Thursday, 24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from William Burroughs

Here's something to cheer you up as you're suffering post-Turkey indigestion...

William Burroughs' state-of-the-nation address, Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986, was published in his 1989 book Tornado Alley. A year later this retitled version appeared on Dead City Radio, a Hal Willner-produced album of Burroughs' recitals set against music by the likes of John Cale and Donald Fagen.

MP3: William Burroughs - A Thanksgiving Prayer

Buy Dead City Radio at Amazon

Gus Van Sant made this video as a promo for the album. I hope MTV showed it at least once.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Robert Crumb's Record Sleeves

If you've seen Terry Zwigoff's brilliant documentary about cartoonist Robert Crumb you'll know that the comics pioneeer loves old American music in almost equal measure to drawing large-breasted women.

Over the years Crumb has married his passion for music with his talents as an artist to illustrate dozens of record covers (most famously Big Brother and the Holding Company's Cheap Thrills).

These sleeves alongside other music-related epheremea are now gathered in a terrific book, accurately titled, The Complete Record Cover Collection (Norton).

It's difficult to browse through the book and see names like Ukulele Ike and the Possum Trot String Band and not want to hear their music.

This is Crumb's cover to a 1978 compilation by bawdy bluesman Bo Carter.

On this track, when Bo sings about troubles with his pencil, I don't think it's an HB graphite he's referring to.

MP3: Bo Carter - The Pencil Won't Write No More

Buy Bo Carter's Banana in Your Fruit Basket at Amazon

Another great cover in the book that sees Crumb playing to his strengths is this one for a 1975 Hokum Boys compilation on Yazoo Records.

MP3: The Hokum Boys -You Can't Get Enough Of That Stuff

Buy The Hokum Boys Complete Recordings: June-Dec 1929 at Amazon

The book also includes all of Crumb's covers for his own band The Cheap Suit Serenaders.

I thought this track from the Cheap Suits' third album was most appropriate.

MP3 R Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders - Fine Artiste Blues

Buy The Cheap Suit Serenaders' Chasin' Rainbows at Amazon

Related Links
R Crumb - official site
R Crumb - Illustrator & Musician - good interview on Leap in the Dark blog
Robert Crumb on WFMU's Antique Phonograph Music Program - great video interview

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