Album: Terry Allen <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Pedal Steal, SUGAR HILL
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The Independent Culture

The latest of the Texan multi-media polymath Terry Allen's works to be reissued by Sugar Hill is this piece from 1985, a theatre work originally commissioned by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, for which Allen wrote the script, played the music, and designed the back-projections and lighting plan. Set in an abandoned drive-in movie-theatre, it's based on the life of a real pedal-steel guitarist who wandered the American Southwest in the Sixties, a doomed fellow who "had pictures living behind his face. They ran out of his head like movies. He'd sneak into them and watch/ then go back outside and make up his life." It's presented here as a single 35-minute "song", complete with narration and sound effects, whose breadth gives some idea of Allen's protean talent. In the first 10 minutes, we hear male and female voice-overs, country music, mariachi song, Navajo chant, marimba, pedal steel played like Hendrix, thunder, traffic, footsteps, "Sentimental Journey", and an Allen song, "Fort Sumner", that shifts from bluesy sax and piano to folksy fiddle and mandolin. Think Sam Shepard with steel guitar, and you'll get the idea.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Pedal Steal'