Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

September 29, 2019

Malcolm Yelvington, “Rockin’ With My Baby” (Sun-Charly UK, CD)

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MALCOLM YELVINGTON, “Rockin’ With My Baby”

Charly/Sun/Complete Rock’n’Roll CD, 26 tracks, released 2010

original recordings made at Sun Studios, Memphis, 1954-1957

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Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee

Just Rollin’ Along

Yakety Yak (Alt.2)

I’ve Got The Blues (Blues In The Bottom Of My Shoes) (Alt.2)

Gonna Have Myself A Ball

Rockin’ With My Baby

It’s Me, Baby

First And Last Love

Mr. Blues (Alt.1)

I Ask You To Stay (Alt.1)

Trumpet (Alt.3)

Goodbye Marie (Alt.2)

Goin’To The Sea (Ocean)

Let The Moon Say Goodbye

Yakety Yak (Alt.1)

I’ve Got The Blues (Blues In The Bottom Of My Shoes) (Alt.1)

Rockin’ With My Baby (Alt.1)

It’s Me Baby (Alt.1)

Mr. Blues (Alt.2)

I Ask You To Stay (Alt.2)

Trumpet (Alt.1)

Goodbye Marie (Alt.1)

Rockin’ With My Baby (Alt.2)

Trumpet (Alt.2)

It’s Me Baby (Home Demo)

Rockin’ With My Baby (Home Demo)

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Malcolm Yelvington was a bit older than the typical Sun artist, in his 30’s when he recorded the first of his two released Sun singles, and he had a rich background, playing the mid-South area for at least a decade prior to this recording and having his own radio show. Write-ups on him mention his early musical heroes as being Bob Wills and Ernest Tubb, and that’s quite clear when you think about it, although he certainly transformed those influences into something unique. Like Wills, he’s got the jive-talk patter, floating over the beat, down cold, and his work always swings; like Tubb, he can reach down inside himself for a cavernous baritone when he needs to. He knows from his years of experience with small-town audiences the appeal of a good novelty song, a catchy-tagline, and a kind of self-deprecating ‘aw, shucks’ tone to his vocals. Strangely, the person he reminds me of most is western sidekick Guy Wilkerson, who played Panhandle Perkins (see B&W pic)


in a series of PRC “Texas Rangers” westerns, starring James Newill (in the earlier ones), Dave O’Brien (in all of them), and Tex Ritter (replacing, Newill in the final 8). Something about the stance and the timing evokes “Panhandle Perkins,” although Wilkerson did not sing. There’s also a bit of Smiley Burnette in Yelvington, which is no surprise since the 40’s and 50’s, Yelvington’s prime period of live performance in the Mid South, was the period of country “entertainers,” when comedy was part of the show (it even was in Elvis’ early days) and you had to entertain everyone, from five to seventy-five, and also Yelvington got his start playing at a movie theater in between shows. As with Bill Haley, it’s likely that a lot of those shows were westerns, and with Columbia’s Durango Kid (Charles Starrett) westerns, featuring the novelty songs and comedic antics of Smiley Burnette, dominating the marketplace in the late 40’s, Malcolm and crew may well have been the supporting act to Smiley and Durango more than once. There is a certain humorous quality bubbling under the surface on most of Yelvington’s material that sets him apart from most of the Sun roster and gives his records a special sound that would surely have been appealing to record buyers, though they might not have been able to define what that mysterious but appealing quality was. Yelvington’s vocals are always entertaining and have the kind of “country hepcat” authenticity that can’t be faked. Again, he was a unique presence at Sun, but in the larger marketplace such distinctive and multi-talented, but older, artists such as Yelvington (or Onie Wheeler) could not compete with an Elvis or even a Carl Perkins or a Johnny Cash. Fortunately, a good body of work survives on Mr. Yelvington….14 songs, and with alternate takes and the like, enough for a 26 (Charly) or 28 (Bear Family) CD.

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Yelvington’s STAR RHYTHM BOYS are the perfect example of how a small Western Swing-based unit, with strong honky tonk and country boogie roots, can effortlessly put one foot into the rock and roll world without ever leaving behind the fact that they are first and foremost a country band.

As with the CD collections of Sun artists such as Barbara Pittman and Jack Earls, when there is only a dozen or so “songs” surviving, the albums are extended to CD length by alternate versions, and at Sun those usually differed from each other significantly. The albums mentioned above, along with this one, present all the songs once before any alternate versions are introduced, and that’s probably the best approach for the general audience. I myself enjoy albums where the alternate versions are presented one next to the other so we can compare the differences and similarities more clearly, but I know (based on the reaction of family and friends when I play such albums) that not everyone prefers that approach. Whoever compiled this CD did front-load the album with the “best” versions of the songs, the most rocking and with the most confident and character-filled vocals, and it’s a nice touch to finish off the album with the two home demos, with a band but probably recorded in the artist’s living room. I’d had Yelvington’s album on Collector-White Label of later recordings, but somehow this album  of prime Sun material (which has been out for 9 years) flew under my radar until I saw a sealed copy for $4.99 at the Half-Price Books in San Marcos, Texas, and my life is richer now because of it. Malcolm Yelvington’s recordings, the two original singles issued at the time, and the many other tracks and alternates, ALL have the rich, downhome, echoed Memphis sound that Sun did better than anyone (M.Y. also recorded for Meteor under a pseudonym, though that got even less exposure than the Sun singles). There’s not a weak or even average track here. If you are into Sun Records but don’t have this collection, you need it (and it’s cheap….I saw it on Discogs for $4.50, and there were a few sealed copies at Half-Price Books, so I’m guessing that the album has hit the netherworld of remaindered/cut-price distribution, which we used to call cut-outs).


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On a personal note, I was once in the same room with Malcolm Yelvington. Mary Anne and I made a trip to Memphis in 1996, and of course we stopped at Sun Studios. After we bought tickets for the tour, we sipped a soda in the waiting area/gift shop, and a lanky  older man came up to speak with the manager of the Sun operation….and that voice was instantly recognizable, even 40 years after his Sun records and while talking, not singing.  He did not say his name, but he talked about what days he’d be working there in the coming week and asked about some items he had for sale on consignment, and somehow I knew, turning to Mary Anne and excitedly whispering in her ear, “that’s Malcolm Yelvington!” I didn’t want to bother him, and he went on his way a few minutes later, but I asked the manager if it was actually M.Y., and he said it was and mentioned that he appeared from time to time to chat and reminisce with Sun fans and what a kind and jovial fellow he was. By the way, when my son was recently passing through Memphis and asked me if Graceland was worth seeing (it certainly is), knowing what an Elvis fan I am, I told him yes it was, BUT if he had time to visit only one thing in Memphis, it should be Sun Studios, not Graceland. I would still say that to anyone reading this.

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1987 Japanese “P-Vine Special” LP of Yelvington tracks backed with material from Sun drummer Johnny Bernero

malcolm bear

the Bear Family (Germany) compilation of Yelvington’s complete Sun recordings predates the Charly by a few years and contains a few more alternate versions, but lacks the home demos found at the end of the Charly CD reviewed here

September 22, 2019

Andrew Oliver and David Horniblow, THE COMPLETE MORTON PROJECT (Lejazzetal, UK, CD)

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CD, issued 2019, Lejazzetal Records (UK)

you can order a copy at

morton back

Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941) is one of those figures in the American culture of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s whose name is still well-known, and to some extent his accomplishments are also known, but who is not given the credit that he is due as an innovator…and a person who was laying the foundation for what came later. In the world of cinema, someone like Mack Sennett might be a comparable figure. The jazz music of the 1920’s (the roots of which go back to the 1910’s and even before) is not celebrated that much today—-even figures who began in the 1920’s, such as Duke Ellington or Benny Goodman, are not usually lauded for their 1920’s work except by specialist jazz historians or musicians. Few bands doing an Ellington tribute would have a brass bass (tuba) instead of a string bass or a banjo instead of guitar, yet those are the defining characteristics of pre-1929 jazz. Even bandleaders as sophisticated as Ellington or Fletcher Henderson had them in their bands. Similarly, Jelly Roll Morton, often considered the first jazz arranger (whose “Jelly Roll Blues” was published in 1915, and who had been doing similar things for years prior to that), created an entire musical world within what would later be called the “jazz ensemble” prior to, say, Don Redman with Fletcher Henderson, or to the Ellington “Jungle Band” of the late 1920’s. It’s regrettable that Morton did not record in the 1910’s. His first known recordings date from Chicago in 1923, though he claims to have recorded on the West Coast in the 1910’s. There is documentation for his activities during the West Coast years, documentation which (except for actual surviving recordings) to a large extent backs up Morton’s claims (which were often laughed at back in the day), and fortunately, there is a large body of recordings from 1923 until Morton’s passing, in a number of diverse settings with a wide variety of musicians (and vocalists). Here is a link to a fine Morton discography, so you can start building your Morton collection, and discovering the joyous and pioneering work of this larger-than-life pianist-composer:

Jelly Roll Morton discography from Doctor Jazz (UK)

Andrew Oliver and David Horniblow (see pic below) spent 2018 recording all of Jelly Roll Morton’s compositions, and each week posted two new tunes to their Youtube channel, which you can access here:  Morton Project You Tube channel

For this new 2019 album, these gentlemen cherry-picked 15 pieces from Morton’s large body of work, both familiar and very obscure (including some pieces newly discovered in recent decades), and did high-quality studio recordings of them (the You Tube sessions are of a documentary nature, not intended to be the highest fidelity to be played on high-end equipment) for CD and digital release. And what an album it is! This duo brings virtuoso instrumental skills and a knowledge, based on decades of playing this repertoire, of what Morton himself would have thought to be interesting interpretations of the works in a duo format. Morton’s work, like much of pre-1926 jazz, sometimes strikes modern ears as “ragtime” rather than “jazz”, but the boundary between the two musics is a fluid one and the transition is gradual. When listening to a late 1910’s recording by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band or a 1940’s performance by Bunk Johnson, who originally developed in the late 1900’s and through the 1910’s, you can here musicians whose feet are clearly in ragtime as they reach for the stars. And ragtime itself is a genre capable of infinite variety within its parameters. Is ragtime REALLY any more rigid of a form than the music of Bach or of Philip Glass or Steve Reich? I think not, when you consider all the variety found within the music of those composers (and their disciples).

Morton’s music never gets old. I remember hearing one of (San Antonio’s own) Jim Cullum’s radio shows where he had on Dick Hyman, a man who has digested the entire jazz tradition, and Hyman explained the Morton style by playing a section of some piece, then played it as Morton would have played it, then explained what aspects of what he’d just played were uniquely Morton-esque, by replaying various phrases. It was a revelation. Morton’s concept of the “Spanish Tinge” is not easy to define, but you know it when you hear it.

This new album is one of the most exciting new releases of the year. The performances are fresh, spontaneous, and full of spirit. In particular, Mr. Horniblow’s use of the bass saxophone, an instrument not often used (Adrian Rollini showed how versatile it could be in his 20’s and 30’s recordings), is a revelation–I’m reminded of the old slogan of the 1960’s avant-garde label ESP-Disk, “You never heard such sounds in your life.” I had to remind myself that it was a bass sax producing the wide variety of pure sound engaged in a kind of dance with the pianist in some of these pieces.

We should be thankful that musicians such as the late Jim Cullum, and Dick Hyman, and Andrew Oliver and David Horniblow have dedicated their lives and working careers to keeping the rich tradition of jazz history current and relevant and ever-developing.

I can’t recommend this new COMPLETE MORTON PROJECT highly enough. Even if you have no recordings from Morton himself (and basically EVERYTHING he ever recorded should be public domain, so it’s out there for you to discover whenever you are ready), this new album is a fine entry point into Morton’s body of work and does a great job of establishing his significance. Whatever kind of music you are into, I can’t imagine you NOT getting into the spirit of Morton’s music and the passion of these performances.




September 18, 2019

please help Ian Whitcomb with health care-related expenses…

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 3:42 pm

Ian Whitcomb is dealing with some health issues and could use our financial help. Think of how much joy he has given all of us over the decades. Any amount helps. I gave…hope you can make a donation too.


Ian’s wife has started a GO FUND ME account to help with his expenses. She writes, “Ian receives Surgical Thrombectomy on Sept. 19.
There have been many complications since Ian had the stroke in 2012. He hasn’t worked and I’ve been his full time care-giver. No income for 7 years.
Now we must ask for your help. Any amount.
Ian’s recovery and rehabilitation will be long and expensive. Left to what medicare covers he will not improve.
You may have experienced this yourself… as the wife, I must advocate for and participate in his care wherever that happens to be. Once home we’ll need skilled help here.
We humbly ask for your help.
I thank you for reading and appreciate how much you all care about Ian.”

Ponder that for a minute… NO INCOME FOR 7 YEARS! It’s hard to think of anyone in the entertainment and arts field whose whole career has been about joy and spreading happiness as much as Ian Whitcomb. Here’s our chance to give a little something back to a man who, even though I’ve never met him, always comes off as our friend. The world needs more people like Ian (although they broke the mold when he was made!)….

You can access the GO FUND ME page here:


ps, I was listening to a cassette of one of my old INNER MYSTIQUE RADIO shows from the 1980’s the other day, and on it I featured a track, “Wedding Bells Are Ringing For Sally (but not for Sally and Me)” from his then-current album (which I had a cassette release  of!) HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN on George Buck’s Audiophile label. His music always brings a smile to the listener’s face!

September 10, 2019

new podcast from legendary director FRED OLEN RAY

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With 150+ directorial credits (that includes 28 episodes of his hit cable TV series THE LAIR), FRED OLEN RAY continues to make exciting, witty, and always entertaining films on time and at or under budget, with great casts and colorful concepts, and with entertaining an audience always first in his mind.

Mr. Ray is also an articulate man discussing his work, as shown in his great book for McFarland many years ago, THE NEW POVERTY ROW: INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS AS DISTRIBUTORS, where he not only discusses his own company but the production companies of Jerry Warren, Kane Lynn, and others. Fred recently started a series of podcasts, where he basically talks about the specifics of one facet or another of his 45 year career, and for anyone who cares about and enjoys low-budget, independent genre-film production, it’s a gold mine!

The last three episodes dealt with the production history of the Gary Graver film MOON OVER SCORPIO, which Ray was involved with; various “lost” films that Ray remembers making; and most recently, his experiences working for Roger Corman on a number of films. I’m looking forward to future entries! It’s the next best thing to sitting across from Fred at some steakhouse, after you’ve bought him a massive tropical drink and a man-sized filet, he fires up his cigar, and he starts with the anecdotes….just without the steak, the cigar, or the drink.

Here’s the link to the series of podcasts. You can use this link in the future to access future shows as they appear.



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fred 3


fred 4


fred 5


fred 6


fred 7


fred 8


fred 9


fred book


fred ice

September 9, 2019

BOB DYLAN Fall 2019 Tour

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Well, those discussions about how we’ll all get along without Dylan’s Never Ending Tour were a bit premature….the announcement for the Fall 2019 shows was just a bit late.

The good news is that Dylan is playing all over the US….just not in Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana, unfortunately…. however, he is playing many venues he hasn’t played in a few years, so many of you will get a chance to see this fine band and its inimitable frontman, skipping reels of rhyme.

I’ve been very impressed with the recordings of the Spring/early Summer 2019 Europe shows I’ve heard (maybe 12 of them so far). The new arrangements of some of the material bring a fresh perspective to the songs, and Dylan certainly is passionate in his delivery of the songs. He still cares about breathing new life into his songs on a nightly basis, re-shaping the lines (sometimes changing the lyrics), re-sculpting the performance with the sultry bed-of-sound provided by Tony Garnier, George Recile, Donnie Herron, and Austin’s own Charlie Sexton (whom I used to see, often with his brother, leaning against or seated at the Continental Club bar back in the 1990’s).

These are special and emotion-filled performances (yes, not every night brings the A-game, but that’s true of any worker….I’m not on my own A-game on this Monday morning); however (and most Dylan fans already know this), before you pay $75 or $100 for a ticket, you should check out the setlists for the shows the week before you go, and then bone up on the lyrics to the songs. You’ll get a lot more out of the show if you know the words to, say, WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE, or PAY IN BLOOD, or SCARLET TOWN, or SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE, or EARLY ROMAN KINGS, or THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN.

bob 2019

Here’s the late 2019 American Never Ending Tour dates announced so far….

11 OCT 2019 Irvine, California UC Irvine – Bren Events Center

12 OCT 2019 Santa Barbara, California Santa Barbara Bowl

14 OCT 2019 Palo Alto, California Stanford University — Frost Amphitheatre

17 OCT 2019 Denver, Colorado The Mission Ballroom

19 OCT 2019 Lincoln, Nebraska Pinnacle Bank Arena

20 OCT 2019 Kansas City, Missouri Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland

22 OCT 2019 St. Louis, Missouri Stifel Theatre

23 OCT 2019 Ames, Iowa Iowa State University – C.Y. Stephens Auditorium

24 OCT 2019 Mankato, Minnesota Mankato Civic Center

dylan mankato

26 OCT 2019 Milwaukee, Wisconsin Eagles Ballroom

27 OCT 2019 Bloomington, Indiana Indiana University – Auditorium

29 OCT 2019 Normal, Illinois Illinois State University – Braden Auditorium

30 OCT 2019 Chicago, Illinois Credit Union 1 Arena at UIC

1 NOV 2019 South Bend, Indiana Morris Performing Arts Center

2 NOV 2019 Muncie, Indiana Ball State University – Emens Auditorium

4 NOV 2019 Columbus, Ohio Ohio State University – Mershon Auditorium

5 NOV 2019 East Lansing, Michigan Michigan State University – Wharton Center for the Performing Arts

6 NOV 2019 Ann Arbor, Michigan University of Michigan – Hill Auditorium

8 NOV 2019 Highland Heights, Kentucky Northern Kentucky University – BB&T Arena

9 NOV 2019 Akron, Ohio University of Akron – EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall

10 NOV 2019 Moon Township, PA Robert Morris University – UPMC Events Center

12 NOV 2019 Baltimore, Maryland University of Maryland Baltimore County – UMBC Event Center

13 NOV 2019 Petersburg, Virginia Virginia State University – Multi-Purpose Center

15 NOV 2019 University Park, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania State University – Eisenhower Auditorium

17 NOV 2019 Ithaca, New YorkIthaca College – Athletics and Events Center

19 NOV 2019 Lowell, Massachusetts University of Massachussetts – Tsongas Arena

20 NOV 2019 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Performing Arts Center

21 NOV 2019 The Met Philadelphia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There is also supposed to be the usual multi-night residency at a NYC Venue (the Beacon Theater?), so this list is probably incomplete at its end.

bob 2019 poster

September 8, 2019

Support Your Local Farmers Market

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:41 pm

farmers market

It’s easy to drive past the local Farmers Market while applauding it in spirit. Family farms are not what they were 75 or even 25 years ago. The ones that do survive have in many cases moved toward specialized produce/fruit/farm products, thinking (probably correctly) that niche markets are the only place that real competition can take place. Yes, some supermarket chains (our Texas-based H.E.B. being an example) do work with family farms in their areas, and that’s admirable, but it’s often not possible to know the details of what’s going on there without being somewhere in the supply chain yourself.

A much better way to support these small business-people is to buy their products at local markets. For many years, we had a Farmers Market down the street from our home, but it was on a weekday in the middle of the day, and I was at work before it started until after it ended. Now, however, for the last six-eight months we’ve had one about a mile away that runs each Sunday, and it makes me happy to see how popular it has become. It’s hard to find a parking space close by, which is a good sign of robust business. Beyond the merchants selling locally grown vegetables and fruit, we have bakers, olive oil merchants (our area is good for olive growing), people selling salsas and jellies, people selling homemade juices and kombucha, even a family selling Filipino food cooked on a grill before your eyes. And the merchants vary from week to week.

Here in San Antonio, there must be at least 10-12 Farmers Markets each week, and when you count the outlying areas such as New Braunfels or Boerne or Spring Branch or Seguin, it’s probably a few dozen.

I have always been one to support the small business, the family business…the neighborhood Mexican restaurant or pizzeria, the food truck, the artist selling copies of their own CD at the local bar/club. Someone is living their dream through this kind of endeavor, and the difference between keeping afloat financially and sinking might well be a handful or people stopping in, instead of going to a supermarket or a corporate operation. It often costs more, but nobody’s getting rich off a food truck selling smoked sausage in a homemade tortilla, or selling raspas from a trailer during the summer, or selling duck eggs from their farm in some parking lot on the weekends.

As someone who has run various small businesses over the years, I know that I have appreciated EVERY person who spent their hard-earned money on a product I produced…but for me, it’s always been a sideline. For some of these folks, it is their main source of income. Their rent and electric bill and car insurance being paid is dependent upon my/our making the choice to seek out independent merchants and small businesses. It’s a choice we can take the time to make as consumers (obviously, many products can NOT be gotten in this manner….I’m well aware of that), and as they say whenever you fly Southwest Airlines, “we know you always have a choice.” I have to remind myself sometimes, if I’m feeling lazy or cheap some burned-out afternoon, to go out of my way to support the small merchant, but I’m happy and satisfied when I do. And the products are so delicious!

Oh…and when you buy that loaf of rosemary bread or those links of pecanwood-smoked venison sausage, try to pay with cash and not a card. The rates small merchants are forced to pay on small transactions are brutal, usually around 5% AND a fee. Many don’t want to have the policy you see at small mom’n’pop convenience stores where you can’t use a card for a purchase of under $5 or $10 and antagonize customers or create a negative vibe, but I can tell you that many small merchants will not even break even after the card fees are paid. We certainly don’t want to put any more money into the banking conglomerates’ hands, especially when it comes out of the pockets of the small business person.

Some reviewer once called the KSE label/press a “cottage industry,” and I was honored!

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September 7, 2019

book-length collections of PD Charlton Comics

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 12:37 pm
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I’ve written extensively about Charlton Comics (1945-1986) over at Blog To Comm (just do a search there of BILL SHUTE, CHARLTON) in past years, and I usually save my writing about vintage comics for BTC instead of posting it here, but I wanted to alert everyone about some reissue projects over at Gwandanaland Comics.

navy war

Gwandanaland has been putting out publish-on-demand books of vintage Public Domain comics for a number of years and have now topped the 2400 mark.  In that time, they’ve brought many many Charlton comic books back into print, usually in volumes that collect, say, six or seven complete issues. The most rabid comics fans often tend to be superhero fans, though I’ve never much been into that myself, so Gwandanaland Comics (we’ll call them GC from here on out) first went after PD superhero properties from Charlton (Blue Beetle, etc.). My own interests are in Western and War comics, and Charlton was IMHO the King of both genres. Not only did Charlton have all four branches of the US Military covered with their own comics (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force), but each branch had multiple titles devoted to it (even the Air Force had two!!!), and there were also titles such as ATTACK and WAR AND ATTACK which potentially could cover all the military branches.

billy gwan

Charlton also stuck with Western comics longer than the other majors, and never succumbed to the “weird western” fad which western comics fell into in the 70’s and 80’s. Charlton was dutifully pumping out BILLY THE KID comics until March 1983 (although many of the later issues were reprints….it was always exciting to see an issue with ALL-NEW! at the top of the cover. Many Charlton western titles have been reprinted so far, with more to come. Of course, only titles from 1967 and prior could potentially be Public Domain, but that still leaves hundreds of issues.


Charlton also had some of the strongest entries in the horror/supernatural area, as well as being the Kings of the curious HOT ROD comics genre.

During my days of buying new comics (I still pick up old ones cheap) from the 60’s through the 80’s, Charlton was always my favorite publisher, by far. They were the indie upstart, the little company that could, and like a PRC or Monogram Pictures, they created a product cheaply that fit well into established genres, and if the budget was kept down (Charlton paid less than other publishers, and used their own grungy printing presses, which tended to have the coloring not matched up with the lines and produced odd Warhol-esque images that would never have passed muster elsewhere, but were one of the many “special” qualities to Charlton), and the distribution was wide enough, a profit could be made. It was said that at PRC Pictures, if you could work quickly and cheaply and would be willing to give your film an exploitative title, you’d be given a lot of freedom, as no one really cared about the small details of your project. The same could be said for Charlton. Everyone knows about how certain comics visionaries who were always bursting with ideas such as Steve Ditko and (San Antonio’s own) Pat Boyette could pretty much do what they wanted at Charlton, and turned down better-paying gigs at other publishers in return for that freedom.

If you’d like to explore what CHARLTON comics have been reissued by GC and are presently available on Amazon, here is a link to a Charlton-specific search:

Charlton comics collections at Amazon

hot rod

GC has been in overdrive recently researching in a thorough and methodical (and time-consuming) manner exactly which pre-1968 comics are PD from Charlton and Dell and a publisher whose most famous character rhymes with Starchie. For the latter publisher, they’ve been issuing multiple books A WEEK, and they’re also getting ready many more volumes of Charlton and Dell PD material. I provided them with a list of titles in the areas of interest to me—-Westerns, War, and Hot Rods—-and these too will be released in the coming months.

The work being done by GC in turning old PD comic books into handsome print-on-demand volumes is important and making comics history….most importantly, it’s making life more enjoyable. I can’t be reading THE ICEMAN COMETH or the works of Celine or Dreiser all the time–I KNOW that’s the way life is because I live it every day. At the end of a long and grinding work day, nothing satisfies like a Charlton BILLY THE KID comic book. And if we can’t defeat evil in our everyday lives, at least we can read about battles which were won and enemies that are defeated in a Charlton WAR AND ATTACK comic book. Like a solid crime or western programmer from Monogram Pictures, it delivers the goods and is created by professionals who are good quality storytellers and don’t waste your time. Like a good hamburger joint, they give you what you want the way you want it, no frills, no pretensions…just solid (and delicious) enjoyment.

September 3, 2019

The Complete Works of W.H. Auden, ‘Prose, Volume III: 1949-1955’

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:04 am
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Edited by Edward Mendelson, 779 pages

Published in 2008 by Faber & Faber


In March of this year, I spent a few glorious weeks savoring the final volume of Auden’s collected prose, VOLUME VI: 1969-1973, in whatever free time I had for reading. When I was a teenager, Auden’s poetry had excited me, alongside the work of Emily Dickinson and John Ashbery, though for some reason in the last 20 years I no longer read Auden’s verse. About 20 years ago, I acquired the volume COLLECTED LONGER POEMS, and I found it deadly. Oh, I’m sure the fault was entirely my own, but I could not make it through any of them—-on some level I was reminded of fusion-jazz, lots of technical expertise but nothing to say…except for when the pieces were didactic, and that was even worse. Auden’s prose, however, is still a joy for me. Whether essays, reviews, prefaces, commissioned statements, or whatever an esteemed author and intellectual is paid to write to pay his bills and to fund what he views as his “creative work,” the pieces both illuminate the subjects discussed and, perhaps more importantly, contain the kind of off-the-cuff philosophizing and summations of a life’s worth of life experience and intellectual passions that only a wise person can toss off effortlessly. It is a privilege to be in Auden’s presence, if only on the page and sixty-five to seventy years after these pieces in the present volume were written, from 1949-1955. Auden is the kind of public intellectual always needed in society. He reminds me that a fine essay is as satisfying as a piece of chamber music or a miniature from a master visual artist, and he surely dashed most of these off as quickly as Picasso could draw a woman’s back with a few expert and passionate strokes.

When Auden is discussing 20th Century Greek poetry, or T.S. Eliot’s essays, or American culture, or Poe, or Wilde, or Byron, or Cocteau, or the Protestant Reformation, in between the analysis and the detail about the subject at hand, one finds wonderful gems tossed like rubies by someone ordered to scatter their riches in the next five minutes…statements that on some level may make assertions, and that the reader may or may not accept, but that start one thinking, that raise questions, the way a fine Socratic teacher will begin the dialogue with an ice-breaker. I tend to slip in a bookmark and stop reading when I encounter one of these, and begin pondering, the way one would in the perfect college seminar, which probably does not exist in the real world, or exists only rarely.

Why don’t I share some of these random passages from Volume III (1949-1955) of the COLLECTED PROSE, and let you also take these passes given to you by quarterback Auden and run with them (all within about 50 pages of this massive book):

“…to find out what a person’s religion is one has only to discover what he becomes violent about.”

“The problem of every man and writer is at all times essentially the same, namely, first to be himself and then to learn to not be himself”

“Like nearly all self-analyses, this is at once too modest in regards the gifts and too proud as regards the character, for what lies in front of one’s nose depends on the direction in which one chooses to look”

“The nine or ten short novels…of Roland Firbank are, to me, an absolute test. A person who dislikes them, like someone who dislikes the music of Bellini or prefers his steak well-done, may, for all I know, possess some admirable quality, but I do not wish ever to see him again”

“No European finds it easy to believe that progress is likely”

“[Cocteau’s} attitude is always professional, that is, his first concern is for the nature of the medium and its hidden possibilities: his drawings are drawings, not uncolored paintings; his theatre is theatre, not reading matter in dialogue form; his films are films, not photographed stage effects”

“[Christian] apologetics by their nature can arrive at little more than negative conclusions, i.e. the most an apologist can hope to demonstrate is that his opponent’s conclusions do not answer certain questions which they both agree must be answered”

“Every artist, good or bad, is a member of a class of one”

“The artist does not want to be accepted by others, he wants to accept his experience of life which he cannot do until he has translated his welter of impressions into an order; the public approval he desires is not for himself but for his works, to re-assure him that the sense he believes he has made of experience is indeed sense and not a self-delusion”

“Every translator is an international agent of good-will”

“When one glances over a list of titles to religious books, one realizes how almost impossible it is for writers on such topics to avoid sounding like salesmen of quack medicines”

“[Poe’s] heroes cannot exist except operatically”

And as Auden himself wrote about a book of T. S. Eliot’s essays, which applies equally to his own prose, “the value of Mr. Eliot’s book is not the conclusions he reaches, most of which are debatable, but the questions he raises.”  I’d say only “some,” not “most” in Auden’s case, but the questions Auden raises make reading his collected prose akin to a session with a great Socratic teacher. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.

September 2, 2019

“Beating The Petrillo Ban: The Late December 1947 ‘Modern’ Sessions” (2-cd, Ace, UK)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 12:39 pm
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2-CD set, 49 tracks, recorded in L.A. for Modern Records in December 1947

CD issued in the UK in 2013, compiled and annotated by Tony Rounce

petrillo 1

What the UK “ACE” label has done with the vast catalog of the Los Angeles-based Modern/RPM/Flair/Kent/Crown family of labels since purchasing the material from the Bihari family a few decades ago has been a wonder, and a model for other reissue labels to follow in terms of mining the veins of classic small labels of the past that they either own or have access to the vaults of. When a major label winds up with the rights to such a small label (think Chess, for instance), they usually do not do a lot with deep catalog excavations–they view it as potential “accounts receivable” through licensing or film/television use or publishing. An independent label such as Ace, though, paid a significant amount for this label (I’d guess they had to take a loan), but they viewed it as a long term investment and no doubt saw hundreds of possible CD releases coming out in a variety of genres: blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, vocal groups, jazz, even country. Most importantly, they loved and cared about the music (having worked with the Bihari family on reissues prior to acquiring the labels themselves) and wanted to make as much of this great music available as possible, for people around the world to enjoy. While the plum of the collection was probably the massive amount of BB King material, from his greatest period (be sure to get all the volumes in the 11 CD “Crown” collection of King masters, each reissuing a Crown budget album and also stuffed full of related period from the period, and each expertly curated….the Crown Collection is surely THE body of King work to own), the archivists at Ace knew the thousands of quality masters in the catalog, and they’ve treated it with respect and care and enthusiasm. For the R&B/jump blues side of things,  you could start with their five volumes in the MELLOW CATS & KITTENS series, the casts a wide net of Los Angeles recordings from the late 40’s and early 50’s. The collections of JIMMY WITHERSPOON and ETTA JAMES and PEE WEE CRAYTON and GENE PHILLIPS and HADDA BROOKS should follow soon after. There are six compilations of random vocal groups, a few volumes of female R&B vocalists, and dozens of soul compilations from Kent’s 60’s/70’s period. And many unexpected delights….Chris Hillman’s pre-Byrds teenage bluegrass band THE SCOTTSVILLE SQUIRREL BARKERS recorded a quickie album for the Crown budget label, and Chet Baker also issued an album on Crown of Pacific Jazz outtakes…and both of those are available on CD for your listening pleasure.

Beyond the artist-based compilations, or compilations devoted to a style of music or to  performers working in a particular sub-genre, Ace has taken an interesting approach on a few compilations which focus on a short period of time (in this case, less than two weeks!) and do a deep archival dig into that period. One such comp dealt with the first releases on Modern from its beginning in 1945 (see pic at bottom of post). The set under discussion today is another, and it should be in the collection of every lover of late 40’s/early 50’s jump blues/R&B/post-Swing small combos, etc.

CD One:
THE EBONAIRES: Waterboy -1/ I’ll Never Do It Again 4/ The Old Folks At Home -1;
HADDA BROOKS: Poor Butterfly 1/ Old Fashioned Love -3/ Take Me -1/ The Best Things In Life Are Free -1/ This Will Make You Laugh -3; A Sailboat In The Moonlight -10/ Why Was I Born -1/ Mary Lou -1/ Moonlight On the Ganges -1;
AL ‘CAKE’ WICHARD: Gravels In My Pillow -1/ His Majesty’s Boogie -1/ Cake Jumps -2/ T.B. Blues -2;
GENE PHILLIPS: Snuff Dipping Mama -1/ Gene’s Guitar Blues -2/ Broke And Disgusted -1/ Royal Boogie -1;
ART SHACKELFORD: The Glory Of Love -2/ Play Fiddle Play -2/ The Jazz Me Blues -4/ Beatin’ The Ban-1

petrillo 2

HADDA  BROOKS  (be still, my heart….)

CD Two:
AL ‘CAKE’ WICHARD: Connie Lee Blues -2/ Big Fine Girl -1/ That’s Your Red Wagon -3/ Sweet Lovin’ Baby -1/ Grandma Grandpa -1/ Geneva Blues -1/ Piece Of Cake -2/ Boogie Woogie Baby -2;
HADDA BROOKS: Anna Lucasta -3/ I Can’t Get Started -5/ I’ll Get By -2;
LITTLE WILLIE JACKSON: Little Willie’s Boogie -1/ Shasta -1/ Baby -1/ Someday, Somehow, Somewhere -2;
BUTCH STONE: My Feet’s Too Big -2/ Put Your Brake On Mama -5/ Little Girl -1/ Baby Face -4;
MADAM IRA MAE LITTLEJOHN: Lonesome Road Blues -1/ He’ll Make The Way -2/ What More Can Jesus Do -1/ Go Devil, Go -1/ See Jesus -1/ My Record Will Be There –

Followers of 1940’s music know of the two recording bans, known as Petrillo bans, named after American Federation of Musicians president James C. Petrillo, which prohibited union musicians from participating in most recording sessions until more favorable terms were negotiated with record labels. The first ran from 1942-1944, although some labels began cutting deals with the AFM in late 1943. The “V-DISCS” (the only “official” instrumental recordings with union musicians made during the heart of the strike, before the first labels made deals with the AFM) from this era were recordings made specially for American troops overseas, through a special agreement between the military and the AFM, so they could have new music to listen to. The V-DISCS of artists such as Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington are priceless documents, capturing a period not available on commercial discs. It was the longest such strike in the history of American entertainment, and it affected the music scene in a negative (IMHO) way in that it brought pop vocalists to the fore (they weren’t AFM members) because they could be recorded without big bands behind them (with a vocal group). The result was that instead of having big-band records where the singer got merely one chorus, a “vocal refrain” as it was called, the records were then built around the vocalists. When the strike ended, that change in emphasis became permanent. Also, the earliest days of be-bop were not as adequately documented as they would have been without a strike. The strike was resolved fully in 1944, though in late 1947, a second recording ban was implemented by the AFM/Petrillo in response to the Taft-Hartley Act. This strike would begin at midnight on January 1, 1948.

In response to the oncoming recording ban, many labels began to stockpile material in the later months of 1947–that way, they’d have enough material to issue while the strike was on. Modern was particularly aggressive with this approach, and what the geniuses at Ace have done with this 2-CD set is to take material from the two weeks before the ban, rescued from the original session acetates, and make you, the listener, a fly on the wall during this hectic period of stockpiling. The material is in the order of recording, and only FIVE of the 49 tracks here were originally issued as Modern 78 rpm records, with a few more appearing on other ACE cd’s. The rest are different takes or in some cases entirely new songs. As usual for material coming direct from Modern acetates as restored and remastered by Ace, the sound is loud, clear, and full, sounding like you are in the room with the musicians. This album has been a joy for me to listen to since it came out in 2013. Let’s take a look at the contents:

THE EBONAIRES are a vocal group whom you could put on the same shelf as Steve Gibson’s FIVE RED CAPS or a secular version of the GOLDEN GATE QUARTET, one of those pre-Orioles vocal groups that came after the Ink Spots.

HADDA BROOKS was the first lady of Modern, and well-represented on ACE CD’s, as she ought to be. The classically-trained Brooks was the prototype for the many African-American female pianist-vocalists who specialized in both sultry torch songs and boogie woogie instrumentals, often based on classical themes (Camille Howard, who recorded for Specialty, is another fine artist in that vein, featured on a few Billy Vera-curated compilation albums). Brooks was really something special, and I really can’t imagine anyone into any kind of music not enjoying her work. It really transcends genre. Her phrasing as a singer is exquisite, her understated approach and subtle shading, and of course her combination of sexiness and “class” still work their magic today. Her 13 tracks here, though many are alternates, are a joy. Even a random take that was not issued of a standard such as “I Can’t Get Started” or “I’ll Get By” is a gem. I wish I’d had a chance to see Ms. Brooks live….she had a late-period career revival and was still in excellent form…and tell her how much pleasure I’ve gotten over the decades from her work. Fortunately, many others did get that chance, and I’m glad that when Brooks passed away, she was widely revered and the subject of many articles and tributes. There’s also a nice compilation of her post-Modern early 50’s recordings for OKEH on US Columbia called JUMP BACK HONEY: THE COMPLETE OKEH SESSIONS, which I see is going for as low as $2.50 on Discogs!

AL “CAKE” WICHARD was a drummer and bandleader who ran sessions for Modern and also recorded under his own name. In interviews, Jimmy Witherspoon has mentioned how Wichard contracted his own Modern sessions. His 12 tracks here, many featuring Witherspoon (or Duke Henderson), are  prime west coast R&B. His Ace CD (see pic below) is a must—-in fact, if you bought only one Ace CD of Modern’s family of labels and it was not by BB King, Jimmy Witherspoon, or Hadda Brooks, I’d say go for the Al Cake Wichard compilation–it’s one first-rate jump blues classic after another and it’s got a lot of Jimmy Witherspoon.

GENE PHILLIPS (see pic below) was a fine guitarist (with a unique tone and technique, who bent notes in the style of Andy Kirk’s guitarist Floyd Smith) and singer-songwriter who wrote catchy, earthy, witty songs about big-legged women, fish, and drinking that must have gone over very well in the clubs of Central Avenue and certainly always put a smile on my face at home or in the car. Ace offers two other CD’s of Phillips material, and they are highly recommended.

LITTLE WILLIE JACKSON was the alto saxophonist with Joe Liggins (The Honeydripper) band, and since Liggins was under contract elsewhere, Modern got him for some sessions and he brought much of the Liggins band with him. ACE issued a CD of Jackson material, which I have, and enjoy, and fans of Liggins will enjoy this material. He’s got a somewhat rubbery tone not unlike Louis Jordan, and his 3 tracks (all first takes of songs on the Jackson CD in later, issued takes) all swing…on slower material he has the rich sound of an Earl Bostic.

The ART SHACKLEFORD SEXTETTE, one of the two white artists included here, reminded me of some of Spade Cooley’s more swinging small groups, which lacked the cloying string sections Cooley loved and featured what Spade might have called “take-off solos” and a footing in post-swing jazz. The west coast was a hotbed of this kind of thing, and it’s no surprise Modern wanted a piece of it. A little online research showed me that Shackleford’s records were marketed to the Western Swing crowd, and those who favored the SWING over the western side of that enjoy these Shackleford sides as much as I do.

BUTCH STONE & HIS ORCHESTRA…. Stone was a regular with the Les Brown Band (best known to people of my age group as Bob Hope’s bandleader for decades), so his music is rooted in the Swing era, though here is doing R&B material, or should I say material in an R&B tinged vein. If you can imagine a pared-down version of, say, Bob Crosby’s band working in the late 40’s doing material with a Johnny Mercer-style vocalist who enjoyed Fats Waller, you should have no problem with this material. Is it pure R&B? No, of course not, but it does swing and only a purist could object to it. Some reviewers did not care for this material being on this album–I can understand where they are coming from, but it certainly fits into the mosaic of what Modern was recording in late 1947…and you can always skip it. Though Stone is not channeling Louis Prima here, Prima fans will dig these tracks. I’d guess Stone was a good nightclub performer, as he can take an overdone standard like “Baby Face” and do a jive version of it that brings a smile to one’s face.

MADAM IRA MAE LITTLEJOHN is a Gospel singer, and six of her recordings appear here, closing the album. The liner notes don’t identify if she is on piano or guitar, but she’ll remind many of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with her raw and sanctified vocals. The blues-drenched guitar and piano accompaniment frames her delivery perfectly, and these tracks are the perfect way to end what is in many ways a perfect album, a wonderful way to spend two hours. Madam Littlejohn is also featured on the excellent Ace CD compilation GET ON BOARD LITTLE CHILDREN: THE ‘MODERN’ GOSPEL RECORDINGS.

petrillo 3



Ace has not been issuing as much material from the Modern/Kent/Flair/RPM/Crown vaults as they used to. Of course, much of the prime material has been issued, but one wonders if this kind of material does not sell as well as the soul and 60’s rock and roll reissues that Ace continues to put out. I can think of a lot of material not  yet issued by Ace, some of which as come out on Japanese “P-Vine” collections devoted to the labels. I guess this gives me something to look forward to in future years.

Until then, this 2-CD collection is a brilliant way to mine the rich vein that was Modern Records, run by the great Bihari Brothers, in late 1947. If they want to go back a few more weeks and cover sessions from October and November 1947, right before these sessions, and handle it in the same way they handled these, I’ll certainly buy a copy!

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AL “CAKE” WICHARD‘s band, see below for the Ace CD devoted to Wichard… Cake is the drummer and was a contractor/leader of many Modern sessions



September 1, 2019

Vintage Psychedelia From The Music City (SPV-Yellow CD, Germany)

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various artists, “Vintage Psychedelia From The Music City”

cd, SPV-Yellow Records, Germany….circa 2008

compiled by Fred James and Paul Urbahns

vintage psych front

For about 15 years, in the 1990’s and the early 2000’s, wonderful 50s/60s  compilations of tracks from the small labels of Nashville appeared on a number of reissue labels in Europe, mostly Holland and Germany, licensed from the archives of Bluesland Productions, run by the superb bluesman Fred James, who is well-known for his exciting collaborations/productions with veteran blues and R&B artists such as Frank Frost, Homesick James, and the “Excello R&B Legends,” Clifford Curry, Earl Gaines, and Roscoe Shelton. Any album James recorded with these men is worth getting, and the Gaines and Shelton discs have rarely been far from my turntable/cd-player over the years. However, Mr. James is also an archivist and controls the rights to the material found on a number of Nashville-based small labels, with material spanning a number of genres: blues, R&B, rocknroll, pop, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, country-rock, jump blues, etc. We can look at those other genres in other posts (and I hope we will, it’s a large and stunning body of work that’s little commented on), but now I’d like to discuss an odd but fascinating album that crept out in Germany eleven years back and has received little attention.


The focus here is on Nashville’s SPAR label. Best known for its soundalike budget covers of various hits (most record collectors have stumbled across a number of Spar 45’s over the years, particularly if you are in or close to The South), Spar also recorded original material, and there is a mixture of both on this 20-track album. The core of the album, and the finest material on it, is singles by three bands, The Network (whose single was produced by the great George Motola, of Jesse Belvin fame, who’d moved to Nashville and brought his A-game to this session), Charley Romans Seventh Plane, and The Mad Tea Party, groups about which little is known, but the little that is known is covered well in James’ liner notes. They are first rate, trippy soft-psych material that would fit well on a FADING YELLOW or SOFT SOUNDS FOR GENTLE PEOPLE comp.  In fact, I’m sure at least one of the songs is on one of those comps, as I’ve heard TWO of these songs but I’ve never owned the actual singles. They are intelligent songs, well-performed and well-arranged, but with that wonderful small-label ambiance that makes all the difference. And the album’s programmers were smart to put these as tracks 1 and 2 (great lead-off makes one favorable toward the album), tracks 5 and 6, and tracks 9 and 10. With that much excellent material in the first half of the album, the many entertaining but thin soundalike covers by The Electric Screwdriver are easier to swallow. Of course, being quickie recordings, they really DO NOT sound “alike” to the originals, and from our perspective today, it’s the differences that make listening worthwhile. I particularly like the “bubblepunk” vocal on “Instant Karma,” which makes it sound like something from the Kasenetz-Katz stable. The covers of Hush, Come Together, Born To Be Wild, and Crimson and Clover are all well done and capture the essence of the originals while sounding different enough to be of interest to today’s collectors. The covers of “Love Is Blue” and Jose Feliciano’s version of “Light My Fire” are not really psych by any definition, or even rocknroll, but as they are mixed among other quality material, they are quite tasty….and have that unique, off-kilter flavor one finds with budget-label cover versions, which I have actively collected and enjoyed for decades. For instance, the version of Paul Mauriat’s elevator music classic “Love Is Blue” is arranged to feature fewer musicians than the original (which makes economic sense on a quickie cover), so a solo classical guitar is featured throughout and there is no orchestra. The guitarist’s playing—maybe someone who played on a Nashville country session across town the same day—is beautiful, and I’d love to hear a full album of him/her playing the hits of the day. You take fine artistry wherever you find it.


Southern psychedelia sounds nothing like psychedelia from other parts of the USA—-I was reminded of that fact again recently while reading about LITTLE PHIL AND THE NIGHTSHADOWS in UGLY THINGS #51…. only a band from the South could produce an album like their totally original with a debt to no other band THE SQUARE ROOT OF TWO…. or something like THE ELECTRIC TOILET‘s album IN THE HANDS OF KARMA (a favorite of mine since the 70’s)… or the various bands who recorded for Shelby Singleton’s family of labels (Charly did a fine sampling of that material on a 2-cd set a few years back called ALICE IN WONDERLAND: THE GREAT SOUTHERN POP-SIKE TRIP). Maybe it’s the fact that so many Southern bands have deep roots in soul/gospel and in R&B flavored frat-rock—-you decide. Even the Spar cover of “Magic Carpet Ride”, credited to THE ELECTRIC SCREWDRIVER, reflects that unique approach to psych South of the Mason-Dixon Line.

I should state for the record that if you buy this album thinking you are going to get psychedelic material, you’ll be disappointed. There are three fine trippy singles (six songs), mixed in with excellent sound-alike covers of psych-tinged classics (Magic Carpet Ride, Crimson and Clover, etc.), mixed in with other Spar Records covers from the era (Love In Blue, Games People Play, etc.). I should also mention the fine cover of fellow Tennesseans THE BOX TOPS’ hit SWEET CREAM LADIES, by a Spar studio group called THE CHORDS (on some other records spelled THE CORDS), which was originally on the B-side of a cover of “Build Me Up Buttercup” credited to The Fantastics. Perhaps the best way to appreciate this album is to imagine you are listening to some low-wattage Nashville radio station in an alternate universe circa 1969 in a dream  you don’t want to end, in a world where all the windows are crooked, the milk is watery, and all the newspapers are printed off-center. Or maybe you hit a junk store outside Nashville circa 1972 with a large haul of random Spar Records-related material, and you’re playing it in no particular order. However you view it, fans who can go from pop-sike to budget-label covers of “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Instant Karma” without missing a beat will be as excited about this album as I’ve been for the last eleven years. You’re unlikely to find a copy of either ELECTRIC SCREWDRIVER album in the wild easily (I’ve never owned them, though I’ve owned maybe 20 Spar singles at one time or another over the years), so here’s your chance to hear the cream of that material….and some first-rate original pop-sike singles from Music City USA….and I see copies of this CD on Discogs and Ebay going for FOUR DOLLARS. You can’t afford NOT to own a copy.






8-track cover from Bluesland Productions (owner of the rights to this material) website

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