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Beatniks

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Father Goose

Max Bygraves “Nursery Rhymes For Grown-Ups.   Decca (Australia)   Forgive me these other title considerations from a list of classic nursery rhymes:

All  Around  the  Mulberry  Bush / Bum,  Bum,  Baily  O! / Dickery  Dickery  Dare / Diddle,  Diddle,  Dumpling / Hart He Loves  the  High  Wood / Here  We  Go Round the Mulberry  Bush / Hey  Diddle  Diddle /Hokey  Pokey / Hot  Cross  Buns / Humpty  Dumpty / I Had  a  Little  Nut  Tree / I  Love  Little  Pussy / Peter,  Peter,  Pumkin  Eater / Peter Piper / POP!  Goes  the  Weasel / Ride  a  Cock  Horse / There  Was  A  Crooked  Man / This  Little  Piggy Went To  Bed / Wee  Willie  Winkie or maybe Where  is  Thumbkin?

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (50 votes, average: 3.18 out of 5)
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Village voices

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“Beat Generation” Jazz Poetry. Folk Lyrics. John Brent, Len Chandler and Hugh Romney at the Gaslight, Greenwich Village. Musitron Records.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (40 votes, average: 3.65 out of 5)
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Campus Capers

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“Campus Capers” In “Cool Fidelity”. I have a second volume of the same name. I love these cool beatnik era illustrations.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (39 votes, average: 3.82 out of 5)
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The Brothers Grimm

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“Grimm’s Hip Fairy Tales” As Dug by Don Morrow. Roulette Records.   This notion of “updating” the classics (from Shakespeare to Fairy Tales to TV commercials, even the bible) with jive talk and hipster lingo was done numerous times by performers like Lord Buckley, Del Close and DJ Al “Jazzbo” Collins (Who also released a beatnik version of these familiar stories – “Grimm Fairy Tales for Hip Kids”.)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (32 votes, average: 3.44 out of 5)
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Blues and Haikus

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Jack Kerouac with jazz greats Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. (1958). His second album on Hanover after “Poems for a Beat Generation” on which he was accompanied by TV talk show host Steve Allen. Produced by Bob Thiele. Click on the back cover here and hopefully you can read the liner notes by Gilbert Millstein. Kerouac calls Zoot and Al “Holy Blakean babies” and says “Zoot and Al blow thoughtful, sweet metaphysical sorrows.” Kerouac actually sings on one cut with Zoot playing piano for the first time on record. Here’s one of the haikus: “In my winter cabinet/the fly has/died of old age” Beat that.

Track listing: American Haikus; Hard Hearted Old Farmer; The Last Hotel & Some Of The Dharma; Poems from the Unpublished Book of The Blues; Old Western Movies; Conclusion Of The Railroad Earth.

Hear some of this record HERE.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (55 votes, average: 4.44 out of 5)
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Billy, always the third wheel, grabs the mic

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“Bailando con Billy”   Columbia Records.   Billy Cafaro con Lucio y Su Conjunto.   Billy looks a lot like Maynard G. Krebs  

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (27 votes, average: 3.48 out of 5)
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American hero

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Lenny Bruce – American Fantasy Records 7011. Selections recorded in 1960 during nightclub performances in San Francisco.

Liner Notes by Ralph J. Gleason:

If there is one single theme running through the New Comedy of Dissent, it is that an agonizing reappraisal of the priorities of our society is overdue. Artists are on the picket point of all social movements and the jazz men and the satirical creative comics have been the picket points in this country ofthe great social upheaval that has shaken the entire world in the decade following World War II.

Let us not confuse the jazz musicians of the interregnum between the World Wars with the jazz musician now; the attitudes and assumptions are entirely different. The jazzmen of the 30’s, no matter how iconoclastic and no matter how rebellious, accepted as a working base the stereotype his audiences wanted.

The comedians were no less bound by ritual and by rote. World War II broke this and freed the colonial peoples of the world from their concept of subservience and this has been reflected in the jazz musician and it also shook up The Establishment sufficently so that parts slintered off and a reassessment began. Today’s dissent is not based on revising the same order of things but upon a complete re-examination and a completely new approach which abandons the pose and the pretense that had become traditional.

Comedy – especially improvised, creative comedy – bears a strong resemblance to jazz. It is rooted in the same dissent, nurtured in the same rebellion and articulated in the same language in which the priorities of the Establishment have no standing at all.

There is no better example available on record of this entire attitude than Lenny Bruce’s bit on “How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties” on this LP.

Done before a mixed audience, the reaction is mixed. Some non-Negroes are outraged either because they think the attitude is outrageous or because they are ashamed to have the truth so bluntly put. Others are momentarily shocked but then, as they see themselves in past moments portrayed on stage they laugh embarrassedly. Others – those few who have escaped from the chains of race to some degree – fall out.

The same spectrum of reaction is followed by the Negroes in the audience. The more courageous and the freer dig it immediately and respond. Then there are those who fear it will rock the boat inhibits them.

Thus it is with Bruce’s humor in many areas. Comedians divide in their reactions. Any of them, from the bland Bob Newhart to the salty Mort Sahl who are themselves based on the same assumptions of paradox and pretense, go down the line with him. Like Charlie Parker, Bruce’s humor is the seminal influence of his generation and a decade from now its effects will be so widespread that those influenced by it may not even be aware of it.

Bruce has already opened up new areas for other comics to explore and it is a testament to the artistic density of the structure of his art that it is so rewarding line by line and concept by concept. Any Bruce show disgorges countless asides and inferences and quick bits that can be expanded (and are being expanded) by others. Bruce has opened the door to a reconsideration of everything in our society except the basic truths of love and beauty and honesty and truth itself. He is, in essence, attacking the whole of our society from the point of view of a street-wise primitive Christian preacher. In other words, he is the child who says the Emperor has no clothes.

There are several other points which are useful to keep in mind when listening to Bruce. He, like the jazz musician, gets bored with the same routines and this has led him to improvisation and leads him now away from things which have become associated with him, making his nightly shows a different experience than his records. He may very possibly do none of the bits on this album any longer. He may probably be bored with them.

The relationship between Bruce and the jazz musicians extends into something else, too. The jazz audience is the basic audience for Bruce because jazz listening postulates familiarity with the feeling of improvisation and this is essential to understanding and appreciating Lenny Bruce. He “wails” like a jazz man, “get in the groove” or whatever he may use to describe the jazz musician’s equivalent of being “on.” You throw away the openings sometimes because he’s just getting started. And when he is in the groove, wailing and on, the whole thing swings in a jazz sense.

One other point. The New Comics, Bruce in particular, establish a very personal relationship with their audience by the simple process of extending their own intimate circle to include the audience. The audience are all personal friends. “I have to read newspapers and see TV shows so I can come back and tell YOU about them,” Bruce remarks to the audience. His entire attitude is that of the gifted commentator in the personal circle telling all his friendsabout the incredible examples of life and social behaviour he has encountered in the recent past. He does not tell jokes. He does bits and he does routines, but he also tells them directly to YOU. This is both the secret of the successand the failure of this form of the comic art. But at its best, it is somethingmore vital and alive than anything except the very best in art. Some excerpts of that order are included here.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (24 votes, average: 3.42 out of 5)
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Blues in the night

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Mario Albanese “Insonia” (“Insomnia”). Odeon from Brazil (1959). Courtesy of LP cover lover Desiderio (Julio Siveira). Loronix has this posted with a link to download the music! Check it out.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (26 votes, average: 3.88 out of 5)
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Basket case

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“The Sick Humor of Lenny Bruce” Fantasy Records (1958) Thanks to Steve Talley for sending this in!

The Liner Notes: We are living in a culture of conformity, the sociologists keep telling us as they pore over statistics that indicate college students are conservative this year. That may be. But sometimes it seems as if the sociologists miss a few points such as Bob and Ray, jazz musicians and the well-honed wit that is bringing the Comedy of Dissent these nights to various clubs in the person of Lenny Bruce.Lenny Bruce is an example of something new in our society. He’s a comic right out of the jazz world. Unlike Mort Sahl, himself a razor wit flavored with a liberal dose of jazz orientation but self-confined to a political and national affairs horizon with forays into a limited social strata bounded on one side by hi-fi and on the other by the psychiatrist’s couch, Lenny Bruce ranges throughout our society. Armed with the anarchistic wit and salty speech of the jazz musician, Bruce does his satirical bits in a multitude of voices as contrasted to Sahl who is a stark, stand-up comic monologist.

Bruce’s whole orientation is that of the jazz musician and knowing this is fundamental to understanding and appreciating Bruce’s humor. Like the jazz musician’s view, Bruce’s comedy isa dissent from a world gone mad. To him nothing is sacred except the ultimate truths of love and beauty and moral goodness – all equating honesty. And like a jazz musician he expects to see these things about him in the world in a pure form. He takes people literally and what they say literally and by the use of his searing imagination and tongue of fire, he contrasts what they say with what they do. And he does this with the sardonic shoulder-shrug of the jazz man.

He is colossally irreverant – like a jazz musician. His stock in trade is to violate the taboos out loud and to say things on stage (and on this LP) which would get your nose bashed in at a party. But his outrage at society is not represented by shrill screams or loud protests. He does not pose. His is a moral outrage and has about it the air of a jazz man. It is strong stuff – like jazz, and it is akin to the point of view of Nelson Algren and Lawerence Ferlinghetti as well as to Charlie Parker and Lester Young.

Bruce improvises the way a jazz musician does. His routines on this album, for instance, are never done the same way twice but move like a soloist improvising on a framework of chords and melody. He takes a hard look at middle-class America with its Babbitts, its Lodges, and its Elmer Gantrys. He stabs the motion picture business with brutal parody and he punctures the hypocrisy in religion, politics, and other areas with an arrowtipped with poison.

Lenny Bruce is a social commentator, as is the jazz musician. It is an interesting point for speculation as to why his comedy of dissent has flourished in the jazz clubs. He terrifies other comics – the usual ones – by his material, in the same way the jazz musician terrifies the hotel bands and the mickey mouse tenor men. He is a threat. If he is real, he gives them the lie by his very existence.

For almost two decades the night clubs have wallowed in a sea of sentimentality and pious corn and bathroom jokes. That’s why Joe E. Lewis is such a relief. He is real and so is Lenny Bruce.

The jazz musician is a rebel with humor, if with a cause, and there is no more effective putdown of the political speeches, the incongruities in the news, the fetuous posing of the tent show religious carnivals than that which goes on in the conversation of the jazz musician and the humor of Lenny Bruce.

It’s ribald. Yes, and even sometimes rough. But it’s real. You have to earn the respect of the jazz musician, he doesn’t give it because he’s told to. And this attitude, a modern manifestation of the original American “show me,” is Bruce’s strength. He’s a verbal Hieronymus Bosh in whose monologue there is the same urgency as in a Charlie Parker chorus and the same sardonic vitality in his comments as in Lester Young’s reflections on a syrupy pop tune.

The jazzman may be anti-verbal, as Kenneth Rexroth says, if so, he has Lenny Bruce to speak for him with power.

– Ralph Gleason

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (22 votes, average: 3.77 out of 5)
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Bernt out jazz

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The New Beat Generation by Bernt Rosengren.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (19 votes, average: 3.74 out of 5)
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