Allen Ginsberg and Jerry Granelli, Naropa 1981

Allen Ginsberg

Jerry Granelli

Allen Ginsberg and jazz drummer Jerry Granelli team up this weekend on a vintage recording made in 1981 at Naropa

improvisations on Hart Crane and William Blake

Hart Crane (1899-1932)

AG: We’ll improvise one – “The Hurricane” by Hart Crane – a dochmiac meter -bom bom ba-da-da bom bom ba-da-da bom  bom-ba-da  bom ba-da-da– bom-ba-da-da bom-bom (that’s the basic rhythm, hurricane rhythm)  – (“Lo, Lord, thou ridest!/ Lord, Lord, thy swifting heart”….”Thou ridest to the door, Lord!/Thou bidest wall nor floor, Lord!”) – Well, we were making it up as we went along…Okay, what’s next? – “Tyger, Tyger” – So I’ll read that and Jerry will.. I’ll read it acapella, then Jerry will take off on a drum solo with the trochaic>meters with his own back-beats, sub-divisions, and then I’ll come back in with te vocal – (“Tyger, Tyger, burning bright ..”… “What immortal hand or eye,/Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”)

[At approximately seven minutes in, Jerry Granelli introduces the evening]

JG:Good evening. Glad there’s so many of you here for this momentous occasion (may not be to you but it is to us) I’d like you to please welcome Mr Allen Ginsberg
AG: And please welcome Mr Jerry Granelli
JG: We’re going to read and play, play and read various works. We even had a rehearsal
AG: And a half
JG: And a half, actually, a rehearsal and a half , it’s a new record!  So I think we’ll begin. You want to introduce this poem?
AG: Yeah. What we’re going to do is embark on an enterprise fraught with all sorts of emergencies and dangers and delights. We’ll start with a text by (Jack) Kerouac, myself and (Neal) Cassady, called “Pull My Daisy”, Jerry Granelli on hand drum, Ginsberg on vocal,which will feature a run-through of the text on drums and then improvisation on the same rhythm and then a reduction of… a little solo?

AG,,and then a reduction into da-da-da-da-da-da da  da-da-da-da – No, da-da-da-da-da-da-da da-da-da-da-da-da-da – you start or I start? –da-da-da-da-da-da-da  da-da-da-da-da-da –  “Tip my cup.. all my doors are open.”
[From approximately eight-and-three-quarter minutes in to appoximately eleven-and-a-half minutes in, Allen delivers an extended and improvised version of “Pull My Daisy”] –
[“pretty good, Jerry”]

AG: Next is “The Shrouded Stranger”. We do that on the…  next is “The Shrouded Stranger of the Night”.  This is a text 1949, which is now a rock n roll hit in Hungary, played by the Hobo Blues Band as of 1979. Every kid in Hungary knows this, in Hungarian, now! – It’s true! – strictly from Hungary!  – (“Bare skin is my wrinkled sack/When hot Apollo humps my back”…”Who’ll look into my hooded eye/Who’ll lay down under my darkened thigh?”)

Next (beginning approximately fourteen-and-a-half minutes in ) “CIA Dope Calypso” (Allen to Jerry Granelli – want to set up here?) – (“In nineteen-hudred-and-forty-nine/ China was won by Mao Tse-tung”…”Subsidizing the traffickers to drive the Reds away/Till Colby was the head of the whole world CIA”)

This is followed (at eighteen-and-three-quarters in) by an entirely spontaneous improvisation “Shine Shave Haircut – Six Bits”

AG: “I don’t know what I’m going to say/ but anything I say I’ll say anyway./Sometimes I see a pretty boy/ and sometimes it turns out to be a dead toy/Sometimes I see a pretty girl/ and sometimes it’s nothing but an old spit curl/Sometimes I find myself walking into class/ and sometimes I fall down on my ass/Sometimes I think my name is Andy Clausen/and then I don’t know what I’m doing and I’ve got no cause on/Sometimes I get down on my knees in front of Chogyam Trungpa/and sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to do, like an elephant dunkin’/ Sometimes, Jerry, he plays quite quiet/ and sometimes he blows his stack like a riot/ Sometimes in down in El Salvador,/ they start another dirty old war/ You think in Nicaragua they’re gonna invade again?/You think they’ll bring us with bombs and with pen/You think in Honduras they’ll make us endure us /Another Vietnam? just like Uncle Sam?/You think in El Salvador they’ll give you a haircut,/with a shine and a shave just for your old six bits?/Now we might go playing with our long machines, or we might go coming on clean/ or we may go out and do a little calligraphy/, but sometimes we’ll stay at home and study United States geography/ If I had a little pretty boy,/ I guess I’d fuck him and make him my toy/If I had a little girl,/ I think I’d make a baby whirl/ Now I hear that Chogyam’s being saying that I oughta/ have a little boy or have a little daughter/’Cause I don’t know what my powers might be/ if I came out in eternity/family: but I’m already a little busy already as it is/ and taking care of kids’d be another busy whiz/>I just don’t know, I’d go out of my wits/ if I had a little baby to suck at my tits/ Shine Shave Haircut – Six Bits.”

Next (at twenty-two minutes in) – “I’ll read a poem (because the evening is vocal) – so I’ll read a poem because it sounds aloud and has some rhythm. From 1973, “What Would You Do If You Lost It?“- (“What would you do if you lost it/said hard truth-teller Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa Tulku in the marble glittering apartment lobby in New York/looking at my black hand-box full of Art. “Better prepare for Death”… “No song for the hearer/No more words for any mind”)

“Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa Tulku”  (1939-1987)

Allen and Jerry follow this (at approximately thirty minutes in) with “The Mumbles” – 
Well, I think we start with “the Mumbles”, yeah (to Jerry Granelli)  You want to say what “the Mumbles” is?
JG: Oh we can talk about that
AG: Ok
JG: We’re going to spend the next few minutes.. (Keyboard sounds – AG: uh-huh, yes, that’s what we’re going to do, yes yes).. playing the blues” (AG: You gonna tell ’em?, shall I tell em?)
(AG and JG both here, in the introduction and in the delivery of the song, purposely mumble) 
JG: The old blues singers used to do a thing called “mumbles”..mumbles..which was basically designed so no one could understand what they were saying (AG: glub glub glub glub) say all kind of obscene things about AG: My ass! …whoever you chose, mostly the club-owner, probably, and still in the form of the blues, so they would say….[Allen and Jerry, improvising, proceed to perform “The Mumbles”  (drug and meditation references – “have a stick of samatha”..
and,  starting at approximately thirty-five-and-a-quarter minutes in:

“O  Mama, what, did you go away?/ O Papa, where’s your face today?/ Father Guru, what did Mother say?/ Ah brother, how’s your little lover?/Ah sister, how’s your aging mister?/ Ah nephew, how’s your meat-bone now?”/ “Hey Aunty, you still there in your panties?/ Uncle Abe, you still play with your fancy?/ Aunt Rose, how’s your worm man, Sam? – Ah Honey,I hope you got lots of money/ Ah  Aunt Clara, how’s your dead tempter, Harry? /Ah Eugene, when you last saw cousin Joey?/ Was he sad? his sweet heart had gone bad?/ heavy weight? was it too much he ate?/ Dear Doctor/ I’m willing to cooperate./ Connie dear, have no fear, your children grew up very near/ A Church – a  place to meditate/ A Methodist choir no one could hate/ O Truth, around us/ white as the sky/ O Love, that will not leave us with a lie/ O World, we come back to/only to die./ O Honesty, who but ourselves are betrayed/ When we rot in a dream in silk pomp foolery/ Virginity, what took you so long to get laid? / O Sex, gimme all you can spare/ O Love, try me out for what you’d never dare/ O Ass, I’m thankful I still got my share.”

Allen next “performs” a right-wing journalists op-ed piece decrying the$10,000 award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to Peter Orlovsky for his book, Smiling Vegetables and Clean Asshole Poems

“A Filthy Waste” – Government spends your tax dollars on obscene poetry. Your tax dollars are supporting obscene poetry. The National Endowment for the Arts has handed over ten thousand dollars of your tax money to help finance a poet whose main previous work was a book of obscenities and unintelligible gibberish, gibberish, gibberish, gibberish. “It’s a disgrace”, charges Minerva Cannon, an internationally known poet and a member of the Poetry Society of America “It’s a slap in he face to all true poets that this man should get ten grand for such filth. And, a New York poetry professor, who asked not to be identified, fumed, “It makes me sick when I see garbage like this being rewarded by our government. You don’t give ten thousand dollars to someone to write this kind of junk. Any six year old could have probably done that and probably done it a great deal better. The grant was awarded to poet Peter Orlovsky on the basis of his book of poems filled with obscene descriptions and useless babblings. The fact that the title of the book cannot even be published in a decent newspaper is because the language is foul – Quote – The book Orlovsky wrote is just gibberish and absolute garbage.” said the Professor, said the Professor, said the Professor, absolute garbage, said the Professor, absolute garbage said the Professor said the Professor. Added Cannon added Cannon, I think, I think, I think it’s,.. I think it’s, I think it’s, I think it’s denigrating, I think its denigrating to poetry. I think it’s denigrating to poetry. Young poets seeing this will think all they have to do is write a string of filth, all they have to do is write a string of filth, all they have to do is write a string of filth they can think of, all the filth, all the filth they can think of, and they’ll get ten thousand dollars from the government, and they’ll get ten thousand dollars from the government, and they’ll get ten thousand dollars from the government. If it comes to that we can all hide our heads in the ground and not write another line except four letter words four letter words”. And Representative Larry McDonald, Democrat of Georgia, Democrat of Georgia, protested, “It’s a disgrace to the nation”, it’s a disgrace to the nation, it’s a disgrace to the nation, a disgrace to the nation , the nation, a disgrace, a..

JG: Allen, tell them what newspaper that’s from.

AG: Oh  – The National Enquirer, February 24, 1981

[At approximately forty-three-and-a-half minutes in, the program continues ]

(AG to JG) Want to take an intermission? Raise your hands – [a little show of hands] – Okay- the next will be Jerry Granelli on percussion, solo

[Granelli’s percussion solo lasts from approximately forty-four-and-three-quarter minutes in until fifty-one-and-three-quarter minutes in]

AG: The next number on the program will be “The Congo” by Vachel Lindsay a poem written in the (19)20’s and circulated around the country by voice by Vachel Lindsay. In three parts, or three movements, vocal and percussion’ – “The Congo Part One  “Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room..”…. mumbo jumbo hoo-doo you”
Pretty good! –  “Atlantis” next

Atlantis next,  (a) verbal rhapsody by Hart Crane, at the end of The Bridge”  – [Atlantis   (with background music of piano/keyboard)  begins approximately sixty minutes in] – (“Through the bound cable strands the arching path/Upward, veering with light, the flight of strings” ….” …”Whispers antiphonal in azure swing”)

[Allen concludes with a more lengthy new poem .. we begin with Capitol Air) – (“I don’t like the government where I live/I don’t like dictatorship of the Rich”…”Breathe together with an ordinary mind/Armed with Humor Feed & Enlighten Woe Mankind” )

Audio for the above can be heard here

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