Category Archives: Bob Dylan

>Allen’s Spiritual Jukebox (Notes on Music Notes 3)

[“The Music Lesson – Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg on the Rolling Thunder Revue, in Lowell, Mass” – for Jack Kerouac – photograph by Elsa Dorfman]

“Pop fragments addenda”. So, to conclude, some essential Dylan and The Beatles. Not to forget, the Stones (tho’, significantly – and this is 1971, after all – only one track from the Rolling Stones, the lasciviously seductive “Let’s Spend The Night Together” – famously delivered as “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” on the Ed Sullivan tv show – appears on Allen’s list). A contemporaneous (1967) clip of them doing that song (on the BBC’s Top of the Pops) can be seen (and heard) here; a lively, athletic stadium version can be heard and witnessed here. David Bowie and Muddy Waters each also give it a going-over.
Fragments of “the mop tops” – “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (being a more innocent rendition of the same sentiments?). George Martin can be heard introducing it here. It can barely be heard above the screaming fans in Washington DC in 1964 here, and here‘s their appearance on the aforementioned Ed Sullivan, that very same year.
“I heard the News today Oh Boy (Pepper)” (by which he means, of course, the classic track from Sergeant Pepper.. “A Day In The Life“). “I Am The Walrus (sic)”; “Strawberry Fields (Forever)“; “Give Peace A Chance“. The latter, hugely important, anti-Vietnam War anthem, can be heard live (in Toronto, in 1969, backed by The Plastic Ono Band) here.
Allen, incidentally, can be spotted serenading John Lennon in Jonas Mekas’ footage of his (Lennon’s) 31st birthday celebrations (1971 at the St Regis Hotel in New York City). How many other “familiar faces” can you spot?
“Geo(rge) Harrison (as before”. So here’s another “My Sweet Lord” – this time, a studio version.
Finally, Bob Dylan. There might be a little bit of a problem with copyright here (there may be some problems with copyright elsewhere!) So we’ll perversely conclude with five great alternative versions of the songs Allen chose. Mavis Staples of The Staples Singers delivers a pretty trenchant Masters of War; Pete Seeger sings “(A) Hard Rain(‘s Gonna Fall)“; The Byrds deliver their classic “(Mr) Tamborine Man“; Joan Baez, in concert in 1972, attempts “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland(s)” (sic) and Blind Boy Grunt does a serviceable version of Gates of Eden.
oh – and AG (not immodestly) includes himself “Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience” which can be listened to in its entirety here. Footage of Allen performing The Nurses Song may be viewed here (“and all the hills echo-ed and all the hills echo-ed”).


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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Beat Studies, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Music

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 6

>Here’s for the holiday season our now-regular miscellaneous Ginsberg round-up, the last round-up for 2010

More Arthur Russell/Allen Ginsberg

You all know Arthur Russell’s appearance playing cello on “Do The Meditation Rock” from Nam June Paik’s Good Morning Mr. Orwell (1984) but here the two are again, Allen intoning this time on Arthur’s “Soon To Be Innocent Fun”, featuring John Moran with Allen Ginsberg, from the 1993 Meet The Locusts, produced by Philip Glass. Vocals are by John Moran, Joyce Bowden and Allen Ginsberg. Arrangement is by John Moran. Allen’s recorded voice also featured as “a patriarchal commentator named Justinius” in “Mathew in the School of Life”, Moran’s 1995 “science fiction techno opera”.

Ezra Pound and Allen Ginsberg

We’ve been meaning to get to this. Rodger Kamentz’s powerful verse essay, Allen Ginsberg Forgives Ezra Pound on Behalf of the Jews” appeared recently in the Jewish Daily Forward. A verse essay, Kamentz explains is “a form that allows the exploration of ideas and associations as well as the use of documentary material” .The stepping off point of the poem was a 1992 interview. Read more of Kamentz’s introduction and the “essay” here. Here’s some more on Ginsberg and Pound (a 1967 poem from Allen that he dedicates to Pound) from the Winter 2008 issue of Flash Point magazine, and a photo taken by Ettore Sottsass.

Howl DVD and Blueray

January 4 2011 is the date of the release of the DVD and the Blueray versions of Howl, the movie, not too long to go now. Oscilloscope have informed us that these new Howl releases will feature the following bonus materials:

“Commentary by James Franco and the Directors”; Holy! Holy! Holy! Making of Howl”; “Original interviews with Allen Ginsberg’s friends and collaborators”; “James Franco Reads “Howl”” – (An) “Audio Excerpt Performance: Ginsberg in 1995 at NYC’s Knitting Factory” (with additional BD-only clips); (A) “Q&A Session with the Filmmakers, as moderated by John Cameron Mitchell “(BD-only)

Harold Chapman’s Photos

January 4 also marks the date of the Harold Chapman Paris and the Beat Hotel sale at Bonham’s in London. A collection of Chapman’s prints titled “Peter Golding’s Harold Chapman Archive” is going up for sale. See our recent note on his last show this past summer at London’s Proud Galleries. The Archive consists of 108 photographs, approximately half of which were reproduced in Chapman’s 1984 The Beat Hotel book (which featured introductory texts by William S Burroughs and Brion Gysin – see also Harold Chapman, Beats A Paris: Und Die Dichter Der Beat Generation 1957-1963). A selection of prints are up for viewing now, and the entire set be viewed upon request. A recent BBC film report on Chapman’s work can be found here.

Dylan and Ginsberg

Sean Wilentz, whose book on Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan in America, is another book we’ve profiled, was recently interviewed in American about the Dylan-Ginsberg link “The two of them had a profound impact on each other in terms of cultural imagery”, Wilentz declares, ”Dylan helped inspire some of his greater (sic) poems, including “Wichita Vortex Sutra.” Ginsberg helped legitimize Dylan’s lyric writing as serious poetry, and Dylan helped render Ginsberg into a kind of pop figure which he had not been before.”

On The Road Film

We told you last month that we’d keep you posted about the filming of On The Road. You know the one where Tom Sturridge plays Carlo Marx/Allen Ginsberg? Well, shooting’s wrapped up, apparently. Here’s a photo-essay from our good friends in San Francisco at the Beat Museum. And here’s a note from the local paper in the very final stop, the very final location, Locke, Louisiana.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Russell, Beat Hotel, Beats, Bob Dylan, Ezra Pound, Harold Chapman, Howl DVD, John Moran, Philip Glass, Rodger Kamentz, Sean Wilentz, Tom Sturridge

>Friday’s Weekly Round-Up 1

[Allen Ginsberg & Steven Taylor, Passaic Falls, Paterson, NJ, May 1978. photo: c. Terry Sanders]


Allen was always proud of – and rightly so – his New Jersey roots. This past weekend, several young poets from that State gathered together at The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College for the annual Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, “honoring Allen Ginsberg’s Contribution to American Literature.”

In a related story, Allen is – and, perhaps surprisingly, given the company – among those nominated for the 2011 New Jersey Hall of Fame in what appears to be a spirited local boostering enterprise. Curiously under the “General” not the “Arts and Entertainment” category (movie stars like John Travolta and Bruce Willis are among the latter, not to mention Queen Latifah and singer Tony Bennett!). Voters are encouraged to vote on-line and the top vote-getters will be officially inducted in the Spring. Seems tho’, you have to vote for someone in each of the categories, you can’t just vote for Allen – oh well, he’s already a de facto New Jersey hall-of-famer, as far as we’re concerned!


Seems the current omnipresence of Howl has summoned up all sorts of feelings and nostalgia and memories. One tiny annotation that you might well have missed (it appeared buried in another blog’s Comments section) is from New Yorker Stefan Jones who writes:

“”who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi’s, listening to…”.My grandparents owned Fugazzis, and ran it at the time Howl was written. My father tended bar there for a short time, while in grad school.It was on 6th, a few doors down from the Waverly theater. The building was torn down and a fast food place installed. According to my parents, the clientele were old Italian guys who came for the polenta and bacala special, and beatniks.I have vague toddler memories of the place, and my grandparents’ apartment up above”.

Anybody else out there got any site-specific Howl memories?

[Bill Katz & James Schuyler, November 7, 1987. photo. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]


Someone kindly pointed out in our comments that November 9 was Jimmy Schuyler’s birthday as well as Anne Sexton’s. We’re particularly keen on Schuyler here, and it just so happens one of our frequent contributors, Simon Pettet, was editor on a number of his books, the most recent being Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems published earlier this year.

The photo find of the week is this one by Douglas Gilbert of Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg oustside Albert Grossman’s house house in Woodstock, NY 1964. That’s the same house the cover of Bringing it All Back Home was shot in a year later, where Dylan’s pictured sitting with Sally Grossman. We found if off Jody’s When you Awake page, but the full book Forever Young published by DaCapo Press is available and has plenty more interesting images.

أغنيــــــة (قصيدة مترجمة)

Last but not least, we came across this Arabic translation of “Song” posted by London based Libyan, Ghazi Gheblawi on his blog. Anyone with better Arabic skills than us have any take on the translation?

أغنيــــــة (قصيدة مترجمة)

الحب هو
عبء العالم.
تحت وطأة
تحت وطأة
اللا اكتفاء
العبء الذي نحمله
هو الحب.
من يستطيع أن ينكر؟
أنه في الاحلام
في الفكر
في الخيال
حتى يولد
في إنسان –
يطل من القلب
مشتعلاً بنقاء –
لأن الحب،
هو عبء الحياة،
لكننا نواصل بارهاق
حمل العبء،
لذا فإننا يجب أن نسترح
في احضان الحب،
يجب أن نسترح في احضان
لا راحة
بلا حب،
لا نوم
بلا احلام
عن الحب –
سواء أكنت طائشاً أو هادئاً
مهووساً بالملائكة
أو الآلات،
فإن الامنية الاخيرة
هي الحب
ــ لن تكون مرةً،
لا تستطيع انكارها،
لا تستطيع كبتها
إن انكرتها:
العبء ثقيلٌ جداً
ــ يجب أن تمنح
بلا مقابل
كما تُمنح الفكرة
في العزلة
بكل اسرافها الباذخ.
الاجساد الدافئة
تلمع في الظلمة
تتحرك الكف
إلى مركز
ترتعش البشرة
وتصل الروح
مبتهجة إلى العين –
نعم، نعم،
ذلك ما اردته،
اردت دائماً،
اردت دائماً،
أن اعود
إلى الجسد
حيث ولدت.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Anne Sexton, Arabic, Bob Dylan, Fugazzi's, Ghazi Gheblawi, Howl, James Schuyler, Simon Pettet, Song, Stefan Jones, Steven Taylor, The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College

>Sean Wilentz: Bob Dylan in America

>The New Yorker has printed an excerpt from Sean Wilentz’ forthcoming Bob Dylan in America, due out next month & published by Doubleday. Sean’s father Eli, and uncle, Ted, ran the Eighth Street Bookshop on West 8th Street and MacDougal Street in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where Allen & Peter stayed briefly after returning from 3 years of travel around the world, which is also where Allen met Bob Dylan for the first time. Sean Wilentz is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor of History at Princeton University where he’s taught since 1979.

New Yorker music critic Alex Ross does a quick Q&A with Wilentz this week in the New Yorker as well >>

And.. for those of you in the NYC area, Wilentz will be reading and signing his book, Tuesday, September 7 at Spoonbill & Sugartown Books in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 7pm.

Bob Dylan, the Beat Generation, and Allen Ginsberg’s America

Photograph: Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Barbara Rubin, Bob Dylan, and Daniel Kramer backstage at McCarter Theater, in Princeton, New Jersey, September, 1964. © Daniel Kramer.

Bob Dylan in America,” by the historian Sean Wilentz, will be published in September by Doubleday. The following excerpt is Chapter 2 of the book.

Penetrating Aether: The Beat Generation and Allen Ginsberg’s America

by Sean Wilentz

Aaron Copland’s first important musical project after Billy the Kid was to write the score, in 1939, for a film by the innovative director Lewis Milestone, made from John Steinbeck’s novella about hard-luck migrant workers in California, Of Mice and Men.

Read complete excerpt >>

New York Magazine are also giving Wilentz pretty decent props. >>

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>Happy Soixante-Neuf Bob!


[The Music Lesson: Ginsberg & Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Revue Tour, 1975. Photo: Elsa Dorfman]

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>Howabout some Subterranean Homesick Blues..


The above from D. A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back. A few months before Allen died, U2 asked him on board for a section of their Pop Mart documentary he quickly obliged. Here he is reading U2’s Miami lyric on the roof of the Soho Grand hotel, February 1997.

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, D.A Pennebaker, U2