Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

January 2, 2020

classic 2014 Sammy Reed ” Music from the World of the Strange and the Bizarre” shows back online!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 11:53 am

5 complete hour-long “Music From The World of the Strange and the Bizarre” radio shows from March-June 2014 are available here:

Sammy Reed’s present website can be found here (bookmark it!):

sammy reed


Sammy Reed’s name might not be that well known to people outside the song-poem community, or people who followed WFMU 10+ years ago, and he hasn’t helped matters much by being very active online for a while, then pulling back and pretty much vanishing for a while….sometimes taking down what he’d put online in the past.

For 10-15 years, I’ve followed his work, and I hope he stays online this time around and his present website stays up (check out the link above).

Sammy’s “Music From The World of the Strange and the Bizarre” radio show has been a staple at my house for many years. I downloaded a few dozen of them onto CDR and still play them regularly (they’re perfect for road trips!) and sent copies to my friend Brad Kohler, who did not have a computer and couldn’t access them online. If you can imagine an absurdist re-take on an old Casey Kasem American Top 40 show but with music from some alternative universe where song-poem records, low-grade amateurish novelty records, sound-alike cover versions from budget labels, private-pressing vanity records, songs related to long-forgotten fads, and novelty-themed disco exercise records are the dominant popular culture of the day. Sammy Reed is an entertaining host, with a deadpan, aw-shucks persona that reminds me of classic country entertainers such as, say, Smiley Burnette or Max Terhune or Hank Penny. During  his heyday, he even spun off a separate Top 10 show and You Tube channel featuring the hits and most-requested songs from the show. He would also take requests, and he was kind enough to play a great Nashville soundalike cover of “Whiter Shade Of Pale” for me on a few occasions.

There’s not one iota of condescension in Sammy Reed’s approach to anything he presents or champions—-we’re all born into this absurd world, but when we detach ourselves enough to come to that realization, the mistake that some make is to think that they themselves are somehow less absurd than others and to look down at the rest of us and forget where they came from. The Sammy Reed approach is just the opposite–embrace the absurdity, roll around in it—-as a now-deceased BBQ entrepreneur here in the San Antonio area used to say, “Git it all over you”—-allow yourself to be entertained by the folly of our brothers and sisters, knowing that we ourselves are equally absurd and all is folly. There’s something liberating in that approach, and it’s eye-opening to sense the warp and woof, the texture of throwaway culture and matter-of-fact phenomena that most people would look PAST to see something else. Andy Warhol certainly understood that, as does writer-photographer–editor/publisher Wyatt Doyle, of New Texture fame (check out his DOLLAR HALLOWEEN book, reviewed a few years on this blog).

Sammy Reed has done a number of other interesting archival projects dealing with the throwaway ephemera of everyday life, documenting airchecks and advertising reels from small-town radio stations in the 70’s and 80’s, documenting junk mail dealing with bogus penny-stocks and investment schemes, documenting transcription discs created by advertising agencies to sell long-forgotten ad campaigns, documenting the everyday details of the 50+ year soap opera THE GUIDING LIGHT, and much more. These are deep time-capsules that are both fascinating (in that they document the roads not taken by “serious” culture) and entertaining.

I hope Sammy keeps his present website up and running and that you readers of the KSE blog check it out a few times a month. His shows always put a smile on my face and cause me to not worry so much about whatever is on my mind….

1 Comment »

  1. I just found this yesterday morning. You can read about that in the latest post on my blog.
    Thanks for the mention!
    – Sammy Reed

    Comment by Sammy Reed — July 23, 2020 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

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