"Allen Ginsberg is not only one of the world's best poets but one of its finest citizens as well. Long impressed with his musical abilities I recorded Allen in 1976 but CBS refused to issue the results, considering the results obscene and disrespectful. I am thrilled to finally be able to present Allen on my own label; not only the 1976 sessions but those from 1971 and 1981 as well. I will present 'Disrespectful' music like this as often as possible." - John Hammond, "The Ginsberg Gallimaufry," LP insert, spring edition, 1983.
In 1983, a 2 LP set by "beat poet" Allen Ginsberg was released thanks to legendary producer and talent scout John Hammond. "First Blues" was distributed by Hammond on a specially created label after allegedly having difficulties negotiating with CBS/Columbia Records. The album was later issued on CD on February 21, 2006, on Water Records.
The album is now being rereleased on CD and vinyl through Ginsberg Recordings (a collaboration of Ginsberg’s Estate and Esther Creative Group), and there will be a celebration at Housing Works Cafe, 126 Crosby Street, in Soho, New York, Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.. Among those expected at the party are Ginsberg's "friends, collaborators, relatives and co-conspirators" Lou Reed, Anne Waldman, Ambrose Bye, CAConrad, Steven Taylor, Hettie Jones, Andy Clausen, Arthur's Landing, and others, "for a night of poetry and songs."
In addition, a limited edition of "500 seven track vinyl (sic) that mimics the original style down to the newspaper insert" will be available at the venue and online.
"First Blues" featured sessions with Bob Dylan from 1971, according to the newspaper insert, called "The Ginsberg Gallimaufry," included in the original LP package.
Searching For A Gem adds:
Bob (Dylan) contributes vocals and plays guitar, piano and organ on three tracks, recorded New York, 17 Nov 1971.
Dylan played on the following tracks:
- "Going To San Diego" (Allen Ginsberg) - this song is copyrighted to Allen Ginsberg even though Ginsberg publicly credited Bob with the musical arrangement.
- "Jimmy Berman Rag" (Allen Ginsberg/Bob Dylan)
- "Vomit Express" (Allen Ginsberg/Bob Dylan)
According to Bjorner, "Vomit Express," along with "September On Jessore Road" and "A Dream" from the same sessions, was included on the 1994 Rhino box set, "Allen Ginsberg: Holy Soul Jelly Roll - Poems and Songs." A different take of "September On Jessore Road" was released on a "Sing Out!" flexi disc in 1972.
The version of "The Tyger" from these dates, based on William Blake's poem, was later rerecorded for the album without Dylan. He quoted from this work on his recent song, "Roll On, John," a tribute to John Lennon. Eight tracks from the sessions were originally planned to be released on the Beatles' Apple label under the title, "Holy Soul & Jelly Roll."
Taylor, Waldman, David Amram, Happy Traum, Peter Orlovsky, Arthur Russell, David Mansfield, and Jon Sholle, among others, also contributed to the recordings.
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