Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 550

Neal Cassady,  photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries / Allen Ginsberg Estate

On February 4, 1968,  Neal Cassady went for a walk on a cold and rainy night along the train tracks in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, wearing only a loose t-shirt and a funky pair of jeans. He passed out and in the morning was found in a coma.  He was transported to the closest hospital, where he died only a few hours later.

Peter Ferry’s piece on “Searching for Neal Cassady in San Miguel de Allende’  that we featured some years back is no longer available, but here’s Jim Sweeney‘s excellent  “Trackin’ Neal Cassady in San Miguel de Allende

See also Alejandro Pérez Cervantes’   “Dean Moriarty muere en San Miguel” –  here

and we recently learned that Cathy Cassady, Neal’s eldest daughter, also got a chance to make that pilgrimage, back in 2017 – (“I got my chance…when I volunteered at the annual writers’ conference in San Miguel. I spent two weeks there. It was a moving and profound experience on many levels”)

also, in passing, check out Diane Sward Rapaport’s first-hand memoir of those San Miguel de Allende years – here

Neal Cassady at San Miguel de Allende, 1967

Last week we noted part one of our transcriptions of “Remembering Kerouac” –  from the gathering in 1982 at the Naropa Institute (now Naropa University) and the 25th Anniversary of On The Road celebrations. This week – part two Peter Orlovsky, David Amram, Michael McClure, Fernanda Pivano, Ann Charters, Eugene Brooks, and more

American Joyride – Kurt Hemmer’s – “100 Lines for the Kerouac Centenary”, part of the Kerouac Lives! celebration opening in England – tonight!

and, sticking with Simon Warner (more from his excellent Substack) – his review of Jack Kerouac: 100 Years of Beatitude, a two-CD compilation, released this very day, from the German (Holste) based Bear Family Records:

“There have been Jack Kerouac compilations before on CD, not to mention a number of collections celebrating the Beat Generation more generally, but a new gathering of recordings from multiple sources appears to provide a creditable snapshot of the soundtrack that surrounded those writers and their writing during that creative hotbed of the 1950s.
Jack Kerouac: 100 Years of Beatitude...commemorates the author’s centenary year and promises not just the familiar fare – the writer performing with the jazz pianist Steve Allen, for instance, pieces that have been frequently anthologized – but some more rare, related works of the time that might tempt Beat completists or musical or cultural historians of the period to add this set to their shelves..”

“52 songs and historical audio documents from 1946 to 1963” (including “a lot of rare recordings, some for the first time on CD”)

In conclusion, “a very substantial 150-minutes of recordings are collected, supported by ‘a colorful 36-page booklet’ containing rare photos and memorabilia as well as the history of the Beat Generation and its music, written by “a connoisseur of the beatnik scene” Roland Heinrich Rumtreiber.”
“Although this kind of collection might be accused of a form of Beatsploitation (the overuse of the term “beatnik” in the promotional package is something of a warning light), it does nonetheless, over its impressive length, give a decent flavor of the kind of sonic world in which Kerouac and his friends were emerging.
And, by interlacing some authentic Beat examples with a strong cavalcade of contemporary tracks, this vivacious and eclectic set is a more than useful introduction to these overlapping creative scenes and should also still entertain those who have already been caught by this literary bug”.

and see also his most-recent posting – The Many Sounds of On The Road


and concluding today with more Neal Cassady – Neal Cassady as a Merry Prankster.  Ken Babbs recently-published memoir, Cronies (noted here a few weeks ago) gets a notice in his local press (Santa Cruz), and there’ll be another on-line event next Wednesday (February 9th)

Korean War Vet Ken Babbs, captain of Ken Kesey’s “Trips Festival” bus, co piloting Neal Cassady on amphetamine at wheel rolling up highway to Millbrook estate near Poughkeepsie [sic] N.Y. where Dr. Tim Leary’s Castalia Foundation was then experimenting with D.M.T. on half-hour psychedelic trip useful for psychiatric sessions. Burglar Gordon Liddy, then assistant D.A. in Poughkeepsie raided the Foundation a number of times illegally lacking search warrants during that season, so Castalia folk were jittery on arrival of honking Day-glo graffiti’d “Merry Prankster” Further bus which’d been driven crosscountry S.F. to N.Y. via Texas before Fall 1964 Presidentiad, “A Vote For Goldwater is a vote for fun” logo painted above bus side windows, L.S.D. Kool-aid in pitcher in icebox. Kesey & Pranksters’d met with Jack Kerouac a day before, & set out to visit hero Leary first time, I went along, late summer 1964


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *