lot while working in the coming weeks…

If you enjoy independent self-issued and small label 1970s albums, be sure to give these a listen…and if you’ve never heard SAGE BY SAGE, their best-known album, you can here it below:



SAGE, ‘ROCKIN’ (Illusion Records CM 1099, circa 1978)


SAGE, ‘SKYSCRAPER’ (Illusion Records CM 1048, circa 1977-1978)


SAGE, ‘FREEPORT’ (Illusion Records CM 1046, circa 1977)


SAGE, ‘SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT’ (Illusion Records CM 1050, circa 1977)




My newest poetry book for 2023…only $6.95 and available internationally at your local Amazon platform

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

February 15, 2023

THE STORMSVILLE SHAKERS AND CIRCUS–One and One Is Two: Complete Recordings, 1965-1967 (RPM, UK) CD

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:41 am

UK R&B combo The Stormsville Shakers are probably best known for the two exciting albums they did in early 1965 backing American R&B great Larry Williams. However,
they released a number of 45’s in the UK, an EP in France, and in their later incarnation as Circus, even a single on the Chicago-based USA label! All of that, and a number of
unreleased studio and live tracks, can be found on this 27-track CD, complemented
by exhaustive liner notes from group leader Phillip Goodhand-Tait.

The Stormsville Shakers were a very active live band, which winds up being a strong point in their recordings, as they play with authority and basically have a “live in the studio” sound. Fans of the earlier recordings of Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers or Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds or Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band will find a lot to like here. Except for a French-language ballad, it’s all pure and dynamic British R&B, sometimes with a twist of bluebeat, sometimes leaning more toward soul (there’s usually two saxophones to beef up the sound). Phillip Goodhand-Tait is a soulful vocalist, reminding me of Mike Harrison’s work with the VIP’s, and on
the live tracks recorded in France, he handles James Brown. and Bobby Bland material
quite convincingly…and these tracks give us a taste of what their set at the Flamingo
might have been like.

Their later incarnation as Circus (represented here by 8 tracks) moved more into progressive territory, featuring the occasional French horn or flute or harpsichord or bird sound-effects, but fortunately the band seemed to realize what their strengths were, and there’s usually a soulful or bluesy base to the performances.

For the fan of British R&B-soul, this is a strong collection and a valuable body of work.
It deserves a place alongside your Cliff Bennett or Zoot Money or VIP’s albums, and thanks to RPM for bringing together the band’s complete recordings…a strong set indeed!


I’m Gonna Put Some Hurt on You (Parlophone R 5448, 1966)
It’s a Lie (Parlophone R 5448, 1966)
No Problem (Parlophone R 5498, 1966)
What More Do You Want (Parlophone R 5498, 1966)
The Society for the Protection of Love (Odeon MEO 148, 1966)
Gettin’ Ready (Odeon MEO 148, 1966)
L’Amour Se Lisait Dans Ses Yeux (Odeon MEO 148, 1966)
Number One(Odeon MEO 148, 1966)
You Can’t Take Love (Parlophone R 5547, 1966)
C. Greasburger (Parlophone R 5547, 1966)
Long Live Love (rec. 5/18/65)
I’ll Do the Best I Can (rec. 5/18/65)
There You Go (rec. 6/23/65)
Do What You Wanna Do (rec. 6/23/65)
Where Were You on Our Wedding Day () One and One is Two ()
I Feel Good (Live) (rec. 2/20/66)
Have You Ever Had the Blues (Live) (rec. 2/20/66)
Turn on Your Love Light (Live) (rec. 2/20/66)
Gone are the Songs of Yesterday (Parlophone R 5633, 1967)
Sink or Swim (Parlophone R 5633, 1967)
Do You Dream (Parlophone R 5672, 1967)
House of Wood (Parlophone R 5672, 1967)
Yes is a Pleasant Country () Something to Write About ()
The Patience of a Fool () Who Will Love Her ()
(*) denotes previously unreleased track

Tracks 1-4, 11-19 performed by Phillip Goodhand-Tait and the Stormsville Shakers
Tracks 5-8 performed by The Stormsville Shakers
Tracks 9-10 performed by Phillip Goodhand-Tait
Tracks 20-27 performed by Circus

BILL SHUTE, originally published in 2015 in Ugly Things magazine


February 8, 2023

Happy Lovin’ Time: Sunshine Pop From The Garpax Vaults (Big Beat, UK), CD

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:34 am

     Ace-Kent-Big Beat’s latest archival expedition through the massive vaults of workaholic producer Gary S. Paxton focuses on the 1965-68 period, mostly before Paxton’s move to Bakersfield. While previous comps have offered girl-group, hot-rod/surf, female R&B, and country-rock, this one features straight-ahead pop-rock material aimed at getting placed with the labels which had released Paxton’s productions in the past: Capitol, Decca, etc. Also featured are Canadian bands who came down to work at Paxton’s studio, which (much like Norman Petty’s studio in New Mexico) offered reasonable rates, a hands-on producer/engineer with a proven track record, and a unique vision.

     I’m not sure about the Sunshine Pop tag. Sure, there is a Curt Boettcher track here, and the track by The Four Freshmen might appeal to a Free Design fan, but most of the material here would be more reminiscent of the kind of recordings that The Knickerbockers or Nino Tempo or The Buckinghams were making in 66-67–rocking pop that was aimed at a major label sensibility. There are some psych moves here and there because that’s what was in the air, but Paxton’s unerring nose for potential hits meant he would never be producing Skip Spence or The 13th Floor Elevators. It’s as if you unearthed a box of unknown 45’s on a label like Tower or Coral. And while Paxton’s productions are multi-layered and professional, they are never slick or cloying. A lot is going on in these 45’s, small bits of business that shade and complement the sound, but they are not over-produced and they have room to breathe.

     As always, Paxton hired the best sidemen, from Clarence White to Jerry Scheff, and with the songwriting and production assistance of Kenny Johnson (of Ken and the Fourth Dimension fame), the Garpax operation produced a staggering number of great recordings in any number of genres. Artists such as Mary Saxton, Homogenized Dirt, The Black Box, and The Bogart Cult may not be well-remembered, but their recordings hold their own against what was on the charts at the time and reflect that special, slightly quirky magic that always radiates from Gary S. Paxton’s work. Be warned though, those looking for a psych or garage (or pure sunshine pop) comp will not find it here.

1. MAKE UP YOUR MIND – Augie Moreno
2. DANDELION WINE – The Whatt Four
4. CHRISTINA, IN MY DREAMS – Curt Boettcher
5. HAPPY LOVIN’ TIME – The Black Box
6. OSTRICH PEOPLE – The Chocolate Tunnel
7. SHE LOVES ME – Dave Antrell
8. HOW MANY TIMES – Jim Gordon
9. GAMES – The Bogart Cult
10. BAD SIGN – The Jay Bees
11. AM I WASTIN’ MY TIME – Johnny Apollo
12. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN BACKYARD – The Bakersfield Poppy Pickers
13. NOWHERE TO GO – The Four Freshmen
14. IS IT LOVE – Willie & The Walkers
16. STAY – Curt Boettcher
20. DON’T PUT ME DOWN – The Lords
21. IT’S WRITTEN ALL OVER MY FACE – The Bakersfield Poppy Pickers
23. DIRT BENEATH MY FEET – Homogenized Dirt
24. I NEVER WANNA HURT YOU – Dave Antrell

BILL SHUTE, originally published in 2015 in Ugly Things magazine


My newest poetry book for 2023…only $6.95 and available internationally at your local Amazon platform

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

February 1, 2023


Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:56 am

clunky yet fascinating early 30’s exploitation patchwork

This feature, known as both PROTECT YOUR DAUGHTERS and RECKLESS DECISION (the latter is the title on my copy), features a frame story–shot on one small set-up with a static camera and actors talking in the manner of the padded footage in a Jerry Warren film such as ATTACK OF THE MAYAN MUMMY–and a core story from another film that takes up about 75% of the film.

Interestingly, the credits contain the names of some of the actors in the frame story as well as actors CUT from the frame story! And the actors in the main story, including well-known William Farnum, are NOT listed in the credits.

There’s not much sleaze here if that’s what you are looking for–this is even tamer than the sound version of ROAD TO RUIN. The credit for photographer Frank Zukor (aka Zucker) leads me to believe that the frame story may have been a NYC-based Bud Pollard production (Pollard is best-known today for his 1940’s Black-cast films and for being president of the Screen Directors’ Guild). Zukor shot Pollard’s VICTIM OF PERSECUTION and some Yiddish-language features. Perhaps some Yiddish film scholar can enlighten us about the origin of this film.

There’s undoubtedly an interesting story behind this strange patchwork feature (While we’re discussing exploitation films, I believe SEX MADNESS was also made by people who otherwise made Yiddish films). However, this film will be of interest ONLY to the serious student of exploitation films or odd patchwork features such as, say, GUN CARGO or CALL OF THE ROCKIES. It does need to be said, though, that watching a film like this will put the viewer in a woozy, off-kilter state of mind, as if you’ve been up for 48 hours straight or you’ve consumed half a bottle of Ny-Quil….patchwork films have a tendency to do that to the viewer.

Bill Shute, originally published elsewhere online in 2004, and I hope more information about the film has surfaced since then

Why not watch it yourself, if this link still works….


My newest poetry book for 2023…only $6.95 and available internationally at your local Amazon platform

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

January 27, 2023

BIG BILL BROONZY—The Midnight Special: Live in Nottingham 1957 (Southland/ORG), LP

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 7:40 am

BIG BILL BROONZY—The Midnight Special: Live in Nottingham 1957 (Southland/ORG), LP

Big Bill Broonzy (1906-1958) first recorded in 1927, copyrighted over 300 songs during his long career, and recorded prolifically, both as a leader and as a sideman—he also worked as a “fixer,” helping get together bands and finding performers for Chicago-based blues recording sessions, especially in the 1930’s. He knew and worked with virtually everyone in the pre-WWII blues world worth mentioning. Document Records has compiled thirteen CD’s of his chronological recordings through 1951, and that does not even include his sideman work. Broonzy was also a master guitarist, as a listen to his “Pig Meat Strut” (easily found online) will quickly prove. As a blues recording artist, Broonzy was able to adapt to the times as tastes changed—from guitar-piano duets in the late 20’s, through jazzy small-groups with clarinet in the 30’s, into a kind of proto-R&B with electric guitar in the 40’s.
As with other of his contemporaries who’d started recording in the 1920’s (Tampa Red, for instance), Broonzy was no longer as popular with the African-American jukebox listeners in the late 40’s as styles evolved, but he was savvy enough to re-invent himself as an acoustic folk-blues performer for the European market (among the first Chicago blues artists to perform in post-WWII Europe), offering up a repertoire more typical of Leadbelly than of the sly and ironic urban bluesman he’d been. He continued in this vein both in Europe and for largely white audiences in North America, and this album was recorded in England just a year before his passing.
This attractive new LP from Org Music reissues 14 of the 18 tracks found on a 1990 Southland CD. Broonzy seems comfortable with the responsive crowd, in his 1950’s folk-blues entertainer and historian role, telling a number of humorous tales, reflecting on the post-Reconstruction South, and offering up a down-home persona that would have surprised the folks back on Chicago’s South Side, but decades as a professional entertainer gave Broonzy the ability to read what an audience wanted and to give it to them. Even the purist who might look down on this phase of Broonzy’s career can’t deny his warmth and wit and ability to connect with an audience, even when doing solo acoustic versions of “Goodnight Irene” and “Bill Bailey.” Start with his 1930’s work, but this LP is a fine document of his later period.

Bill Shute, originally published in 2020 in Ugly Things magazine

January 25, 2023

GIRL RUSH (1944), starring the team of Alan Carney & Wally Brown, with Vera Vague

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:42 am

comedy team of Carney and Brown meet Vera Vague–with songs and Robert Mitchum!

The comedy team of Alan Carney and Wally Brown are often referred to as RKO’s answer to Abbott and Costello. The difference is that Carney is not as over-the-top as Costello, and Brown is not a pure straight man a la Abbott–he’s bumbling himself (it’s as if Costello was 1/3 Abbott, and Abbott had 1/3 Costello in him!).

Still, their films are enjoyable comic entertainment, and they are best known for the two films they did with Bela Lugosi: ZOMBIES ON Broadway and GENIUS AT WORK. In this film, they are musical comedy performers who keep producing flops, so they go out West to find some success. That starts the plot in motion (which takes them back East again, then back out West). The great Vera Vague (as Suzy) is in much of the film, romantically interested in Carney, which provides comedic sparks throughout.

GIRL RUSH also provides an early starring role for Robert Mitchum. Mitchum had made many films in 1943 (check his 1943 IMDb credits!) as he was establishing himself in Hollywood, and he really is the “hero” in this film. In hindsight, it’s also clear how different from other actors Mitchum was–he is as different from others as James Dean was in the 1950’s.

GIRL RUSH is a competently made piece of bottom-of-the-bill, b-movie entertainment that would not make anyone’s “favorite” list for 1944, but surely was fun and entertaining to watch while it was playing. Shown on TV today (back in 2004 when I wrote this, that is), GIRL RUSH has much the same effect. Carney and Brown are an excellent comedy team and were probably fine all-around entertainers in their day. With Vera Vague and her madcap antics added to the mix, you have a entertaining 80 minutes for a rainy day.

Bill Shute, originally published online in 2004

January 21, 2023

Victor Spinetti in ‘Scacco alla mafia’ / ‘Defeat of the Mafia’ (Italy 1970)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:28 am

Quirky euro-crime film w/ great Victor Spinetti performance, directed by the enigmatic Warren Kiefer

Known in its English language version as DEFEAT OF THE MAFIA, this quirky Italian crime film is overly talky and inconsistent in tone, but has many distinctive touches about it, fine location photography, and an amazing performance by Victor Spinetti as the nervous, Milquetoast relative of an American girl who dies of a drug overdose in Italy…or so it seems. Actually, Spinetti’s performance–as he evolves throughout the film and finally reveals his true identity–is a tour-de-force. Anthony Perkins is the only other actor I could imagine taking on a role like this in 1969. The “hero” of this film is a harried police inspector played by Pier Paolo Capponi (and voiced in English by someone who has voiced MANY Italo crime films and westerns), but Spinetti earns his top billing, and he makes what could have been a routine film a very interesting film. The film also uses multiple voiceovers by various characters, which is an odd technique that doesn’t truly work (and is often the sign of an amateur screentwriter), but gives the film a far different feel from most similar films which feature stoic, hard-boiled dialog. It’s got an almost dream or nightmare-like aura in many sequences (except when it doesn’t!). Overall, an interesting film…and a fine performance by Spinetti. Very difficult to find, however.

(note to American readers: Victor Spinetti is perhaps best known in North America for his work in various Beatles projects)

BILL SHUTE, originally published elsewhere online in 2000

2023 postscript: I have seen two versions of this film and noticed that the music and editing are different in the first few minutes in each of them–there may well be other differences too, but I watched them a number of years apart and did not have access to the old version on VHS (the one reviewed above) when I got a new DVD-R of it in recent years. The older VHS version was the better of the two.

January 18, 2023

A QUEEN FOR CAESAR (Italy 1962), starring Pascal Petit, Giorgio Ardisson, and Gordon Scott

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:28 am

surprisingly different Italian costume drama about the rise of Cleopatra

As a dedicated fan of dubbed 1960s European costume historical adventures, I went into A QUEEN FOR CAESAR with limited expectations, expecting strong performances from such a good cast, but not much else. Boy, was I thrown a curve!

First of all, the entire film takes place BEFORE Cleopatra’s time with Caesar and Antony. We begin with Cleo and her nerdy, immature, arrogant brother Ptolameous, who sounds like he is being voiced (in the English dubbed version) by the fifteen year old Sal Mineo!! We also meet a Roman poet who helps Cleopatra; the military leader Pompeius (well-played by Akim Tamiroff), who lusts after Cleopatra and forces her to use her wiles against him to get what she wants; and her boyfriend Achillas, played by the reliable Georges/Giorgio Ardisson.

Cleopatra is played by French actress Pascale Petit, who reminds me of a less buxom Jayne Mansfield and who does a wonderful job of being playful yet strong yet vulnerable, which is just what this character is at this point in her rise. As a Gordon Scott fan, I was anxious to see him as Caesar (by the way, I don’t think he’s too young for the role–he’s in his late thirties at least, and he has a commanding presence, so he convinced ME that he could lead an empire and destroy his rivals!), but Caesar is only in the final third of the film, and Scott correctly received “guest star” billing at the end of the credits.

I was not familiar with Cleopatra’s history (assuming this film is historically accurate), so the final scene came out of the blue for me and was quite outrageous. My head was spinning for a while after a “THE END” credit came on the screen. On my copy of this film, the direction was credited solely to “V. Tourjansky”–Piero Pierotti was not mentioned. As 1960s historical dramas go, I must rate this as well above average. It may not have epic battles or grandiose court scenes, but I was never sure what direction it would go in, and each character was distinctive and full of little quirks that put the film well out of the realm of the average.

It took me many years to find a copy of this, but I’m glad I did. I’ll have to dig out some of the other films I have that star Pascale Petit–CODE NAME JAGUAR with Ray Danton, and FIND A PLACE TO DIE with Jeffrey Hunter. She is excellent and I can imagine her in a wide variety of roles. Recommended!!

Bill Shute, published elsewhere online in 2005

January 14, 2023

new poetry book for 2023…NEUTRAL by Bill Shute (KSE #420), available now for immediate shipment…

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 10:19 pm

NEUTRAL by Bill Shute

KSE #420, 125 pages, 6″ x 9″ perfect bound, softcover

published 2 January 2023

available for immediate order from

A new book-length poem for 2023, and in some ways it is my most ambitious work (IMHO) since POINT LOMA PURPLE (2007).

During a visit to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in June 2021, I began work on a new book-length poem, titled NEUTRAL, and got a lot accomplished during the two weeks in Mississippi and Louisiana, but I was not satisfied with the end result, and felt that I needed to create a work that was both more expansive and more minimal, under the spell of Frank Samperi’s poetry and Jürg Frey’s music. I also wanted to explore more dimensions of the diptych concept used in my last few books such as COMPLEMENTARY ANGLES and TWO SELF-PORTRAITS (AFTER MURILLO). Those works had been inspired by Wordsworth’s and Robert Lowell’s re-writing of their own works, and the two (or in the case of Wordsworth, often four of five!) different versions of one “work.” In the case of NEUTRAL, I felt inspired by Andy Warhol’s diptychs where one of the panels was essentially monochromatic (or should I say infinite subtle variations on monochrome), while also paying homage to the format of the early home-printed KSE poetry chapbooks, though with the added advantage of using some of the left-facing pages for counterpoint, a kind of Greek chorus reflecting on the right-hand flow. Thus, I continued work (whenever my job responsibilities gave me time) on NEUTRAL in late 2021 and early 2022, composing many new stanzas and incorporating them into the overall mosaic, now running 100+ pages. A draft of the full work was finished during my June 2022 writing vacation in central Louisiana, and upon returning to San Antonio, I spent a week or two on close editing, reading aloud, formatting etc. That work has been published (see cover pic) in softcover in January 2023 as KSE #420 and available NOW for immediate shipment. It is both an extension of the form/structure of COMPLEMENTARY ANGLES and TWO SELF-PORTRAITS (AFTER MURILLO) and a trek into refreshingly new territory for me.

 Priority one has always been for me THE CREATION OF WORKS THAT I WOULD WANT TO READ BUT WHICH DON’T EXIST OTHERWISE, AND THUS I HAVE TO CREATE THEM. As much as I love the works of the poets I grew up reading and who exerted such a huge influence on my development––Paul Blackburn, Ted Berrigan, Edward Dorn, WC Williams, Diane Wakoski, Charles Reznikoff, John Ashbery, Clark Coolidge, Robert Creeley, Larry Eigner, David Meltzer––no individual work of theirs seemed definitive or seemed to provide what I was hungering for, so I had to create the works which I myself wanted to read. I took the ball handed to me by Blackburn or Berrigan and ran with it further downfield toward that goal line that few of us mortals will ever reach (although Gertrude Stein did!)–we just, if we are lucky, get to carry the ball a few more yards from where the previous generation left off. So there is my own view of what I am doing in poetry. Also, as a lover of both music and painting and other art forms of which I am not a practitioner, I am able to use the aesthetics of those media in my poetry, allowing me to take elements from a John Cage or a Cy Twombly and transpose them into the world of poetry.

Each page of NEUTRAL is an autonomous open-field creation, so think of this as similar to an exhibition of related works organized into a long-form superstructure. Take your time with this work. Think of those musical pieces with so much space between sounds that the concept of “melody” becomes irrelevant, but each piece plays its part in the whole.

All of my KSE poetry books since 2016 are available at the Amazon Bill Shute Author Page:

(poetry books for other publishers, such as JUNK SCULPTURE FROM THE NEW GILDED AGE (Moloko) and CULTURE OF COMPLIANCE (Ruminant) are, if I’m not mistaken, still in print–a little Googling should find them–the others are out of print)

If you have a few extra dollars during this rocky economic period, why not try a few of the other KSE poetry books from recent years….









etc etc….

A physical copy of a poetry book is a friend who will always be there for you (indeed…my original copies of Paul Blackburn’s THE JOURNALS and IN.ON.OR ABOUT THE PREMISES, John Ashbery’s THE TENNIS COURT OATH, and Frank Samperi’s QUADRIFARIUM, all acquired in used racks 45+ years ago, still reside within 50 feet of where I am typing this post and still travel with me across the Midwest/Southwest/South/Texas … and still inspire me and remain fresh), and if the power goes down and the internet/cellular phone grid dies, all you need is the sunlight or a battery powered flashlight and your poetry books will be there for you, simultaneously taking your imagination on a journey, refining and expanding your sense of aesthetics, and (in the case of my own productions) shining a light on daily life experience from unexpected angles.

Wishing all of you reading this an enjoyable and productive 2023. Be sure to check-in weekly here at the KSE blog for new posts.

I’ve completed a draft of a new long-form work, after the completion of NEUTRAL, tentatively titled STATIC STRUT, which I will do a final edit on in the second half of 2023, after Mary Anne and I retire, and I’m knee-deep in work on another poetry book to follow that one, FOUR RAGAS (also a tentative title). STATIC should be available in early 2024 and FOUR RAGAS in early 2025.

Thanks to all who have been my readers over the decades, whether in magazines (or other periodicals), in books, or online. Some of you go back as far as my old Inner Mystique music ‘zine in the early 80s, now 40+ years ago.

There will also be some changes here at the KSE/Bill Shute website in the Summer of 2023, as I’ll have time for more newly created content here, and not just republication of fugitive earlier writings which would have appeared in the book of essays I’d planned a few years ago called NERO’S MOTHER MEETS THE PHANTOM GUNSLINGER, but which I scrapped and decided to post online instead (where they are getting many more readers than if they’d just been in a book people had to buy).

Stay tuned for that….

Until then, though, there will continue to be fresh content every Wednesday and the occasional additional post (such as this one)

January 11, 2023

LARCENY ON THE AIR (1937), starring Robert Livingston

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:17 am

interesting expose of 1930s quack radio-doctors

One of the last Republic films produced by the great Nat Levine, of Mascot Pictures fame, this stars Robert Livingston (The Three Mesquiteers) as a crusading young doctor out to smash the influence of quack doctors pitching their dangerous pseudo-scientific treatments over the radio waves. Obviously, the film is based on doctors such as the infamous Dr. John Brinkley, the “goat gland surgeon” who had a thriving radio-based business in the 1920s and 1930s (the quack doctor here, with an army of attorneys just like Brinkley had, is called Kennedy).

Directed by Irving Pichel (maker of the classic QUICKSAND, among many others), LARCENY ON THE AIR plays like a medical version of a standard crime film, but like any Levine production or Pichel film, it’s well-paced and wastes no time getting started. The leading lady is Grace Bradley, who married William “Hopalong Cassidy” Boyd this same year, playing a character much more complex than she at first seems to be. There are a lot of little-known but fine non-western, non-serial films made at Republic in the pre-World War II era. This is one of the many that are worth rediscovering.

Bill Shute, originally published elsewhere online in 2004

January 10, 2023


Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 11:47 am

I was sorry to see that the TAB HUNTER APPRECIATION GROUP on Facebook, which I’d been a member of for some time, had gone dormant and become “archived,” so I have revived it myself as administrator and brought in original club founder Keith Atkins as co-administrator. We’d like to keep active this source of information about Tab Hunter’s long and prolific career as well as to continue to generate interest in the man’s work. I actively followed Hunter’s career from the late 1960s until his passing and lived through the various phases of his career as they were happening. I remember tuning in to 70s TV shows I’d never ordinarily watch to see his guest shots (such as The Fall Guy), I remember when The Arousers played my local drive-in, I still have my original Scratch n Sniff Card from John Waters’ Polyester, etc.

If you are so inclined, please do a search for the group on Facebook and request membership. We’ll try to get some regular content coming your way…

January 8, 2023

SWING SISSON (Gwandanaland Comics reprint, available soon through Barnes & Noble)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 4:50 pm

The character of SWING SISSON had his own stories running in FEATURE COMICS from 1941-1950, but he never had his own comic book. He is a swing band leader who also fights crime–which seems to always find him–along with his lady vocalist Bonnie Baxter and his sax player Toby Tucker. We sometimes forget how huge a force in popular culture such big-band leaders as Benny Goodman or Tommy Dorsey or Gene Krupa were back in the late 1930’s through the late 1940’s. They had massive fan clubs and teenagers lined up outside venues for their shows. Since many of these leaders came out of a legitimate jazz background (don’t forget, Goodman had played on sessions with Bix Beiderbecke AND Bessie Smith before he was ever a name star), they also had a bit of the hipster “jive” in their patter and image.

So it was a genius move for someone to create a comic book big-band leader who was also a tough-guy and semi-detective capable of holding off the mob and fighting crime and solving mysteries. I’m kind of surprised that either Monogram or Columbia Pictures did not use the character in a B-Crime film. Many 1940’s crime films had nightclub scenes in them as filler with bands and band-vocalists–they could have padded those films EVEN MORE with inexpensive-to-shoot nightclub band numbers with a Swing Sisson as the lead character. He could have even gotten a Columbia serial during the Sam Katzman days in the mid-to-late 40’s. A serial such as CHICK CARTER, DETECTIVE with its nightclub setting could easily have worked Sisson and crew into the plot, in place of Lyle Talbot (great as he is/was), but as an obscure comic feature which did not even have its own magazine, SWING SISSON wouldn’t have been that much of a draw. In feature films, I can imagine a tough guy with humor such as CHESTER MORRIS (busy with his Boston Blackie features then, alas) or GRANT WITHERS picking up a baton, reading Cab Calloway’s Dictionary of Jive (or whatever it was called), and taking on the role. And if they wanted a more suave actor who could still be convincingly tough, how about Kent Taylor? The pencil moustache would have been perfect.

Swing’s backstory is dealt with in the first story, where he gets hired at Pete Jaxon’s “Clover Club,” which of course immediately is set upon by gangsters who want to close the place down. The stories become more outrageous as the series continued. In one, a former vaudeville entertainer who is down on his luck, and now envious of Swing’s success, kills everyone in the theater for Swing’s show. That’s right, he kills 1100 people…and three or four pages later, it’s resolved and he is caught….and he isn’t even killed, just taken away by the authorities! That should give you an idea of the level on which this comic feature operates.

I find the Swing Sisson comics to be quite entertaining. It’s not the kind of thing that you’d want to read three hours of straight through–you can only go to this well so often. Also, in fast moving six-page stories where a crime/mystery is introduced, investigated, fought against, and solved/defeated, there’s not much room for character development. However, when you’ve got Swing and crew fighting Nazis, or having some evil scientist kidnap the real Swing and replace him with a clone who is mean and dictatorial toward the musicians in rehearsals (!!!!), the entertainment value of the Swing Sisson stories remains high.

This first volume of two from Gwandanaland collects the first half of the Swing stories, and there’s also a second volume (which I don’t yet have) which takes him all the way through his final adventure in 1950…. almost 100 stories in all! It will be interesting to see how the character and situations change, if any, in the late 1940’s in Volume 2. It’s a refreshing change of pace to have a comic book character who exists in a show business environment and to have a nightclub be the base of operations for crime-fighting.

I’d never heard of Swing Sisson until this Gwandanaland collection came out last year, but for those who love crime comic books from the 1940’s and who love the nightclub scenes in 1940’s detective and crime B-Movies, imagine something that combines the best of both worlds. Also, the stories are short, so you can always read one while waiting on your coffee in the morning or just before falling asleep at night, and not have to worry about losing the thread of the plot. It’s over before you know it. If you read one before going to sleep at night, imagine what kind of dreams you’ll have. I for one would enjoy living in a dream world modeled on a 1940’s B-movie nightclub, where all the ladies wore outfits with padded shoulders and were a cross between Veronica Lake and Hillary Brooke with a twist of Lena Horne, where there was always a band swinging away on “Moten Swing” or “Perdido” in the background, where some Anita O’Day-style warbler would deliver sultry but hip renditions of “Blues In The Night” or “Pass The Bounce” as I sipped my Scotch and inhaled a no-filter Chesterfield, where the liquor flowed and there was always an open bar, and where the bouncers were modeled on 40’s tough-guy actors such as Douglas Fowley or Tom Neal.

Looking up Hillary Brooke online to make sure I spelled her name right, I see that her first husband had the last name of Shute! Gee, maybe I WAS married to her in a former lifetime. Where are those past-life-regression con-artists when you need them!

BILL SHUTE (originally published elsewhere online in 2018)

NOTE: since my original review of this collection five years ago, Gwandanaland has switched affiliations and is now selling their books exclusively through Barnes and Noble (unfortunately, that means US only). Their reissue of SWING SISSON should be available within a week. Be sure to check at B&N later this week to see if the reissue of this great comic series, combining two of my favorite things–hard boiled crime/detective action and swing music–is available, and then order a copy soon after.

January 4, 2023

THE SILVER TRAIL (1937), starring Rex Lease

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:09 am

Rex Lease and Rin-Tin-Tin Jr. in exciting b-western

1937’s THE SILVER TRAIL was one of the last leading-man roles for Rex Lease, who moved on to character roles for the rest of his prolific career. It was also one of the last productions of Reliable Pictures, an outfit run by Harry Webb and Bernard Ray, specializing in very low budget action films and westerns that managed to be fast moving and quite entertaining, using established B-stars such as Lease, Richard Talmadge, Jack Perrin, and Tom Tyler. Lease is paired with Rin-Tin-Tin Jr. here and seems to have a genuine rapport with dogs. The scene in the restaurant where he defends Rinty’s honor and then has Rinty climb across the table to join him will warm the heart of any doglover. The plot is that old standby where a miner has hit a rich strike and tells an old friend to come join him, but when the friend arrives, the miner has disappeared along with all records of him and his mine.

Near the beginning of the film, there is a character called “Hank”, presumably the brother of Lease’s character, who is never seen again, but performs two nice old-time country songs in the Montana Slim/ Wilf Carter vein. This character is not listed on the cast list.

Also unbilled is Snub Pollard, who plays the cashier/bartender at the place where the dog walks across the table. We also have the federal agent posing as a drunk and many other classic “archetypes” that give b-westerns like this their charm.

Overall, it’s a fast-moving, enjoyable little film that surely pleased the small-town and third-string theatre patrons it was made for, and Rex Lease has a special charm and warmth that can elevate any film. Rin Tin Tin Jr. also is deserving of merit. His biggest roles were in three Mascot serials of the early-mid 30s: The Wolf Dog with Frankie Darro; The Law of the Wild with Bob Custer and Ben Turpin; and The Adventures of Rex and Rinty with Kane Richmond.

Unfortunately, Rinty is not in a lot of this film–his scenes probably add up to 15 minutes. Lease had previously worked opposite a canine in the excellent INSIDE INFORMATION from 1934, with Tarzan the Wonder Dog. If you ever get a chance to see any Reliable Pictures releases from 35-37 starring Lease, Talmadge, Tyler, or Perrin, do yourself a favor and check them out.

Bill Shute, originally published elsewhere online in 2003

December 28, 2022

MUTINY AT FORT SHARPE (Italy-Spain 1966, starring Broderick Crawford, directed by Fernando Cerchio)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:02 am

offbeat Spanish-Italian western with military setting

MUTINY AT FORT SHARP is untypical for a European western, yet still an exciting and thoughtful film. It’s set in the barren Mexican border area of the Southwest US, as many Italian westerns are, but instead of lone gunmen or bounty hunters or Mexicans, we have a confederate fort in the middle of nowhere led by a commander, Broderick Crawford, who has a “siege mentality” and is somewhat brutal in his leadership.

When some French soldiers who are lost wander up from Mexico and arrive at the fort, the plot kicks into action. I won’t give away where it goes from there as it is somewhat unexpected, but there is constant tension throughout until the film’s sad but positive climax. Crawford is superb throughout as the dictatorial and delusional commander of the fort. Thankfully, the producers had him dub his own voice–you will remember how ineffective it was to have a generic dubbed voice for Crawford in GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON. Also, whoever dubbed the voice of the French captain here is the same person who provided the English language voice for many Eddie Constantine vehicles.

Overall, a powerful western that’s a lot more influenced by US “A” westerns of the 40s and 50s than by Leone or Corbucci.

Bill Shute, originally published elsewhere online in 2003

December 26, 2022

MICKEY MOUSE–ZOMBIE COFFEE, by RÉGIS LOISEL (Fantagraphics, 2022, hardcover w/ slipcase)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 2:20 pm

As popular as Walt Disney properties have been in their comics (comic books, comic strips, book-length compilations, digests, etc.) forms in North America, they’ve been even more popular overseas, with American comics creators such as Carl Barks and Don Rosa creating many series for foreign Disney licensees, written in English and then translated for the locals wherever they were published. International artists and writers have also created their own series to feed the hunger for comics product for overseas Disney licensees, and we in North America have been treated to a good sampling of that exciting and enjoyable work in English translation over the last decade, with more sure to come, as they have been selling well–or should I say well enough to pay for themselves in the limited niche market in which they exist. Fantagraphics in particular have been doing an amazing job in presenting these works in handsome editions, with serious documentation yet still emanating the sense of joy and enthusiasm that these Disney characters and their comics worlds possess.

I’ve been spending a good bit of time with English-language American reprints of foreign Disney comics in the last few years, and there are many highlights I could (and will, I hope, in the future) discuss here, but French writer-artist Régis Loisel’s amazing book-length adventure ZOMBIE COFFEE is so fresh and exciting that I feel obliged to plug it here.

It’s hard to re-invent classic characters and their classic invented worlds, making them edgy and contemporary while honoring and staying true to the original vision. One need only look at the many recent revisionist Sherlock Holmes adaptations to see how NOT to do this. The 1993 feature film ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES is a good example of how to pull this off skillfully.

Régis Loisel’s epic story ZOMBIE COFFEE takes such revered characters as Mickey Mouse, Horace Horsecollar, Donald Duck, and Goofy and fits them into an exciting tale that echoes the old slam-bang thrill-packed Mickey Mouse comic strips of Floyd Gottfredson, while the visual style clearly has deep roots in 70s underground comics, yet it still exists within a recognizable Disney universe…although with a twist. A few visitors to my home in recent weeks have picked this up from my dining table, thumbed through it, looked both rivited and confused by the content, and asked me, “is this a legitimate Disney product? It’s so…different…yet the characters are the same classic ones.”

Of course, we expect the Mickey Mouse of the Gottfredson comic strips to be down to his last dollar and looking for a scheme to get out of his immediate troubles, and his comic complications often grow out of that, but I was surprised to see such a trenchant critique of capitalism, of consumer society, of misanthropic oligarchs truly enjoying people’s suffering, of the exploitation of workers, etc. in this book. Thank goodness for our European friends, and their ability to bring such real-world concerns to American genre entertainment forms in a way that seems organic and not heavy-handed and obvious.

The visual style is scratchy and manic and agitated, while fitting well into the recognizable Disney universe.and remaining family-friendly. There are also a number of darkly colored scenes, looking like day-for-night photography, not unlike the post-1990 Batman comics–again, not something one associates with Disney comics old or new, but working well here.

Régis Loisel has also created an acclaimed series of Peter Pan comics, as well as working as an animator for Disney on Mulan and Atlantis. ZOMBIE COFFEE was originally published in Europe in 2016 as “Mickey Mouse: Café Zombo” and we should be thankful that Fantagraphics has translated the work into English and made it available in a handsome slipcased edition here in North America. The front and read endpapers are overflowing with sketches of Mickey and crew, presumably from the artist’s notebooks, which show his passion for these characters and are in themselves something you can spend many pleasurable moments savoring.

For me, this is one of the most unexpected and most significant comic-reprint publications of 2022, and it’s a work that will be new to most North American readers. At 24.99, it’s also relatively reasonably priced, by the standards of high-quality hardcover comic reprint volumes. I can’t imagine anyone who has a taste for either comics or vintage Disney characters not being pleasantly surprised by this volume. I anticipate returning to it often in the coming years. Very highly recommended, even if you are not a regular consumer of Disney comics as I am.

December 21, 2022


Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:53 am

Sam Katzman-produced 60’s-folkie rewrite on “Don’t Knock The Twist”

This plot goes back AT LEAST to the big-band era. A promoter or reporter or minor producer who is under pressure at his radio network/TV network/record label/newspaper/ come up with a blockbuster new concept or show discovers a new trend in music, helps some deserving up-and-coming performers get a break, and often finds (or rekindles) romance. In Don’t Knock The Twist, Lang Jeffries played the promoter–here it’s Peter Breck. In some of the Ron Ormond-produced “Jubilee” pictures it was Don Barry or Jimmy Ellison. In Good to Go it was Art Garfunkel.

Like the Bill Haley rock’n’roll movies of the mid-50s or the Chubby Checker twist movies of the early-60s, this is a Sam Katzman production, meaning it will be shot on a few cheap sets and will feature a number of semi-talented unknowns along with the better artists, but also it will have a number of excellent supporting actors to carry the “plot” elements. Here we have Peter Breck, Ruta Lee, Joby Baker, and Bobo Lewis as the female comic relief.

Not surprisingly, this film and Don’t Knock The Twist AND the Bill Haley vehicle Rock Around The Clock were all written by Robert E. Kent, but he’s working from a template that was old at the time. So how’s the music? Well, the title song by Sheb Wooley (in its full version, heard later in the film) is a fine rockin’ number, Johnny Cash’s version of Frankie and Johnny is solid, Judy Henske does an intense version of Wade In The Water with the support of avant-garde male dancers, the black gospel-folk duo Joe and Eddie do a fantastic anthemic number, and George Hamilton IV does his hit Abilene. The “humorous” clean-cut folk of the Brothers Four doesn’t really work for me, and some of the lesser acts have not dated well and seem to have somewhat shallow roots.

Don’t expect to see Dave Van Ronk, Phil Ochs, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott or Dylan here–there’s a line of dialogue about how the show they are producing will not include any of those coffeehouse, beatnik types!!

Gene Nelson, an actor and dancer before becoming a director, has helmed a number of excellent films, but he must have been given few resources and a very limited number of days’ shooting time here as the mismatched close-ups and casual framing of shots are not what one expects in an MGM release, even a bottom-of-the-bill drive-in release such as this one.

Overall, a historical artifact of interest to Johnny Cash completists and popular culture fanatics who would actually want to see a “Rock Around the Clock”-type movie about the 1960s pop-folk revival scene (depicted nostalgically in A MIGHTY WIND). I’m glad I saw this once, but I don’t think I’ll be putting it on again unless I live to be 150!

Bill Shute, originally published elsewhere online in 2004

December 14, 2022

Samuel Fuller’s STREET OF NO RETURN (Portugal,1989)

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Director Samuel Fuller’s films SHOCK CORRIDOR and THE NAKED KISS are among my all-time favorites. His attempts to achieve a kind of gutter-level truth through expressionistic exaggeration make his films completely unique. This film takes the classic noir novel STREET OF NO RETURN by Davis Goodis and turns it into a strange cinematic vision that is intense and brutal, yet otherworldly and cerebral. First of all, the film exists in no particular time–like RUMBLEFISH, it blurs elements from different eras so that it exists in some kind of alternate reality. Also, while the film supposedly deals with American issues, it looks so foreign (it was shot in Lisbon, Portugal, a city that has a unique look, but not a familiar look, as Paris or London or Rome or Berlin would have) that the whole thing seems to play out on an allegorical level.

Even the music by Keith Carradine is odd–Carradine (known for his 70s hit “I’m Easy”) is rooted in a kind of 70s folk-pop in the James Taylor vein, but his music is given an 80s Euro dance feel, and he looks like glam-era Kim Fowley (in the earlier times in the story) or trashed-out hippie-punk Kim Fowley (in the later times in the story). And while the film deals head on with racial issues, the Black actors in the smaller roles look nothing like African-Americans, which again takes the film away from any realism. Bill Duke is excellent as the harried police inspector, Keith Carradine is impressive as the protagonist (quite different from the book, but not attempting to be like the book, but like the screenplay), and once one gets into the “feel” of the film, it carries the viewer along for a wild ride.

This is a memorable last film for the great Samuel Fuller. It has all of his good qualities and visually it’s pure Fuller. The strange look and European feel to the film remind us that the man could not get a film deal in his own country and, like Orson Welles, was forced to put together overseas projects wherever he could. The Fantoma DVD presentation of the film is superb as are the extras (commentary by Carradine, documentary about the making of the film, etc.). The women in the film–Valentina Vargas as the woman who Carradine desires, and Andrea Ferreol as the woman who has nurtured him and who loves him but who he sees as a maternal figure (the line about “you’ve always been like a mother to me” is painful to hear!)– are both incredibly sexy in a raw, animal-like way that we don’t often see in films nowadays.

If you’ve ever enjoyed a Samuel Fuller film, you should seek out this DVD. If you want to try something different, buy or rent this rather than going to see some empty Hollywood product at the multi-plex.

Bill Shute, originally published elsewhere online in 2005

December 7, 2022

BILL HALEY AND HIS COMETS–Crazy Man, Crazy (Bear Family), 10” LP

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:34 am

  BILL HALEY AND HIS COMETS–Crazy Man, Crazy (Bear Family), 10” LP  

A1Farewell, So Long, Goodbye
A2I’ll Be True
A3Green Tree Boogie
A4Sundown Boogie
A5Rocket 88 (Bonus)
B1Crazy Man Crazy
B2What’cha Gonna Do
B3Ten Little Indians
B4Rocking Chair On The Moon
B5Real Rock Drive (Bonus)

10” LP’s are a special format–longer than an EP, shorter than an LP, but with packaging large enough to be attractive and worthy of display, and with the shorter length providing a focus and (one would hope) a higher batting average than a full album. Most record collectors keep their 10” releases separate from albums and singles, and those copies of Janis & Elvis or Black Market Clash or the Beatles boot From Us To You are treasures we would not want to go without.

     Bear Family understands this and has been reissuing rare 10” LP’s from around the world, as they feature prime rocking material from the artists but often lesser-known tracks or interesting combinations of tracks…so while the artist may be well-known, the particular collection of tracks is fresh, and in a beautiful exact reissue of a rare 10”, it’s something quite tempting come payday.

     Crazy Man, Crazy features 10 songs from Bill Haley’s pre-Decca years on the local Philadelphia labels Holiday and Essex, from 1951-1954.

     As a disc-jockey (to support himself when music-making wasn’t fully paying the bills), Haley heard a wide variety of records and was a man with eclectic tastes, so in 1951, he was well-qualified to combine the elements he heard in country boogie and western swing with the elements he heard in rhythm and blues to create a new kind of music, which eventually was tagged rock and roll.

     The 1951-1954 sessions here are among Haley’s most important, and most freewheeling, because the formula was being worked out but was not yet set in stone. Rocket 88, from 1951 and often considered the first rock and roll record by those who label such things (it’s far more complex than that, and many earlier records would qualify), was a cover of a Jackie Brenston song, but most of the rest of this album consists of Haley and group originals, and as they continued on in ’52 and ’53, the elements we all know and love came together–the surreal nursery-rhyme style lyrics, the celebration of rock and roll as the songs’ core content, the whip-crack solos, the powerful beat anchored in the slap-bass but supple and slithering along like a snake with the unexpected steel guitar bursts, the jazz-inspired guitar solos, and Bill’s enthusiastic vocals. Haley also learned that his target market would be teenagers, not the rowdy beer-drinking older audiences at the country bars where he’d been paying his dues for a decade.

     One could argue that the tracks here–including Crazy Man Crazy, Real Rock Drive, Rockin’ Chair On The Moon, Rocket 88, Green Tree Boogie, and Farewell, So Long, Goodbye–are among Haley’s purest recordings, and although The Father of Rock and Roll never stopped rocking until the day he died, these tracks have a small label-rawness and vitality that make them essential.

     For those who do not own any Haley vinyl, this might be THE one to get.

Bill Shute, originally published in Ugly Things magazine in 2017

November 30, 2022

MARK WYNTER, Venus In Blue Jeans: The Pop Years, 1959-1974 (RPM, UK), 3-cd set

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MARK WYNTER, Venus In Blue Jeans: The Pop Years, 1959-1974 (RPM, UK), 3-cd set

     Mark Wynter is not that well-known in North America. Back in the 70’s, I was vaguely aware that he was one of those pre-Beatles British pop stars, but I never heard his music until seeing on late-night UHF TV the 1963 quickie Anglo-American rock’n’roll film Just For Fun, which I’d sought out because The Crickets and Freddy Cannon were in it. Wynter not only sang but acted in the film, and he was quite impressive, cool and natural on screen, and with great magnetism. Of course, he wasn’t really rocking, even by the standards of Cliff Richard or Terry Dene, but he had an excellent voice, which was used well on the material I heard, and his movie-star good looks would not have hurt him among the teenage girl segment of the audience. I was unaware then that Wynter had recorded prolifically during the entire 60’s and into the 70’s, and that he’d moved on to great success as a stage actor, both in dramas and musicals (including starring in both Cats and Phantom of the Opera).

     Thus, I was quite surprised by this new 3-cd set from RPM, assembling 95 tracks by Wynter, including pretty much everything he released from 1960-1974, plus a rockin’ demo of ‘I Go Ape’ that predates his first release, a variety of unreleased tracks, and even television performances.

     However, if you are looking for pure rock and roll, I should point out that “I Go Ape” is the only rockin’ track on the set. If you enjoy, say, Lou Christie’s Painter of Hits album or James Darren’s Brill Building-penned hits or Scott Walker’s more MOR-flavored late 60’s material or Steve Lawrence’s “Go Away Little Girl” (which is covered here) or Wayne Fontana’s “The Impossible Years,” you will find a lot to like in this collection.

     The listener can hear Wynter growing and becoming more subtle of a vocalist with each single, though still aiming for the charts and for the hearts of young ladies. His voice is always given room to breathe, the arrangements are rarely cluttered or bombastic, and for the most part the songs are well-suited to his persona. During the height of the beat era (say, 62-65), his records do have the hint of being beat-oriented, in the same way as Bobby Vee’s records with strings do, although the material here is much more imaginative, as is the singing.

     As the mid-to-late 60’s arrived, Wynter moved even more into the adult pop field, sometimes coming off as a younger, hipper Jack Jones, but there continued to be an attractive understated, unforced, supple  quality to his performances, which is probably why they’ve aged so well (like Chet Baker or Rick Nelson, Wynter understands that laying back a bit can pull the listeners in).

     This is an impressive body of work…if you are looking for frothy and sparkling string-laden 60’s British pop. Wynter is a far better singer than most of the American “teen idols,” and as usual for RPM, the set is complemented by detailed notes and documentation in a snappy and attractive package.

Bill Shute, originally published in 2017 in Ugly Things magazine

November 23, 2022

JOHN LEE HOOKER—Documenting The Sensation Recordings, 1948-1952 (Ace, UK), 3-cd box

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:10 am

JOHN LEE HOOKER—Documenting The Sensation Recordings, 1948-1952 (Ace, UK), 3-cd box

In some ways, this mammoth 3-cd box of prime early Detroit Hooker is a companion volume to the four LP’s on Third Man entitled Early Recordings, Detroit and Beyond, reviewed by yours truly in 2019 in Ugly Things magazine. This new Ace box contains most (though not all) of what else remains from that period: the material Hooker’s producer (and Sensation Records owner) Besman licensed to Modern in L.A. (where Hooker had his first hit, “Boogie Chillen”), along with additional material which came out on Sensation, and more that came out later on Specialty…not to mention whatever scraps and alternates Modern or Besman retained and never got around to releasing. It’s ALL here, on three fully-packed discs, and it sounds amazingly full and vibrant and in-your-face.

As Besman explained the approach to recording Hooker, “First we put a mike onto his guitar and we put a speaker in a toilet bowl next door. Then we put a mike under that so the sound would echo off the water. Then I put a board under his feet to make his tapping louder, and put a mike down there.” There were also some primitive overdubs and the occasional additional musician, but most of this set is Hooker’s smoky, insinuating voice, his over-amplified electric guitar, and his stomping foot, pounding out his unique brand of angular, jagged, but aggressively rhythmic boogie.

There are multiple versions here of various motifs, like preliminary sketches an artist would make to test differing approaches, each one fascinating in itself. Since Hooker never performs a song the same way twice, “repetition” is not really an issue. Hooker’s Mississippi roots were steeped in the urban tangle of steel mills and auto assembly lines, electrified, and came out with the distorted, pounding, soul-rich hardcore blues found in the 71 tracks included here. If you are new to Hooker, this is a great place to start as he’s at his purest; if you are already a fan, you know you need all of the early Hook you can get.
The booklet essay by Dr. Wayne E. Goins explains in clear and precise language exactly what John Lee was doing with both left and right hands on the guitar, his tunings, his picking patterns, etc., and much of the rest of the booklet contains pictures of worn acetates and tape boxes, undoubtedly causing salivation among dedicated Hooker fans. An essential set that will never grow old!

Bill Shute, originally published in Ugly Things magazine in 2020

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