The Pompeii Stoveheads
-Death Watch /
Stovehead Music Samples
-Waffle House Girl-
-On the Inside-
Kiwi and !Les
The only known photograhps of "Kiwi" and Les. Fulton County, GA mugshots from a 1939 arrest for the "selling of beverages of questionable origin with the claim that the beverages will 'cure what ails you.'"
DVD Industries is proud to announce the long overdue release of over a dozen songs and various interview materials of Spasmatic "Kiwi" Johnson and !Les. Alan Lomax and Douglas Morgan, recording technicians and historians working for the Library of Congress, made these landmark recordings during the late 1930's and early 1940's. These two men, working independently, relentlessly traversed the South with portable recording equipment and made some of the only known recordings of many famous blues men such as Son House, Robert Johnson (no relationship to "Kiwi"), Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Sonny Boy Williamson and our newly unearthed recordings of "Kiwi" and !Les.
The recordings, which DVD has released under the name "Gut Bucket Blues," are taken from four different sessions: one with Lomax, two with Morgan and one radio show transcription. "Gut Bucket Blues" includes 12 songs, amazingly recorded as they were at the time, live, in one take, with a single microphone. "Gut Bucket Blues" also includes over fifteen minutes of spontaneous interview recordings with these powerfully influential blues men.
Because we have received many e-mails and letters asking about !Les' name, we are providing the following information for entertainment purposes only as there are many versions of the story and the accuracy of any one cannot be definitively measured against another. That said, one legend has it that Xavier "Mad Dog" Smith, !Les' father, was an illiterate, but proud man. It is said that he would never make a symbol as pedestrian as an "X" for his name, so, at the urging of a slightly less illiterate friend, he adopted the "!" as his symbol. !Les, then, took this moniker from his father in honor of the former man's legendary tenacity, vim and vigor.
The name Spasmatic "Kiwi" Johnson, though not as esoteric, has also generated a great deal of e-mail, but primarily to correct us here at DVD for a perceived error. E-mails of this type point out that the word "spasmodic" is used to describe someone who suffers from spasms, not the word "spasmatic." This fact is true, but Kiwi spelled his name "Spasmatic" on every piece of documentation that we've been able to locate and so, whether or not he spelled his name incorrectly in error, or on purpose, we here at DVD feel obliged to honor his version.
The recordings of Spasmatic "Kiwi" Johnson and !Les are the copyrighted material of DVD industries and all copyright laws apply.