Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

August 30, 2014

JAYWALKERS: ducal poems, three (KSE #290), new poetry chapbook from BILL SHUTE


JAYWALKERS: Ducal Poems, Three

KSE #290 (poetry chapbook)

$6 ppd. in USA / $7 ppd. elsewhere

payment via paypal to   DJANGO5722(at)YAHOO(dot)COM

please include a note with your order telling us what are ordering and providing mailing address…thanks!


The “Ducal Poems” series is an open-ended poetry chapbook series of works inspired by the compositions of Duke Ellington. JAYWALKERS  is my third chapbook in the DUCAL POEMS series, although I have not chosen to publish the first two yet (however, CIRCLE OF FOURTHS, the first of the Ducal volumes, appears on the soon-to-be-released spoken-word poetry album WORRIED MEN AND WOODEN SOLDIERS). They should come out within the next year.

One of the dirty little secrets of the adult world, one that most of us have to learn by experience since we tend to be a bit naive as we are developing, is that those who proclaim themselves to be an “alternative” to the mainstream or the status quo are just as flawed, just as corrupt, just as dishonest, just as vain, and just as power-hungry as those on the “inside.” They set up just as many hierarchies, they play just as many (if not more) games, and they are just as elitist, although in a different way. The irony is that they view themselves as “progressive” or “radical” and superior to the mainstream, which makes them often EVEN MORE pretentious and insufferable than their mainstream counterparts. They don’t realize (or maybe they do and hate themselves because of it) that they are in the same game, played on the same gameboard, as those in the mainstream whom they feel superior to. If you refuse to validate their game or if you refuse to fall into their hierarchy in the place they have assigned to you, they will crush you and your work as fast as they’d step on a roach. One sees this in politics, in the arts (the poetry “alternative” establishment is a perfect example), in many other areas of society. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, etc. Those who want to be in power are a mirror image of those who ARE in power. How can someone be a “kingmaker” of the underground when the underground is supposed to be opposed to the concept of kings and hierarchies….

Those who seek a “third way” are forever marginalized as JAYWALKERS.

That’s what this new six-part poem is about….and also what it embodies.

This is a poetry chapbook that walks down the street looking into the windows of cafes and bistros that it can’t afford to enter…or that it is not well-enough dressed to enter.

I began this in July but wrote most of it while on the road in Kansas, western Missouri, and Oklahoma in early August. I remember standing with Mary Anne on the sidewalk of the main drag in Lawrence, Kansas,  and looking across Massachusetts St., from one side to the other, as Saturday night cruising-traffic drove by—suddenly, the image patterns for this chapbook crystallized in my brain, and finishing the work was just a matter of connecting the dots. Lawrence is a great town, by the way…..we also found William Burroughs’ old house while there, it’s a beautiful area with an interesting history (Langston Hughes lived there), and there’s a great used bookstore (The Dusty Bookshelf)…among many other things. However, this piece is NOT set in Kansas the way some of my recent pieces have been set in specific geographical areas. As in a Harold Pinter play, it’s immediate and full of real-world specifics, but given a surface universality.

It’s the same post-Blackburn, post-Berrigan open-field poetry, full of particulars to chew on like VERY chunky peanut butter, you’ve come to expect, but each piece chooses its own form, its own voice, its own speaker/persona, its own tone. It’s a piece that cries the same primal howl that the Jandeks or the Harry Partches or the Andy Milligans or the DA Levy’s of the world have cried through both their works and their example. If you are out there  masked and anonymous but feeling the same thing, it’s for you.

Hand-assembled, hand-numbered, imprecisely-cut DIY edition of 39 copies. Get yours now.

$6 US / $7 elsewhere

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

KSE #287 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “The Fellowship of the Frog”

KSE #282 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Hot Combination”

KSE #276 (art-and-poetry chapbook), DAVID PAYNE & BILL SHUTE, “Blues With A Bridge”

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

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

We also have an excellent catalog of NEW experimental music from cutting-edge artists from four continents, but KSE began as a poetry press, so I’ll stick to promoting poetry in this post.

As always, thank you for supporting independent, non-aligned arts collectives such as Kendra Steiner Editions…..such organizations are the tortoises that will eventually win the race.

August 22, 2014

Lightnin’ Hopkins, “Free Form Patterns” (3-cd box, Charly, EU)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 4:05 pm



“Free Form Patterns”  (Charly, EU)

extended 3-cd reissue of the sessions for his 1968 International Artists LP

The late Houston bluesman Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins was a man who, at least in his post-1959 “comeback” period, had a pragmatic and somewhat jaded attitude toward recording. Perhaps reacting to being burned earlier in his career, he would in this period record a certain agreed-upon number of songs for your label, cash up front, and would do one-take of each. Lightnin’ was a professional so he could deliver the goods and did not need to rehearse, and also, as his art was based on improvisation within already existing forms (forms which he would bend and stretch and mold to his immediate needs differently in each performance), each performance would be somewhat unique, even if it was a song he’d recorded many times before. This approach seems to make sense for a man whose art was so IMMEDIATE. I have always favored those blues poets who work the details of daily life into their art. Whether the details are real or contrived makes little difference—-if they SOUND like they are woven into the performance from that morning’s or last night’s experiences, then to me this contributes to the truth-telling function that many of us appreciate about the blues as a means of expression. Artists such as Hopkins or John Lee Hooker or Robert Pete Williams (and many others) are great examples of this.

For most artists, an extended 3-cd set devoted to a classic album would feature early workouts and then multiple takes of each tune, maybe also including mixes prepared for singles, etc. Not so with Lightnin’ Hopkins—-one take of each song, then on to the next. It’s almost as if Hopkins is sculpting his blues in time—-each “song” is a three-to-four minute slice of blues-time.  What we have here is, literally, the complete session from beginning to end, a true fly-on-the-wall perspective, with album producer Lelan Rogers, who knows the tape is running non-stop, getting Lightnin’ (and sometimes ATTEMPTING to get Lightnin’) into conversations about his past and his attitudes. The original FREE FORM PATTERNS album, released on International Artists records in 1968, contained the “songs” plucked from within this sea of Lightnin’. Now we are presented with THE WHOLE THING, evidently meticulously re-configured from various tape fragments, as the complete session in exact order did not survive in one lump form.

FREE FORM PATTERNS has never been at the top many fans’ lists, but it’s always been one of my favorite Hopkins albums, and I have dozens of his albums, including the complete Prestige Bluesville box and the complete Jewel/Paula 2-cd set. There is a leisurely feel to the session, and the opening track, “Mister Charlie,” is for me one of his best performances. In fact, I echo it in my poem “Led Along.” I also think it is a great album to play for someone who is unfamiliar with Hopkins. Backed by his frequent collaborator and cousin Billy Bizor on harmonica and by 13th Floor Elevators members Duke Davis on bass and Danny Thomas on drums (and pianist Elmore Nixon on part of the sessions). Bassists and drummers never had an easy time working with Hopkins or John Lee Hooker because of their unpredictable chord changes and bar structure, so drummers had to play in a loose but supple way to provide a PULSE instead of a regular beat, and bassists had to IMPLY changes but cast the net wide enough to accommodate whatever Hopkins decided to do. It was an imperfect art, but those who could listen to Hopkins and feel along with him got to where the whole thing worked, and in fact there’s a kind of tension in the looseness which is refreshing. Mr. Davis and Mr. Thomas certainly got into the groove of what Hopkins was doing, and the result works as well as the Prestige/Bluesville sessions where he’s sometimes backed by jazz musicians, although there’s something about the mix of psychedelic musicians with a blues base jamming with actual blues musicians that I’ve always found unique and appealing. You get that here.

Basically, the first CD here is the original FREE FORM PATTERNS album (sounding better than ever, by the way…the original release and the earlier reissues were a bit muffled sounding) and a track from the sessions that appeared on the old EPITAPH FOR A LEGEND compilation.

The exciting news here is the 2nd and 3rd cd’s, which are the complete session recordings, from set-up through the conversations with Lelan Rogers. I can’t imagine any Hopkins fan, or any fan of REAL blues in general, not getting excited about this fly-on-the-wall perspective. Hear Lightnin’ counting the songs he’s recording, making sure he’s not giving any more than he’s getting paid for. Hear Lightnin’  the raconteur telling various tales of his exploits or details of what he did that morning or referring to some old business in the neighborhood that’s long gone. Hear him negotiating w/ the producer and the other musicians. Hear him reminisce about shared experiences with his cousin Billy Bizor. Hear him take a drink in between tunes. Hear him discuss working with the young Jimi Hendrix. Hear him essentially holding court with his followers. Lightnin’ knew that  everyone here looked up to  him, and this was a self-conscious performance, even if he did not know that every word was being recorded for posterity. The second half of CD 3 consists of conversations between Lightnin’ and producer Lelan Rogers, and what a treat it is to hear Hopkins loosened up and talking about his first recordings, about various small towns in East Texas, about his marriage, and much more. It’s quite different from the interview he did with Samuel Charters for Prestige/Bluesville, and it’s a treasure, a true piece of Texas history.

I’ve listened to the 2nd and 3rd discs twice each so far, but I look forward to putting them on “repeat” in the future while I’m working and getting to know them well. This is, basically, a front-row seat at a complete Lightnin’ Hopkins session (two, actually). Nowadays, everyone’s got portable devices to record EVERYTHING, but in 1968, that was not the case. Those of us who love Lightnin’ Hopkins’ work and treasure every new discovery will be ecstatic about the 3-cd extended reissue of the Free Form Patterns sessions. It’s a revelation. I don’t know what prompted Charly to take on this project, but I’m sure glad they did. For me, this is THE vintage blues release of the year. Pure Texas blues as it’s being created, on the spot. Pure 100 proof Lightnin’ Hopkins. All I can say is “aaaaaahhhhhhhh……..”

Get your copy now….a Lightnin’ Hopkins session live in your living room! Who would NOT get excited about that….sip some Bourbon or some cheap rye along with Lightnin’ and you are there…

It should be added that the liner notes and historical research provided with this package are stunning….so many rumors about the sessions and the album are actually NOT TRUE and interviews with those present have provided a number of new insights. In an attractive hard-cover digi-box, it’s an incredible document….and I predict that it will come to be regarded as a blues classic and something unique in blues recording history.



Disc 1
1. Mr. Charlie
2. Give Me Time To Think
3. Fox Chase
4. Mr. Ditta’s Grocery Store
5. Open Up Your Door
6. Baby Child
7. Cooking’s Done
8. Got Her Letter This Morning (AKA: She’s Almost Dead)
9. Rain Falling
10. Mini Skirt
11. Black Ghost Blues

Disc 2
1. Chat 1 – I’d Like To Get In Tune With The Boys
2. Song 1 – Give Me Time To Think
3. Chat 2 – Harmonica Players
4. Song 2 – Miniskirt
5. Chat 3 – Lelan: Is Billy A Hippy?
6. Song 3 – Got Her Letter This Morning
7. Chat 4 – Drinking Chat 1: No No, I Don’t Fool With Nothin’ But What I Fool With
8. Song 4 – Mixed Up [Previously Unreleased]
9. Chat 5 – Band Direction / Billy
10. Song 5 – (Mr. Dillon’s) Grocery Store Blues
11. Chat 6 – You Know Mr. Dillon?
12. Fox Chase False Starts / Band Direction
13. Song 6 – Fox Chase
14. Chat 7 – Drinking Chat 2 – I’m The Best Person In The World When I’m Drinking
15. Song 7 – Lord Have Mercy [Previously Unreleased]
16. Chat 8 – Drinking Chat 3 – Don’t Think It Ain’t Got Something In It

Disc 3
1. Song 8 – Rain Falling
2. Chat 9 – Argument Over Songs
3. Song 9 – Cooking’s Done
4. Chat 10 – Sweet Lil’ Woman, But You Ain’t Got No Hair + Chat
5. Song 11 – Mr Charlie
6. Song 12 – Straw Hat [Previously Unreleased]
7. Chat 11 – They Got 100 Songs
8. Song 13 – Green Onions [Previously Unreleased]
9. Chat 12 – Vietnam Song Snippet / Oh Oh Lyric
10. Song/chat – Poppa Was A Preacher Rehearsal/chat
11. Chat 13 – That Had The Feeling, Finishing Session
12. Conversation 1 – Trouble In Crockett Tx
13. Conversation 2 – Whiskey On Prescription
14. Conversation 3 – Musician’s Hours: Tommy Hall / Stacy Sutherland
15. Conversation 4 – Where`d You Pick Up The Name Lightnin’
16. Conversation 5 – You Not Gonna Mess With Elmore (Nixon) Anymore?
17. Conversation 6 – Centreville Tx
18. Conversation 7 – Politics

Release date 21 April 2014 


Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins, guitar, vcl

Billy Bizor, harmonica

Duke Davis, bass

Danny Thomas, drums

(on disc 3, Elmore Nixon on piano)

recorded 3-4 January 1968 and 9 February 1968 in Houston, Texas

Free Form Patterns [3CD boxed set]

August 1, 2014

Back From the Kansas/Oklahoma trip…

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 8:09 am

update, August 17: We’re back and filling orders again….

had a wonderful time in Oklahoma, Kansas, and western Missouri



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