The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience, as tuned by Allen Ginsberg on Omnivore Recordings (first time on CD & digital, including rare and previously unreleased material). As anticipated, the raves are coming in.
Here’s Thom Jurek on the allmusic web-site, singing the praises of what he refers to as a “treasure” of a document.
“It’s impossible to overestimate Ginsberg’s influence on American culture; likewise, these recordings are nothing less than an integral, inseparable part of his oeuvre. It’s obvious that while Ginsberg took great delight in making these recordings, he also took them very seriously; his intent is clear. As a whole, they are an inspiring, provocative, and life-affirming chapter in his legacy.”
“In his atonal, old-angel midnight voice, Ginsberg and accompanists fearlessly render Blake’s poems with a musicality that that not only suits them, but fits them like a glove. You can hear the spirit of Blake bleating these out naked in his backyard.”
Jurek also notes with approval, producer Pat Thomas‘ “exhaustive, intensively researched liner notes”
“It’s fair to say that the results are more innocence than experience, but there’s a joyous naiveté here which is both endearing and infectious… (and the package) truly comes into its own (in the second CD) on three previously unreleased mantras recorded with a Buddhist choir. Hypnotic, and with a different kind of poetic beauty.”
The mantras – yes, additional reason to make this essential purchase. As Thom Jurek puts it, “(these) alone.. (make it) worth the set’s purchase price”
Here’s Steven Taylor at Allen’s 91st birthday celebration at the Howl Happening Gallery a couple of weeks back performing a couple of the Blake songs (followed by footage of him accompanying Ed Sanders in a spirited (sic) rendition of Ed’s current updating of his exorcism of The White House)
Thanks to the redoubtable Thelma Blitz for uploading this video.
And the White House, yes, “Stay Away From the White House”