Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Overlooked Audio: From the Hells Beneath the Hells by Robert E. Howard

“From the hells beneath the hells,
I bring you my deadly fruits.”
. . . The Song of a Mad Minstrel

One thing I never expected to post on the Almanack was a poetry reading. But here it is. (Actually, two poems and short short story.) Sit back and soak up the culture, folks.



When I posted the proposed radio show version of The Tower of the Elephant some weeks back, Micheal E. Stamm mentioned the LP From the Hells Beneath the Hells, read by Ugo Toppo. It was an album I'd long overlooked, so I tracked down a copy for your listening or downloading pleasure.

The album was issued in 1975 by Alternate World Recordings, produced and directed by Roy and Shelley Torgerson. Cover art is by Jeff Jones.

The back cover says this about reader Ugo Toppo:
Ugo Toppo was born into a famous family with a rich artistic background. His father, Renato Toppo, was a famous artist and portrait photographer; his uncle was a renowned poet, his grandfather, the publisher of La Follia di New York, the oldest Italian weekly in the United States, was a devotee of the arts, possessing exclusive rights to the vast majority of Enrico Caruso’s caricatures.

As a boy, Mr. Toppo sang with the choir of St. James and St Bartholomew’s Church. He has appeared in and directed many Off-Broadway and summer stock productions. His credits include Look Homeward Angel, Dead End, Macbeth, Othello, and Richard III. Mr. Toppo has received critical acclaim for his recordings from the works of Bierce, London, O’Henry and Poe. In addition, he teaches courses in mystery, horror and the literature of the macabre.

The works presented here, all from Side A, are (as described on the back):
THE SONG OF A MAD MINSTREL - A poem of great intensity in which Howard reveals an inner anguish and torment. From Weird Tales February-March 1941.
THE CURSE OF THE GOLDEN SKULL - The story of an elder world sorcery, and hate, impervious to Time’s destructions. From The Howard Collector, Spring 1967.
ALTARS AND JESTERS - AN OPIUM DREAM - A poem of vivid imagery which explores the ecstasy and horrors of suffering. Published by Roy Squires in 1974.

In a future post, I'll present Side B, which consists entirely of the King Kull short story, "The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune."

Visit Sweet Freedom for more Overlooked Cool Stuff!


Deka Black said...

As a Howard lover... thanks!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have no memory of listening to shows on the radio. Except for when we were in England, where they still have such things.

Todd Mason said...

Still have them here, too...just not as many.

I wonder if I ever heard Ugo Toppo elsewhere on record, since I finally realize I was conflating him with Manu Tupou, who did a Lot of memorable work for Caedmon.

And I still wonder what became of the Torgesons and the masters and rights for Alternate World Recordings. Torgeson was also one of the better (the only good?) editors at Zebra for a while.

Charles Gramlich said...

Thas what I'm talkin' bout.

Anonymous said...

More stuff I'd had no clue existed. But then lots of folks would say I have no clue, period!

Dan_Luft said...

I'd never heard this before but the cover stirs up old memories. I must've seen the record advertised in some old Marvel magazine.

Jeff Jones did the covers of a lot of my long lost Howard books.

Evan Lewis said...

I remember the Jones covers for those Solomon Kane Centaur Press books.

Michael E. Stamm said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! for posting this!

Michael Liam Murphy said...

While I do have a OpenDrive account and am logged in, the site is refusing to link me to the file : "This file is not available for anonymous users" (sigh)