On Mexico City Blue (37th Chorus)

Dinah Washington (1924-1963)

Allen Ginsberg on Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues continues from here

AG:  “Mad about the Boy”-   37th Chorus “ Tune – Fue –” ( I don’t know – “was” I guess.  “Fue” – was – (Editorial note – “Fue” is Spanish for “was.”) – “Going along with the dance/ Lester Young in eternity/blowing his horn alone/ Alone – Nobody’s alone/For more than a minute./ Growl, low, tenorman,/ Work out your tune till the day/ Is break, smooth out the rough night,/ Wail,/ Break their Beatbutton bones/ On the Bank of Broad/ England Ah Patooty/Teaward Time/ Of Proust & bearded/ Majesty/ In rooms of dun ago/in long a lash/alarum speakum/mansions tennessee/of gory william tree/-  (remember that little/box of tacks?)

Well, there (are) elements there, let’s see, what are they?  “Mad About the Boy” is a sort of gay Broadway tune.  (singing) “Mad About the Boy” – anybody ever hear of that?  Actually it’s one of the tunes by Cole Porter – the great Cole Porter nightclub tune that people sit at the high-teacup room at the Plaza and have cocktails and they have a cocktail pianist who’s (accompanying) Edith Piaf?..  or, who’s the American?..  I don’t know,  Hildegarde?  I don’t know who does it nowadays.  Sort of gay or dyke chanteuses.  Someone who sings little songs for elegant company in exquisite, expensive uptown New York Plaza supper clubs.  A supper club entertainment.  (singing).   “Mad about the Boy – / Tune – Fue -..”
Then,  “Going along going with…”, I think then, Lester Young took that elegant tune and made it into a very powerful bop number –  early bop number or late blues number, late jazz blues number.

Lester Young (1909-1959)

“Going along with the dance,” I guess Kerouac said, just going along with the dance himself, the transcendental majesty or nowhere to go either way.  Going along with the dance.  And also Lester Young, in that same eternity, “blowing his horn alone/Alone” – and then

“…Nobody’s alone/For more than a minute./ Growl, low, tenorman,/ Work out your tune till the day/Is break, smooth out the rough night,/  Wail,/ Break their Beatbutton bones/  On the….”

Then he just gets onto a sound thing.  Because he’s beginning to sound like Shakespeare a little –  “Work out your tune till the day/Is break” –  that’s sort of archaic –  “smooth out the rough night” – that’s just regular old poetry – “Work out your tune till the day/ Is break, smooth out the rough night..”)  – “Wail”.. (Then he gets a little hippie) – “ Wail,/Bank of Broad/ England Ah Patooty/ Teaward Time/ Of Proust & bearded/Majesty/ In rooms of dun ago/ in long a lash/ alarum speakum/ mansions tennessee/of gory william tree..” – (Tennessee Williams, obviously.  “Mansions” would be the mansion in “A Streetcar Named Desire“, where there are old decaying mansions with old decaying ladies falling in love long ago in nostalgia time.  Or (Marcel) Proust)

“(B)earded/Majesty” – (I guess the bearded majesty of poetry.  Did we have that “bearded Majesty” before, because that “bearded Majesty of trees” comes in later on, before or after.  I guess he’s just talking here about he’s making up a little sound poem, sound-ditty, with a few associations in it and it sounds to him like Shakespeare).

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twelve-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately sixteen minutes in 

 5533. 6806  5208

[3].  Later this quote will reappear in Bill Garver’s mouth, seemingly in reference to himself.

[5].  These two lines are from “Bop Lyrics.”

[6].  These two lines are from “Pull My Daisy.”

[7].  This line, without “that,” is the last line of “Bop Lyrics.”

OCTOBER 15, 1981


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