Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

September 28, 2021

Edgar Wallace’s DEAD EYES OF LONDON (Germany 1961), starring Joachim Fuchsberger and Klaus Kinski

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September 26, 2021

Dean Jagger in C-MAN (1949), with John Carradine

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offbeat but interesting indie crime-noir film

The few who know this film are probably either hardcore film-noir completists or hardcore John Carradine fans who must have every film “the master” appeared in. I’m glad I recently had an opportunity to view the film, because it is a fascinating independently-made crime-noir film with a number of unique touches. Most of the film is shot either on location on the streets of New York or in VERY small low-budget sets. The location shooting is quite interesting, using unexpected camera angles and giving the film a kind of documentary feel–one suspects that director Joseph Lerner and cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld were familiar with the Italian neo-realists. I could watch hours of this kind of footage, capturing 1949 New York, as it was experienced by people on foot, through great low-angle shots. And the musical score, by Gail Kubik, is quite avant-garde–sections of it sounding like early John Cage or Stan Kenton at his most atonal. Ms. Kubik was obviously a fine composer who adapted her avant-garde music well to a crime film–I’m anxious to hear some of her other work. Dean Jagger is not the most convincing tough guy, but he is a good enough actor to handle the expository dialogue and unnecessary voice-overs and make them sound SOMEWHAT natural! Lottie Elwen, playing a woman from Holland whom Jagger meets and who gets the mystery, such as it is, in motion, is quite seductive and was an excellent choice for the role. John Carradine can create a distinctive supporting character in his sleep, and once again he does that here as a fallen, now-crooked doctor who has had his medical license revoked (he’s only in a few scenes). We should, with hindsight, give credit to the filmmakers who were obviously working on a VERY low budget, yet created a distinctive looking film and a film with lots of atmosphere. Fans of obscure noir-crime films should seek it out; although it’s certainly not a flawless classic, there’s something real and raw and spontaneous about it, and that quality transcends any other limitations the film has.

(review originally published in 2002)

September 24, 2021

Ralph Forbes in I’LL NAME THE MURDERER (1936)

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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.

(review originally published in 2002)

September 22, 2021

Kasnat & Katz Fighter Squadron, ‘Pickin’ Up Sticks’ (1971 single)

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From 1971, here is another gem from the Jerry Kasenetz/Jeff Katz empire, this time from the mind of Ritchie Cordell. I recently reviewed the massive 6-cd Tommy James and the Shondells box set for Ugly Things magazine, and Mr. Cordell looms large over a number of the Shondells’ best tracks and was involved with hundreds of fine records over a few decades. 1971 is kind of late for the classic bubble-punk era, but the formula was too good to discard, and the aggressively throwaway nursery-rhyme lyrics (Bill Haley was a master at that also) mixed with a killer riff and the interesting sound textures we associate with K&K mix together to create an anthem that would still command a dancefloor full of Le Beat Bespoke fans. Released in the US on Super K, the record also got issued in Germany, France (see sleeve above), and Turkey. There was another single credited to the Squadron too, “When He Comes.”

50 years after it was released, PICKIN’ UP STICKS still puts a smile on my face and gets my foot tapping, so thanks to Mr. Cordell, Mr. Kasenetz, and Mr. Katz. I just listened to an hour-long interview with two members of the Music Explosion, and after hearing them discuss K&K, I thought I’d share another “deep cut” from them. Enjoy….

September 20, 2021

Will Bradley/Ray McKinley Orchestra, with Freddie Slack, BOOGIE WOOGIE (1950s reissue of their classic early 40s sides)

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A1 Beat Me Daddy (Eight To The Bar)
A2 Down The Road A Piece
A3 Celery Stalks At Midnight
A4 Flyin’ Home
A5 Boogie Woogie Conga
B1 Strange Cargo
B2 Scrub Me, Mama, With A Boogie Beat
B3 Basin Street Boogie
B4 Chicken Gumboogie
B5 Rock-A-Bye The Boogie
B6 Rhumboogie

Will Bradley, trombone and leader

Ray McKinley, drums and vocal

Freddie Slack, piano

September 18, 2021

The Best of ARNOLD ZIFFEL

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September 16, 2021

Donald Woods in DANGER ON THE AIR (A Crime Club Mystery, 1938)

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September 14, 2021

Peter Martell in TWO CROSSES AT DANGER PASS (Spain-Italy 1967)

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September 12, 2021

Ozzie Nelson Orch.- ‘Oh, What An Easy Job You’ve Got All You Do Is Wave A Stick Blues’ (from 1940 Vitaphone film short)

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September 10, 2021

Shane Fenton & The Fentones, “Why Little Girl” (UK 1962)

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September 8, 2021

Jet Harris, “Some People” (UK 1962)

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September 6, 2021

I’m With Busey (Episode 1)

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September 4, 2021

Ravi Shankar – Live in Patras, Greece 1987

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Ravi Shankar, live at the 2nd Festival of Patras in 1987.

September 2, 2021

Guy Madison in EXTRA GUNS (1960)

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August 31, 2021

OZZIE NELSON backed by James Burton and Rick Nelson’s band (1959)

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August 29, 2021

Warne Marsh, ‘Live in Hollywood’ (Xanadu LP)

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WARNE MARSH, tenor sax; HAMPTON HAWES, piano; JOE MONDRAGON, bass; SHELLY MANNE, drums (12/23/1952)

“Fine and Dandy” – 7:12​
“You Go to My Head” – 8:50​
“I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me” – 9:45​
“Buzzy” – 7:15​
“All the Things You Are” – 5:19​
“I’ll Remember April” – 7:09​
“I Got Rhythm” – 6:19

August 27, 2021

LEVEE CAMP MOAN (UK, County Recording Service LP, 1969)

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Side 1

  1. Sweet Little Angel 0:00​
  2. Lining Track 6:16​
  3. Disgusted Of North Acton 7:35​
  4. Keep From Crying 11:44​

Side 2

  1. Walking By Myself 15:37​
  2. Flood In Houston 18:30​
  3. Damp 23:15​
  4. Mr.Backlash 27:02​

Taking their name from the old blues number Levee Camp Moan, they were formed in the late 60’s when the five members, manager and roadies lived a country farmhouse in Bracknell. The name of the farm was Peacock Farm. (info from You Tube)

Nice touch, crediting Jack Kerouac as recording engineer! I think he might have appreciated the No-BS approach of this band. This is pure unadulterated British Blues as it should be played (to paraphrase Eddie Condon on the subject of Chicago-style jazz)….

Recorded at Virgin sound Windsor on 12 Jan – 16 Feb, 23 Feb 1969
Sal Bristow Vocals
Frank Wood Vocals
Ian Anthony Campbell Guitar
Stubbs Bass
Wild child Ashmore Drums

August 25, 2021

BIRMINGHAM (1972 LP, Grosvenor Records UK)

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A1 Sock It JB
A2 Shoo Fly Fly
A3 Some People Never Know (Vocals – Jenny Peace)
A4 Magic Sorcerer
A5 Help Me
A6 Fire And Rain
B1 Boomerang
B2 Black Cloud
B3 Stone Free
B4 Summertime Blues
B5 Resurrection Shuffle
B6 Northern Hemisphere

Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet, Cowbell – Billy Paul
Drums, Congas – Mike Walsh*
Organ, Vocals, Piano, Acoustic Guitar – Dave Peace

August 23, 2021

SUGARLOAF, 1st album (Liberty Records, 1970), 8-track tape version

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Colorado’s SUGARLOAF (who were at least partly an extension of the great mid-60s band THE MOONRAKERS) got a lot of airplay on the Denver (KFML) and Boulder “alternative” FM stations I listened to as a junior high and high school student, being a local band and a band whose music perfectly fit that trippy FM format.

Here is their first album for Liberty, but in the 8-track version (thanks to whoever posted this from their own 8-track tape). I can imagine someone in my hometown of Golden, Colorado, listening to this 8-track in their Jeep or pickup, cruising through the foothills. Why not imagine that setting as you listen…

1 Green-Eyed Lady
2 Things Gonna Change Some (part 1)
3 Things Gonna Change Some (part 2)
4 West of Tomorrow
5 Gold and the Blues
6 Medley : Bach Doors Man/Chest Fever (part 1)
7 Medley : Bach Doors Man/Chest Fever (part 2)
8 The Train Kept A-Rollin (Stroll On)

Jerry Corbetta – organ, piano, clavichord, vocals
Bob Webber – guitar, vocals
Bob Raymond – bass
Myron Pollock – drums
Bob MacVittie – drums (on Green-Eyed Lady)
Veeder van Dorn -vocals on West of Tomorrow and Things Are Gonna Change Some

————————————-

OOPS….sorry but the link has been taken down since I wrote this post a few months ago….trust me, it was an interesting variation on a fine album…..

August 21, 2021

Gene Clark (solo acoustic), Live at The Rongo, Trumansburg, New York, 20 May 1990

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Rain Song 0:00​
Train Leaves Here This Morning(with a Intro) 4:28​
Here Without You 9:57​
Set You Free This Time 14:15​
The World Turns All Around 17:51​
Gypsy Rider 20:44​
Kansas City Southern 26:03​
My Marie 30:11​
Eight Miles High 38:48​
Knocking On Heaven’s Door 42:29​
Chimes of Freedom 47:25​
I Shall Be Released 54:04

August 19, 2021

Tony Sheridan, live in April 1959, “I Like Love”

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August 17, 2021

Billy Boyd (aka Jerry Cole), ‘Twangy Guitars’ (Crown Records, 1960)

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This music was also released as ROCK AND ROLL PARTY, and the tracks were then retitled for a surf-themed album….and later under the faux band-name THE ELECTRIC UNDERGROUND, it was reissued as GUITAR EXPLOSION. It’s first-rate west coast sax and guitar rock and roll….enjoy….

Shuffle Boogie
Night Rock
When The Lights Are Low
Jivin’ At The Savoy
Stompin’ At The Crossroads
Diggin’ The Blues
Mambo Boogie
South Hampton
Bolero Boogie
Duck Walk
Oop Shank
Drifting

August 15, 2021

Vittorio Gassman and Gerard Landry in THE VIOLENT PATRIOT (Italy 1956, now in color and widescreen!)

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THE VIOLENT PATRIOT came out on VHS here in the US 25 or 30 years ago in black and white from a pan and scan TV print. Here is a beautiful English-dubbed COLOR print, presenting this 1956 classic in all its majesty. A fine cast featuring Vittorio Gassman, Gerard Landry, and Irish actress Constance Smith (who’d worked in Hollywood earlier)….and at the helm, director Sergio Grieco. a master of the historical spectacle, the Eurospy film, and the Eurocrime film….his last film was the blistering 1977 BEAST WITH A GUN with Helmut Berger and Richard Harrison, so the man certainly did not go out of the film world on a whimper! This did get a US theatrical release and undoubtedly looked impressive on the big screen (assuming the US release was in color and not B&W). As the film’s tagline stated, “Genius in the arts of war and love…no man ever stood taller than this hero who hurled back the invading hordes across the Alps.”

Vittorio Gassman … Giovanni de Medici dalle Bande Nere
Constance Smith … Emma Caldana
Gérard Landry … Gasparo, luogotenente
Anna Maria Ferrero … Anna
Philippe Hersent … frate Salvatore
Silvio Bagolini … ‘Lumaca’, il servo gobbo

directed by Sergio Grieco

released in Italy in September 1956

color, widescreen, 93 minutes….dubbed in English

August 13, 2021

THEM, “Shut Your Mouth!” (1979 German LP)

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Ask 30 people what the final THEM album was, and 2/3 of them would say THEM IN REALITY, the 4th American Them album, on the Happy Tiger label, which took bassist Alan Henderson’s then-powertrio into grungy hard-rock territory with great results. However, Henderson and other Them veterans (Billy Harrison and Eric Wrixson) later joined vocalist Mel Austin and drummer Billy Bell for this German 1979 LP which was linked to a European tour. The album was produced by ex-Rattle Frank Dostal, and unfortunately it gets a bad rap the few times it’s mentioned, but if the band had been called anything else, I have a feeling it would be praised for lovers of British R&B. Imagine it had been recorded in Italy for Appaloosa and had a title relating to Belfast–it might be considered a classic of late-period veterans delivering the bluesy goods. Of course, if you’re not a fan of journeyman British R&B, you’re not going to like it, so go ahead and move on. For me, any band with Henderson, Harrison (he wrote most of the songs here) and Wrixson is going to be worth hearing, and Austin is a solid vocalist with the requisite growl who would certainly pass were he fronting a group of Texas musicians at the Continental Club on a hot Saturday night. It’s kind of like, for instance, a group of Memphis rockabilly musicians who’d been part of the local scene in the mid-50’s recording an album in the late 70’s or early 80’s. It would have been taken for granted at the time and compared with the 50’s material and found wanting; however, in hindsight, it’s solid and there are not people around anymore who can do what these original musicians could do.

I dig this out every year or two (I’ve had a copy since the 1980’s) and always enjoy it, so I was happy to see it on You Tube. If you come into it with no preconceptions and realize that 3/5 of the band are original members of the pool of musicians who were the original Them and part of an incredible Belfast music scene circa 1963-65, you should pour yourself a bottle of stout, and let these pros do what they do. Is a Carl Perkins record from the 80’s as good as his Sun sessions? Of course not, but it’s still a precious and enjoyable item, as long as it’s not over-produced and clogged with “guest stars.” This Them album is live in the studio, sounding like a well-recorded demo tape, so that to me is part of its strength. I can imagine some pretentious commentators calling the album “generic,” but they are working in a well-established genre and trying to find their own authentic groove within it.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Alan Henderson, who passed away in Minnesota in 2017 at the age of 72. I’m glad he lived to see his post-Van Morrison editions of Them being praised and recognized. The American Them bands played live quite a lot, especially in the American western states, and I wonder if any live recordings exist in the hands of the surviving band members or their families. Can you imagine live performances of the material from the two Tower albums or the Them In Reality power trio?

Until then, here is SHUT YOUR MOUTH, from Germany in 1979. Pretend the band name is THE BELFAST SURVIVORS, if that helps any. However, with Henderson, Wrixon, and Harrison, they are certainly entitled to fly the THEM flag IMHO….

01 Hamburg Connection
02 I’m A Lover – Not A Worker
03 Shut Your Mouth
04 Needed On The Farm
05 Street Walking Lady
06 Firewater
07 Child Of The Sixties
08 Slow Down
09 Losing You
10 Weekend Entertainer
11 Holy Roller 12 Cincinnati Dice Man

LINE-UP: Vocals – Mel Austin
Bass – Alan Henderson
Drums – Billy Bell
Guitar – Billy Harrison
Keyboards, Jew’s Harp – Eric Wrixon

The original album is not a big-ticket collectible and also there was a CD reissue on Spalax (France) that can be found at reasonable prices, for those who’d like to own a hard copy of this.

August 11, 2021

P.C. Kent, ‘Upstairs Coming Down’ (UK RCA LP, 1970)

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PRODUCED BY SANDY ROBERTON

A1 Little Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, Honey-Child Won’t You Just Allow Me One More Change, Please
A2 Sweet Suzie Brown Boots
A3 Broadened
A4 Please Time Please
A5 I’m Hanging On
A6 We Are The Police
B1 Prelude To Brighton Rock
B2 One For The Road
B3 Suzy
B4 After Dark
B5 Blue Railway Fields
B6 Plastic Wedding

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