Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1973. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's buff buckram over gray paper-covered boards printed in blue, orange and khaki, printed paper spine label, pale yellow endpapers, original acetate dust jacket.
Shepard's first collection of fiction and poetry, in which the iconic downtown playwright muses on growing up in America, rock and roll, the sex of fishes, and other current topics, signed on the colophon. A contemporary reviewer panned the book as "scrappy and inconsequential," but conceded that the best pieces "are sharp, macabre histories of urban fear and violence.... For Shepard the two Americas exist simultaneously: the mechanised world of motor-car, radio culture, rootlessness and nuclear threat; and the ancient, often mythical world of the Frontier, the Wild West, the prairies, Indian spells and superstitions" (London Review). Dedicated to Patti Lee, i.e., Patti Smith, with whom Shepard had a short-lived extra-marital romance, but a lifelong friendship, and with whom he co-wrote the one-act play "Cowboy Mouth" at the Chelsea Hotel two years before the present volume's publication. "We did this play at American Place Theater – 'Cowboy Mouth.' That was my title. I took it from Bob Dylan's 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.' It was just a play between us. We had lots of alchemy, because we had written the play, we were sayin' our own lines. Lots of light comin' out of that stage. We were only trying to talk about two people that were destined – two big dreamers who came together but were destined to come to a sad end. It was the true story of Sam and I. We knew we couldn't stay together. He was going to go back to his wife and children, and I was gonna go on my way" (Smith, quoted from www.sam-shepard.com/cowboymouth). Number 109 of 200 copies signed by Shepard, from a total limitation of 1226. Minor soiling to tail of spine, light sunning to top of boards (approx. 1"). Near fine. Item #1776