RIYL: The Beats, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Steve Allen, Bill Evans

Label: Real Gone Music

Big shout out to moonsh0t who posted this link on the William S. Burroughs article!

If you were interested in that Burroughs record then you might want to check this one out as well. While it doesn’t have the King Khan backing that that one does, this one has a lot more history behind it.

My first introduction to Kerouac was seeing clips of him reading on the Steve Allen show while Steve played piano. I was completely mesmerized and I started to read his Pomes All Sizes. Years later I would take classes at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and literally just earlier today I made the recommendation that a friend listen to Kerouac books on tape on his upcoming road trip.

Steve Allen helped spread the word about Kerouac. It’s probably due to him that so many people know Kerouac’s name over any of the other beats.

This reissue is limited to 510 copies on “Beatnik Smoke” vinyl.

The Details

The story behind this album, which marked Jack Kerouac’s debut as a recording artist, is almost as fascinating (but not quite) as the performances it contains. Kerouac had completely bombed in his first set during a 1957 engagement at the Village Vanguard when TV personality, comedian, and musician Steve Allen volunteered to accompany him on piano during the second. The results were so impressive that legendary engineer Bob Thiele then brought the duo into the studio to record an album for Dot Records. In true, stream-of-consciousness, Beat fashion, the entire album was cut in one session with one take for each track, Allen’s piano weaving in and out and occasionally commenting on Kerouac’s verbal riffs to great effect. However, when Poetry for the Beat Generation was ready for release in March 1958, Randy Wood, the president of Dot Records, was appalled by the then-daring language and subject matter and canceled the release…but not before 100 promo copies got out (and if you have one you’re set for life)! Thiele then left the company over the dispute and got the master tape in the bargain, which he finally released on the Hanover label which he founded with Allen in June 1959. That release still stands as one of the most momentous spoken word albums not just of the ‘50s but of all time…and we at Real Gone Music are proud to bring it to you in a black and white “beatnik smoke” vinyl version limited to 510 copies!

Thanks to moonsh0t for the tip!

Price $22.97

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