Poetry Out Loud #10

01 Let’s Go Hear The Holy Rollers Sing (3:52)
02 Bad Man (2:03)
03 Wilderness (4:49)
04 I Can Sing Falsetto (3:07)
05 Maybe (4:12)
06 Your Love Is A Weapon (after a theme from Howling Wolf) (1:34)
07 Let’s Let The World Go Down (2:44)
08 Going Below (12:18)

Total time 34:30
Released 1977

Number Ten was to be the last Poetry Out Loud installment, a series of sound poetry LPs launched in 1969 by Klyd Watkins and Peter Harleman in collaboration with their respective wifes Linda and Patricia (in Kansas, later Kentucky). The kind of sound poetry championned by Watkins & Harleman is influenced by Native Indian chanting, the so-called ‘drum songs’ and chamanistic ceremonies, as well as beat poetry, eg. Charles Olson’s projective verse, and french sound poetry. The series included extra-contributions from Tony Cowan, Henri Chopin, Bernard Heidsieck and wife Françoise Janicot, but most of the ‘oral poems’ were recorded by the 2 couples in various configurations. All songs on Number Ten were recorded by the trio of Patricia and Peter Harleman with Klyd Watkins, except #4 (‘I Can Sing Falsetto’) by Peter Harleman alone on multilayered vocals. While some issues were recorded during live performances, this is a studio recording with intensive use of delay and reverb effect pedals. These short songs also embark influences such as blues and congregational singing, John Lommax’s field recordings in the Delta even psychedelic far out rock. The use of hand-drum/rattle drum is striking, as well as the heavy doses of delay+reverb. At times, I am reminded british band Zoviet:France’s sound effects palette, loops and sonic accumulation. It is not clear to me wether this was recorded on the spot direct to tape, or if some sketch or plan was devised beforehand, but the trio of singers obviously improvise on some word combinations. The ensemble is smooth to the ears, devoid of some of sound poetry’s excessives moves.



4 Responses to “Poetry Out Loud #10”

  1. 1 belltonesuicide October 27, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    You sir, have an amazing sound blog here. Thank you for all the work, it is much appreciated by my thespian ears.

  2. 2 continuo October 27, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Thank you. I mean: thank you, Sir.

  3. 3 Wunderkammer October 31, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    This is amazing, been trying to find a POL release online for a while- do you have any others? There’s still some sitting in Volcanic Tongue, which is tempting :)

    Great site btw!

  4. 4 continuo October 31, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    No other POL issue for now. The series is available at Brooklyn’s Fusetron as well. This is definitely not impossible to find stuff. Thanks for commenting.

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