Allen, Terry & The Panhandle Mystery Band - Pedal steal + Four corners LP+3CD+Book
Legendary Texan artist Terry Allen occupies a unique position straddling the frontiers of country music and conceptual art; he has worked with everyone from Guy Clark to David Byrne to Lucinda Williams, and his artwork resides in museums worldwide.
Due for release on March 22nd, 2019 via Paradise of Bachelors, Pedal Steal + Four Corners collects, for the first time, Allen's radio plays and long-form narrative audio works--two and a half hours of cinematic songs, stories, and country-concrète sound collage--in a deluxe gatefold edition, including one LP, three CDs, a DL code, and an exhaustive 28pp. color booklet boasting the first in-depth essay to explore this singular body of work; dozens of images of Allen's related visual art; and full scripts and credits for all five pieces (a total of 33k words.)
Pedal Steal (1985), originally composed as a soundtrack to a dance performance, appears on vinyl for the first time, as well as on CD. Torso Hell (1986), Bleeder (1990), Reunion (a return to Juarez) (1992), and Dugout (1993) comprise the Four Corners suite, radio plays broadcast on NPR and never before released, now spanning two CDs. All audio has been meticulously remastered from the original tapes. Fans of Allen's violent masterpiece Juarez will find much to love in these haunting Southwestern desert dramas, which feature Jo Harvey Allen, Lloyd Maines, Butch Hancock, Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys, and many others. Roger Corman tried to option the film rights; Jesse Helms tried to ban them; now you can own them!
The five works on Terry Allen's Pedal Steal + Four Corners were all created during a period of intense, condensed creativity spanning eight years, are all closely related to his interdisciplinary bodies of visual art and performance, and are all set in the American Southwest and West. Like Allen's songwriting, which only nominally fits within the realm of country music ("Which country?" Terry quips), his work for radio, and his long-form narrative audio recordings more broadly, appropriate the general form and format of the genre, or medium, of popular radio dramas--monologue, dialogue, songs, interstitial instrumentals, and diegetic sound cues within a roughly thirty minute running time--but transform it into something much denser with meaning within a postmodern art context. They prefigure similar podcast experiments by decades.
With the announcement of Pedal Steal + Four Corners comes the premiere of "Pedal Steal: Chapter 1" from American Songwriter, just a few days ahead of a performance by Terry Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, TX on January 19th for the third year running. The show this year is titled "Howlin' from the Houdini Hole," (a reference to magician Harry Houdini's performance there in the 1916).
Pedal Steal which Allen created as the Bessie Award-winning soundtrack to a dance piece by Margaret Jenkins Dance Co.--and the only one of these works that has been previously released--actually premiered not on air, but rather onstage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1985. However, its Four Corners companion pieces would not have been possible without the earlier and more structurally complex, blueprint of Pedal Steal, the first long-form narrative recording Allen undertook with the support of the Panhandle Mystery Band (featuring master pedal steel player and producer Lloyd Maines, father of Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks), actor and writer (and Terry's wife) Jo Harvey Allen, and other collaborators including fellow Lubbockites Butch Hancock (of the Flatlanders) and Rolling Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys. The story elides the New Mexican pedal steel guitarist Wayne Gailey and infamous outlaw Billy the Kid into a spectral composite character called Billy the Boy, resurrected by a postmortem chorus in English, Spanish, and Navajo.
LP: A1. Pedal Steal (Part 1) 16:10
LP: B1. Pedal Steal (Part 2) 19:25
CD1: 1. Pedal Steal 35:32
CD2: 1. Torso Hell 25:26
CD2: 2. Bleeder 28:57
CD3: 1. Reunion (a return to Juarez) 27:09
CD3: 2. Dugout 27:57