The Beats



As records go, those by the true Beats make for pretty dry listening. While the power of a Howl or Coney Island of the Mind is undeniable, this is not the best way to get your party started. The Beats recited poetry and literature, and usually not with bongos. It can be difficult to distinguish between the true Beats and those influenced by them who deserve honorary status. Lenny Bruce, Ken Nordine, and Al Collins certainly belong to the group of reverent, if comedic, Beat tribute-payers.

Queen of the Beats in song is Juliette Greco, originator of the all-black look beloved by both "beatploitative" caricaturists and, well, fashion. Homeless street urchin turned darling of the Left Bank Existentialists, and star of movies (including a Scopitone), Greco sang brilliant and haunting songs, many adapted from the great Parisian poets and literati. While most of the U.S. Beat literati were recorded, few could call themselves singers. Greco was probably the only one to successfully marry true Beat poetry to popular music.



[Partly] Beats' LPs

Rating
8The John Benson Brooks Trio: Avant Slant (One Plus 1 = II?)--a Twelve-Tone Collage; Decca DL-75018
7William Burroughs: Call Me Burroughs; ESP 1050; 1965 (excerpts from Naked Lunch & Nova Express)
8Allen Ginsberg Reads Howl & Other Poems; Fantasy 7006; 1959
7Allen Ginsberg: Ginsberg's Thing; Douglas SD-801
6Allen Ginsberg: Allen Ginsberg/William Blake--Songs of Innocence & Experience; MGM/Verve Forecast FTS-3083 (w/Bob Dorough, Don Cherry, Peter Orlovsky..; reissued as Archetypes--Allen Ginsberg; MGM M3F-4951; 1974)
7Allen Ginsberg: First Blues; Hammond 37673; 1982/1979 (2-LP; vocal, not spoken)
Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Tentative Description of a Dinner to Promote the Impeachment of President Eisenhower & Other Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Fantasy F-7004
8Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Fantasy 7014; 1969 (w/sitar)
Juliette Greco EP No. 1; Philips/Fontana 460.500-ME
Juliette Greco EP No. 2; Philips/Fontana 460.501-ME
Juliette Greco No. 1 10"; Philips/Fontana 660.203-MR (Chants ses Derniers Succes)
Juliette Greco No. 2 10"; Philips/Fontana 660.204-MR
Juliette Greco No. 3 10"; Philips/Fontana 660.205-MR (a l'Olympia)
6Juliette Greco No. 4 10"; Philips/Fontana 660.208-MR
7Juliette Greco: This is Juliette Greco; Philips Connoisseur Collection PCC-615 (deluxe gatefold; w/Francois Rauber)
Juliette Greco: St. Germain-Des-Pres; Columbia CL-569
5Juliette Greco: Greco; Columbia CL-992 (w/Michel Magne)
5Juliette Greco; Columbia ML-5088 (w/Michel LeGrand, Andre Grassi)
7Juliette Greco: Juliette; Columbia Adventures in Sound WL-138 (w/Andre Popp)
7Juliette Greco: Les Grandes Chansons Vol. 3; WL-174/WS-323; 1960 (w/Andre Popp)
5Juliette Greco: Juliette Greco a l'Olympia; Philips 70342 (w/Henri Patterson, Francois Rauber)
7Juliette Greco; Impact 6371-138 (compilation; 1954-68)
6Juliette Greco: Je vous attends; Barclay 80523; 1974
5Various (Greco, Francois, Patachou..): Paris Night Life; Columbia CL-978
8Jack Kerouac & Steve Allen: Poetry for the Beat Generation; Dot; 1961 (Hanover HML-5000, also very rare, reissues the 130 promo copies released before censorship)
8Jack Kerouac: Readings by Jack Kerouac on The Beat Generation; Verve MGV-15005 (Celebrity Series); c.1960
8The Jack Kerouac Collection; Rhino Word Beat boxed set; 1990 (3-CD, 40-page booklet, reissues the LPs, adds previously unreleased material & tributes from Allen Ginsburg, Jerry Garcia, William Burroughs..)
6Mark Murphy: Bop for Kerouac; Muse MR-5253; 1981 (vocal jazz tribute including readings from Kerouac)
7Kenneth Patchen; Cadence CLP-3004; 1958/1957 (reads his poetry w/Allyn Frguson & The Chamber Jazz Sextet; jazz w/poetry; w/lyrics inner sleeve as Trend/Discovery DS-858; 1983)
6Blake Reed: Beat Generation Vol. 2; Musitron M-104; 1960 ("readings from '21 Carlisle' & other works...")
Kenneth Rexroth & Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Poetry & Jazz in "the Cellar"; Fantasy F-7002
6Ravi Shankar: Chappaqua ST; Columbia OS-3230; 1966 (w/Burroughs & Ginsberg; the former speaks on 1 cut)
8Various: Jazz Canto Vol. 1--An Anthology of Poetry & Jazz; World Pacific WP-1244; 1958 (Bob Dorough, Chico Hamilton, Fred Katz, John Carradine..; reissued as Poetry & Jazz; World Pacific WP-1409; 1961)
7Various: The San Francisco Poets; Hanover M-5001; 1959


[Partly] Beats' 45s

Rating
Juliette Greco EP; Philips/Fontana 3 (w/Michel Magne: "Sans vous aimer," "Le jour," "La Valse," "Vous, mon coeur")
Juliette Greco EP; Philips/Fontana 6 (w/Andre Popp: "Complainte du telephone," "Musique mecanique," "La fete est la" (all on LP WL-138); live at l'Olympia: "Tu me dirais")


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