We’ve already featured Jonas Mekas and Allen here. Here‘s another Jonas-Allen, Mekas-Ginsberg document – Allen’s (table-) “rapping” a cappella “Airplane Blues” – to the delight and amazement of a company of assembled guests (isn’t that Japanese poet, Gozo Yoshimasu, who we glimpse, fleetingly, among the company? – why, yes it is).
The, frankly, definitive version was recorded several years before, in 1982, in Santa Monica, (re-mixed by Hal Willner and John Strother in 1993), and features Bob Dylan on bass (with Steven Taylor on guitar, David Mansfield on piano, organ, dobro, and Arthur Rosato on drums). From “Holy Soul Jelly Roll” accompanying notes: “The climactic verse: “I’m alone in the sky where there’s nothing to lose/ The sun’s not eternal, that’s why there’s the blues” seems to join philosophic poetry with essential blues idiom, classic in words and tune..”
We couldn’t have put it better ourself.
Meanwhile, here‘s another version (recorded at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, California, accompanied by Don Was – the Allen-Don Was performance begins approximately two and a half minutes in)
& Paul Relf gives the song a stirring upbeat contemporary interpetation here: