Kendra Steiner Editions

December 7, 2019

Help MODE RECORDS to carry on!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 3:40 pm

Running a record label featuring physical releases of forward-thinking music is more difficult now than ever. I had to close my own label, KSE, which supported the work of contemporary composers, one year ago today because I couldn’t afford to keep it afloat. Mode has been doing amazing work for decades in support of important and original composers–please don’t let them go under. Even 5 or 10 dollars can help. Would YOU want to live in a world without Mode’s 50 (!!!!) John Cage releases? I wouldn’t!

mode 1

Bringing the world high quality releases of contemporary classical, jazz and other musical genres for over 35 years, Mode Records now needs your support to modernize its promotion, informational, and sales platforms.

Internationally recognized record label Mode Records’ recordings of impeccable performances, captured with the best quality sound, have earned it great critical acclaim and a loyal following.

A small independent company, Mode’s catalog of over 300 releases includes music of the great composers of the latter 20th century and today’s aspiring contemporary New Music artists. Beginning with its first release in 1984, created in collaboration with composer John Cage, Mode has presented uniquely curated releases with a personal vision of producing fine recordings which are not necessarily a part of current mainstream music fashion, but which need to be heard.

You can make a difference in support of music that matters by making a contribution of any amount toward Mode’s modernization. I would never ask people to contribute to something I myself would not give my own hard-earned money to, and you can see my own contribution on the Mode Go Fund Me page. And why not stop over there now to make YOUR contribution….even $5 or $10 can help. YOU and I can insure that people can easily hear the works of John Cage (who was involved in the founding of the label!) and many other important composers on beautiful and thoughtfully-curated CD’s. I have dozens of Mode releases and play them often….not just play them, but live with them, and live in the worlds they create.

Here is the link…thank you for your support of Mode and of modern composers….

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November 7, 2019

now an even dozen releases in the SOUL DIAMONDS series

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 4:08 pm

ABC Soul Diamonds

For a decade or more, the SOUL DIAMONDS series of CDR compilation albums, on the “Buried Treasures” label from France, has been issuing exciting, overstuffed collections of obscure soul 45’s (with an album track here and there) from the 1960’s and early 1970’s, and they’ve taken the route of doing label-based surveys, since so many nationally-distributed labels of the period released significant numbers of soul 45’s, both in-house label-produced and licensed-in from regional producers or picked up from small labels. The quality has been very high on these comps, and unlike many of the other series of CDR “collector” soul comps (which I also buy here and there as I can afford them and when they include a high percentage of tracks I don’t own already), these have intelligent liner notes clearly written by someone who knows obscure soul music inside out.

Two new volumes arrived in my mailbox today (VERVE and ROULETTE), and I hope to write about each one of those separately in the near future, but now I wanted to alert you to what’s in the series so far (I’ve also reviewed a number of them here on the KSE blog….just go to the search box and type in SOUL DIAMONDS). I think that most if not all of them are still in print. A number of sellers in Asia offer them as well as some specialized soul dealers in Europe. Here in the US, if you go to Ebay and type in the name SOUL DIAMONDS within “Music,” you should find the American seller from whom I’ve gotten mine (who offers fine service and low prices, by the way). So here are the twelve labels which have been covered in the series as of today. I have other suggestions for label surveys, but I have a feeling they will be gotten to eventually. Thanks to whatever Europeans are compiling and issuing these–it’s clearly a labor of love.













mercury soul diamonds

October 28, 2019

3 short newspaper sports articles by Jack Kerouac from June-July 1965

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:59 am


I was hoping to have a more substantial piece for the 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s death in October 1969, but I’ve had a heavy work schedule this month, and that article is still sitting about 1/3 completed in my draft box. I’ll get to it eventually…I was going to deal with the fine book by journalist Bob Keating KEROUAC IN FLORIDA, as well as the fascinating most-recent issue of Beat Scene magazine, dealing with Kerouac’s later writings, including SATORI IN PARIS, which any reader of this blog knows is very important to me (my poetry book SATORI IN NATCHEZ is available at Amazon, by the way).

However, here is something to hold you over until then….and it contains some late-period writings of Kerouac from his final period in Florida!

Most people know that Kerouac lived in St. Petersburg from 1964-1969, the period that produced SATORI IN PARIS, VANITY OF DULUOZ, and PIC. Evidently, in June of 1965 he approached the sports editor of THE INDEPENDENT, the evening sister-publication of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, and banged out three sports articles in one sitting at the paper’s sports department! These were published in June and July of 1965, and I had not heard of them until this recent article in the TAMPA BAY TIMES.

For the record, here are the names of the pieces and their original dates of publication:




These are all written in Kerouac’s idiosyncratic style, and certainly not typical of sports writing in general, although back in the 1960’s this kind of breathless, excited, exaggeration-filled stream-of-consciousness style could be found in certain “personality” sports columnists, who were to sports what Walter Winchell was to politics and entertainment.

Kerouac dealt with sports a lot in his final novel  VANITY OF DULOUZ, published in 1968(I’m not counting PIC, which is in its own category). He was coming to terms with his own sports background as an adolescent and young man back in the late 1930’s and early 40’s, just as he was coming to terms in that book with the arc of his life . I’d guess that Kerouac probably spent a lot of time listening to baseball and other sports on the radio on those long hot nights in South Florida. He himself was probably a regular reader of the sports page at the St. Pete newspaper he visited and whipped out the three pieces for.

If you thought that all the fugitive pieces from JK had been excavated in THE UNKNOWN KEROUAC volume, think again….

Here is the link to the article that contains the three pieces, scans of the original yellowed newspaper versions of the pieces, and the backstory on the pieces. No one would argue that these are major finds, but actually they are a wonderful window into the 1965 Kerouac, and his humor (I laughed out loud a few times…and completely agree with his comments regarding boxing vs golf!) and enthusiasm come through clearly.

I’m not sure how long this link will be good for. Newspapers sometimes offer material free for the first month or two, and then it’s hidden behind a paywall. However, I will respect the rights of the newspaper and not reprint the pieces here as long as they can be freely accessed online. Thanks to Daniel Figueroa IV of the Tampa Bay Times for bringing these entertaining pieces to our attention and providing the relevant background to contextualize the pieces.

On second thought, this is a good way to honor JK on the 50th Anniversary of his passing. It’s easy to look at the Florida period as depressing and negative, but sports was something the man always loved (he was still talking in the 1960’s proudly about the complex baseball game played solely with cards that he created as a teenager), and that love and passion comes through perfectly here.

October 27, 2019

10 recent Bill Shute posts at BTC (July-October 2019)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 2:00 am

My bi-weekly column is still running over at BTC––I just sent Chris a review of the 1954 season of the Roy Rogers radio show, which will run at the end of January 2020, and while I have a few weeks here where my workload from my job is back to normal, I’ll try to bang out a few more pieces for BTC, and finish a few of the half-completed pieces  in my draft box, so there will be material to get through the end of March 2020. Since you may not read BTC regularly, here are links to 10 pieces of mine from the last few months….
Of course, there will continue to be regular posts of mine here at KSE…so check back every week or so, and one or two (or even three) new posts will magically appear…




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elvis cassette




FILM: THE GOLDEN GOOSE (East Germany, 1964), presented by K. Gordon Murray



FILM: BATTLE RATS (Philippines, 1989)


time out




FILM: TROOPERS THREE (Silent Version, 1930), starring REX LEASE


Bowie Pinups



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FILM: WALKING BACK (1928), starring Sue Carol


Well, there should be something for everyone among these 10 reviews/columns/call them what you will. The ELVIS piece was very popular among readers and generated a number of e-mails and text messages—-read about how I was almost killed over an Elvis cassette…or not.

Also, most (but not all, unfortunately) of the films I’ve been reviewing in recent months can be seen for free online, so if something like WALKING BACK or TROOPERS THREE or WALK EAST ON BEACON or TAKE THE STAND appeals to you, find it on You Tube or elsewhere, and have a free night in….it should be better than 96% of what’s playing at your local multi-plex…and now that Disney is pulling older Fox films that they now own from revival showings, that number will go up to 98%.

Thanks to Chris at BTC for offering me a bi-weekly platform. His many readers are exactly the kind of audience who would find the write-ups on vintage films and music and comics and the somewhat-fictionalized anecdotes from my life to be entertaining and informative. I’ve been writing for BTC and its earlier print versions for 30+ years now, probably closer to 35. I’ve known Chris since I operated the Inner Mystique Records label back in the early 1980’s. To quote a band I dislike, it’s been a long, strange trip.


October 26, 2019

Poetry Is Where You Find It, Even in Tea-Hype

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 3:34 pm


As a poet, and as a lover of poetry and language, I enjoy finding rich and evocative uses of language, and I most enjoy finding them in unexpected places, much the way I enjoy finding some thrown-away cultural gem from years past at a junk store. I have had poet and writer friends over the years who double in advertising copy-writing or in greeting card message-writing (the late great poet Doug Draime wrote greeting card copy as a sideline) because it’s a way to put their literary skills to use and pay the rent. Another place I see poetic skills put in the service of commerce is in the world of wine writing, and that has expanded in recent years to the world of craft-beer and craft-distillery writing. So many writers in that vein use multiple sense impressions in their descriptive writing, use unexpected analogies, and know what buttons to push to get Pavlovian reactions among the specialized audiences for whom they write.

One area where I’ve encountered many a delicious phrase has been in the world of wine writing, and over the last 15 years many of the tropes from that field have found their way into writing about craft beer and craft spirits, worlds I am quite familiar with as we have many small wineries, breweries, and distilleries here in Texas, and Mary Anne and I have visited dozens of them and gotten to know the folks who run them, who are pretty much always excited to talk with anyone who cares.

Another place where the approach to wine writing has taken hold in recent years is the world of tea. While the two of us have a few espressos each morning at 5:45 to wake up and get ready for work, when I arrive at the workplace a little after 7:00, I make a pot of hot tea every morning, and if I’ve got a very long day, I re-use the leaves for a second pot in the early afternoon, and I sip on my tea all day. Also, anytime I am working on poetry myself, I am under the influence of strong tea—-I generally alternate between oolongs, Pu-erh, and various white teas. I tend to buy most of my tea direct from small growers/distributors in China, as I get can good quality specialized teas straight from the source at VERY low prices, and they wind up making more money themselves than if the tea went through five middlemen on the way to get to me…thus, we’re both happy. However, I am on the mailing list of many specialized tea distributors in North America who deal with Chinese growers, and reading their sale-list descriptions is often a very pleasurable and delicious experience, almost like tea-porn, one might say.

I got one such description in my in-box this morning, and I just had to share it with you, as it’s typical of what I often read from tea-sellers. It might not push YOUR buttons, but it does mine. In fact, it’s so over-the-top in some ways, you might get a laugh out of it…Mary Anne did when I read it to her.

One thing I’ve been seeing over the last five years in the advertising of tea importers is putting a human face and a family name of the growers of the tea, treating them as artisans, which of course they are–artisans of the highest order, to any devoted tea drinker. The American importers even show pictures of themselves in Chinese rural areas at high elevations, interacting with the local growers and their families (how I wish I could travel to those areas, and then write it off as a business expense!). I suppose this approach is an extension of the old “Juan Valdez” coffee advertisements of the 1950’s, where a fictional character was created to represent the coffee growing families from the nation of Colombia, since Colombian coffee has always been much-loved and enjoyed by millions of North Americans who need to get their day started with a solid and substantial cup of coffee. In fact, there have been a series of Colombian actors who played “Juan Valdez” in commercials over the decades….initially José Duval, who played the role until 1969, then Carlos Sánchez, who represented the character from 1969-2006, and most recently, by Carlos Castaneda, who presently plays the role. I did not previously know that Juan’s mule has a name, Conchita. There is also an international JUAN VALDEZ coffee brand, distributing the products of Colombian growers, and after reading about the Valdez persona and Colombian coffee this afternoon while writing this post, I bet I’ll buy a can of the Valdez brand coffee when my present stash of Community Coffee runs out.

Getting back to tea….some importers even go to the lengths of showing videos of families at work growing and harvesting the teas associated with their names, and one importer in particular whose products I’ve purchased a few times in the last two years, puts a message on the tea packaging “from the #### family,” reinforcing the directly-from-the-artisan-to-you message. So…with that backstory, here is the tea write-up promised above (edited somewhat to focus on the juicy parts)…

On a rainy autumn day, I am looking for a bit of distilled sunlight to cut through the grey – a touch of summer for my gaiwan.

The first tea that comes to mind today is the Wu Family’s from 2019 Wild Bai Mudan white tea, a self-assured jaunt through a field of clovers with all the cozy undertones I need to keep this steeping all afternoon.

Mr. Wu’s family has been growing Da Bai varietal white tea on their remote mountain plot for generations, but until recently, most of the bushes were left untended, allowed to grow wild and propagate new wild tea from seed over many years. With the sudden resurgence of interest in white tea, Mr. Wu is taking a leadership role in his village with conservation to make sure the wild groves stay wild and don’t get cleared for higher yield plantings with less nuance.

Mr. Wu also comes back to the village with a degree in engineering, which he has applied to build his own drying bed and fans to keep heat down and get the fastest dry time possible to lock in all the natural flavor of the wild tea without cooking it or letting it oxidize.

The biodiversity of his family’s plot, full of bamboo stands, wild flowers and herbs, the age and resilience of the wild tea bushes, along with Mr. Wu’s technical mastery come together for complex, deep and rich tea.

OK, time for some sunlight in a glass.

I am brewing with a porcelain gaiwan and drinking with a porcelain cup to get the biggest aromatics possible. Also, since this tea is so bud-heavy and texture focus, I am skipping a strainer for a thicker brew. Mr. Wu likes brewing with off boiling spring water around 85 degrees celsius.

First, I’ve just got to remark on how beautiful this tea looks. The generous proportion of silvery, downy buds and bright green young leaves makes for a gorgeous gawain.

The aroma alone is enough to keep me going – as soon as the water hits the buds, there is a wafting intense vanilla and amaretto cream that somehow maintains a thick, deep texture, even as a smell.

The first sips are delightfully cryptic, like sunlight condensed into a soft cloud, like a warm field of clovers whipped into a meringue. The texture is somehow silky soft while still keeping a decidedly sparkling minerality and buddy crispness. It is the sort of texture that you’d be chasing for years putting away $100+ bottles of Burgundy for a decade or two on the off-chance that they got to this level of nuance, but here it is, fresh and pure – the expression of wild terroir and precise craft.

Over many steepings, this tea really feels like the most honest and unhindered expression of the natural fresh flavor of this da bai white tea, the taste and texture you’d expect to get if you picked a bud right off the bush and tasted it.

If you’re looking for a bright, fresh celebration of texture, this is a must-try tea.

With tiny yields, a meticulously long finishing process, and untended, difficult to harvest plants, Mr. Wu needs to get a higher price for this special tea, but as a tasting journal exclusive, I’d love to make it a bit more accessible for anyone curious about true wild da bai white tea.

Here’s a coupon for 15% off this fantastic tea, good through Tuesday the 29th.


Sorry, no coupon! I’m not selling anything here. However, this write-up reminds me of the hundreds of promotional blurbs I wrote for various KSE albums and chapbooks between 2006 and 2018, which are available for reading on this website, if you’ve ever got insomnia. For each album by a Lisa Cameron or an Alfred 23 Harth or a Massimo Magee or a Tom Crean, or each poetry chapbook by a John Sweet or a Michael Layne Heath or a Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozabal, I would try my best to bait the hook for the experimental music-lover or the contemporary poetry-fan with my version of the tea-porn quoted above. I still try to do that with the write-ups on my own poetry books, although with those I am the position of being both Juan Valdez AND the Colombian Coffee Growers Association.

It’s going to be a long night tonight….as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder here in Central-South Texas. Why not have a leisurely cup of white tea tonight as the evening chill starts to seep into you…you can imagine that you’re resting on a hillside on some tea farm in a high altitude area of north central China, nested among a sea of Camellia Sinensis plants, their young and tender leaves surrounding you as far as the eye can see. I can’t imagine what that would smell like, but I wish I could be there in-person to find out….

In case you are not familiar with white tea, here is a brief definition from Teatulia: White tea is known to be one of the most delicate tea varieties because it is so minimally processed. White tea is harvested before the tea plant’s leaves open fully, when the young buds are still covered by fine white hairs, hence the name “white” tea.
These buds and unfurled leaves from the newest growth on the tea plant are handpicked and then quickly and meticulously dried, so the leaves are not allowed to oxidize as long as leaves plucked for green or black tea production. This minimal processing and low oxidation results in some of the most delicate and freshest tea available.

October 15, 2019

upcoming reviews for UGLY THINGS #52

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 6:44 pm
Tags: ,

Just submitted the last of the seven reviews I was assigned for the next issue of UGLY THINGS magazine. As always, UT should not be missed by any serious fan of 50’s-70’s rock and roll and hard-edged roots music in general.

Here’s what you’ll be getting from me:


DION —Ruby Baby/Donna The Prima Donna (Ace, UK), CD

Ace reissue of Dion’s two 1962-1963 post-Laurie albums for Columbia



V.A.—Los Angeles Soul, Volume 2: Kent-Modern’s Black Music Legacy, 1963-1972 (Ace/Kent, UK), CD

another fine archival dig through the Kent/Modern archives, blues-tinged soul and soul-tinged blues

kent 2


V.A.—Border Beat!—60’s Instrumental Collection (Nor-Va-Jak), 2-CD

73 (!!!) rockin’ instrumentals, 1960-66, produced by NORMAN PETTY at his Clovis, New Mexico studios (all the bands other than The Fireballs and The String-A-Longs)

border beat


V.A.–Rhythm ‘n’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou: Bop Cat Stomp (Ace, UK), CD

Volume 21 in Ace’s sublime BY THE BAYOU series, featuring small-label music in a number of styles from Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas (basically, east of Houston, south of Shreveport, north of New Orleans, and west of the Mississippi)…. this volume dedicated to rock and roll-oriented R&B, about half of which is from the deepest recesses of the vaults of Lake Charles’ GOLDBAND label…. you need all 21 volumes of this series



ELVIS PRESLEY—Live 1969 (RCA) 11-CD box

11 complete concerts, from soundboard recordings, from the second half of Elvis Presley’s summer 1969 Las Vegas residency




V.A.—Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969, Volumes 1 & 2 (Third Man), two 2-LP sets

four LP’s (also available as two CD’s) of unreleased live recordings from the first Ann Arbor Blues Festival, in 1969, including a mind-blowing combination of blues greats including Mississippi Fred McDowell, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Dawkins, Magic Sam, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and many more




Compiled by Michael Heath, Edited by Pat Thomas
Hat & Beard Press, 300-page hardback, published May 2019

discussed earlier here on the blog (27 July 2019)

This handsome and essential volume was compiled by Michael Layne Heath, punkzine pioneer and acclaimed poet, who published a number of chapbooks with KSE over the years, and who was included in KSE’s 2014 poetry collection POLYMORPHOUS URBAN: POEMS FOR LOU REED, alongside Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozabal, Jim D. Deuchars, A. J. Kaufman, and Matt Krefting.
Lou Reed turned the interview into performance art. His collected interviews belong right alongside his albums and live shows and collected lyrics when considering his overall body of work. Many of us used to wait excitedly for Reed’s next appearance in print, especially in CREEM, where he would engage in arguments with Lester Bangs or in insightful conversation with Bill Holdship. Different aspects of Reed’s persona came out in each interview, and all were entertaining, giving a slightly different glimpse into the creative mind of Mr. Reed. Get your copy of this from the publisher next payday!

lou book pic

I would guess that editor-publisher Mike Stax will start offering pre-orders for UGLY THINGS #52 in early November….be sure to get yours ASAP. The last issue is almost sold out!


October 6, 2019

Fascinating 2016 radio interview with JOE DALLESANDRO

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 11:52 am


Actor JOE DALLESANDRO has always been a man of deeds, not so much a man of words, though he certainly delivered his lines in his English-language films in a manner befitting the characters he played and he always brought an authenticity to everything he did, a quality that can never be faked and no doubt is why he is still so revered today.

If you’ve ever heard an interview with Mr. Dallesandro, or a commentary track, or you’ve viewed an interview appearance online, he tends to give simple, straightforward, no-BS answers to questions, not providing the patter people expect because he’s never been one to play the showbiz or art-world “game.” His street-level adolescent background no doubt led him to think that anyone running a line of patter is just a BS-artist or some kind of scammer, and he knows better than to buy into that. I totally get that. After all, it’s his work that made him famous, and we can appreciate the work without hassling the man. Clearly, the man values his private life, and having random strangers knocking on your door or following  you around in your neighborhood wanting you to sign semi-nude photos of yourself must be an odd and surreal experience!

Therefore, I was extremely happy to see this 2016 radio interview of Joe Dallesandro by actor Alec Baldwin. It takes a fellow New Yorker, someone who knows the neighborhoods and the culture, and clearly someone Dallesandro has some respect for, to get JD to open up as I’ve never heard before. Baldwin has had both radio and TV shows where he interviewed artists and creative people, and he’s been very good at it. Somehow this particular interview went under my radar when it came out, but I saw it linked to on a Warhol discussion list, and I knew that many KSE people would appreciate it.

You can listen to the interview here: Alec Baldwin interviews Joe Dallesandro, 2016

Everyone knows the Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey films (my personal favorite being HEAT), but the most interesting part of Dallesandro’s career for me is his post-Warhol/Morrissey European career, with at least a dozen starring roles, many of them in crime-oriented genre films, where his edgy attitude and magnetic screen presence were perfect. He could be dubbed into any language and he’d still set the screen on fire. Many of those films can be seen on You Tube today! The only drawback to the English-language versions of the films is that the producers did not keep JD around for the looping of dialogue. He’s stated before that they did not want to pay him to stay around after the filming had finished or that he was already working on another project when the English vocal track was recorded. In some of the films, he’s dubbed by voice actors who are fitting for his persona (the kind of people who would dub, say, Tomas Milian or Fabio Testi), and alas, that’s the best you are going to get. But it’s more than enough. With his cat-like movement on-screen and a face that, like Charles Bronson’s, communicates depths of life experience that most of us are not too familiar with directly (thankfully!), Dallesandro comes through crystal clear in his European genre films. He is also used well in art films by Louis Malle and Serge Gainsbourg. And after JD came back to the states and re-invented himself as a character actor, I made a point of renting films such as DOUBLE REVENGE and THEODORE REX because he was in them. I also watched the story arc involving Joe Dallesandro as Paul “Pat The Cat” Patrice on the under-rated TV crime show WISEGUY (with Ken Wahl) back in 1987. I even saw PACINO IS MISSING, from 2002.

I’d encourage you to look up Joe Dallesandro’s European filmography on the IMDB, and then search for some of those films on You Tube. He’s one of a kind, and had he been living during the silent era, I feel that he could have had the impact of a Valentino. His fans would no doubt claim (accurately, I think) that he was the Valentino of his era, embodying a new kind of sexuality and magnetism unique to the 60’s/70’s, and he certainly made an equal kind of impact, though he was never as mainstream a figure as Valentino was. The anecdotes in this interview are priceless (I’ll let you discover them yourself, and not paraphrase them here), and kudos to Baldwin for getting JD comfortable enough to let the stories and memories flow….

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September 29, 2019

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

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 10:07 am

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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)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:13 pm





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!

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