Real Gone Features Allen Ginsberg & Jack Kerouac

Article Contributed by Real Gone Music | Published on Monday, February 27, 2017

Real Gone Music slides into baseball season this April with vinyl releases from a pair of literary heavy hitters. Kaddish is one of beat poet Allen Ginsberg’s greatest poems, a moving meditation on his mother Naomi and his Jewish faith; Atlantic Records released Ginsberg’s own reading of the work in 1966 as the only title in its Verbum spoken word series. Real Gone’s release features the original gatefold album art with an added inner sleeve sporting new liner notes by Pat Thomas and memorabilia courtesy of the Ginsberg estate. And On the Road author Jack Kerouac’s legendary first album, Poetry for the Beat Generation, gets a stand-alone vinyl release for the first time ever in a “beatnik smoke” limited edition.

A hits package from Country music’s most notorious outlaw is something of a contradiction in terms, but—despite pissing people off in and outside the country music establishment—David Allan Coe has scored 31 chart hits during his riotous career, which is a testimony as to just how powerful a singer and songwriter he is. Our double-CD set has ‘em all, with notes by Chris Morris. And we also hear from a much kinder, gentler figure in country music, B.J. Thomas, with the first-ever collection of the singles he cut for Columbia and related imprints during the ‘80s. Liner notes by Joe Marchese again feature quotes from the man himself.

Real Gone is also repressing a couple of titles that sold out in a heartbeat the first time around the label issued them on vinyl. X-Ray Spex’ Germfree Adolescents is one of the greatest punk albums of all time; it’s back in radioactive green vinyl limited to 500 copies. And the debut, self-titled album from Angel Witch is a pioneering Black Metal record and a key album in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal pantheon; a 500-unit repress in “White Witch” vinyl is in the offing.

Along with Howl, Kaddish stands as one of Allen Ginsberg’s most illustrious creations. Always a follower of popular trends in music, Ginsberg had spent parts of 1958 digging into Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman” – occasionally doing so while on morphine and methamphetamine. One evening, in this drug-induced state while cranking some Ray, Ginsberg began discussing his mother Naomi with his pal Zev Putterman.  Putterman in turn, began reciting the traditional Hebrew “Kaddish” prayer for mourning the dead.  Soon after, fueled by Dexedrine, LSD, and caffeine, Allen penned the majority of Kaddish.  In early 1959, Kaddish received its debut performance at a poetry reading at Columbia University – in which Allen shared the bill with his lover Peter Orlovsky and fellow beat poet Gregory Corso. Over time, the manuscript was tweaked and adjusted until publication in April 1961 by City Lights. Then, in November 1964, with Orlovsky and Corso in tow, the trio performed several gigs at Harvard and Brandeis Universities, and it was at Brandeis where this recording was made. Released in 1966, Reads Kaddish—A 20th Century Ecstatic Narrative Poem turned out to be the only record in Atlantic’s spoken-word Verbum series; but if label head Jerry Wexler changed his mind about the imprint, he remained a big fan of the work, later telling Los Angeles historian Harvey Kubernik that Kaddish had stirred “the Yiddish currents in my own blood” and inspired “joy and anguish…the exaltation that great poetry will bring on.” Indeed, Kaddish is an intensely personal and moving work, capturing the complex relationship between Ginsberg, his mother, and his faith, and concluding with a heartrending description of her death. Real Gone Music is very proud to present the first-ever vinyl reissue of this landmark performance, in its original gatefold packaging with an added inner sleeve featuring new liner notes by Pat Thomas and memorabilia provided by the Allen Ginsberg estate…over an hour of one of the towering figures in American poetry reading one of his greatest works. Limited edition of 1700 in red vinyl.

The story behind Poetry for the Beat Generation, which marked Jack Kerouac’s debut as a recording artist, is almost as fascinating (but not quite) as the performances it contains. Kerouac had completely bombed in his first set during a 1957 engagement at the Village Vanguard when TV personality, comedian, and musician Steve Allen volunteered to accompany him on piano during the second. The results were so impressive that legendary engineer Bob Thiele then brought the duo into the studio to record an album for Dot Records. In true, stream-of-consciousness, Beat fashion, the entire album was cut in one session with one take for each track, Allen’s piano weaving in and out and occasionally commenting on Kerouac’s verbal riffs to great effect. However, when Poetry for the Beat Generation was ready for release in March 1958, Randy Wood, the president of Dot Records, was appalled by the then-daring language and subject matter and canceled the release…but not before 100 promo copies got out (and if you have one you’re set for life)! Thiele then left the company over the dispute and got the master tape in the bargain, which he finally released on the Hanover label which he founded with Allen in June 1959. That release still stands as one of the most momentous spoken word albums not just of the ‘50s but of all time…and we at Real Gone Music are proud to bring it to you in a black and white “beatnik smoke” vinyl version limited to 900 copies!

We’d be the first to admit that a David Allan Coe hits collection is something of an oxymoron. Despite having written some of the most hallowed songs in country music, tunes like “Take This Job and Shove It” and “Would You Lay with Me (in a Field of Stone),” nobody would ever confuse Coe with a popular country artist. The man is outlaw to his core, having offended just about everybody inside (and a lot of people outside) the country music business during the course of his riotous career. But because he is such a great songwriter and honky tonk singer, he did manage score 31 chart hits despite his best efforts at career sabotage (that some of these gripping performances didn’t score higher on the charts is testimony to just how far out of the country mainstream he was and is).  And you’ll find all of them here on this 2-CD collection entitled (natch) The Complete Hits, which serves not only as a great career overview but also takes its place as the most comprehensive Coe collection to date. Among the highlights here: “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile,” “You Never Even Called Me by Name,” “The Ride,” “She Used to Love Me a Lot,” “Longhaired Redneck,” and his hit with Willie Nelson, “I’ve Already Cheated on You,” most of them produced by countrypolitan producer par excellence Billy Sherrill, who definitely had his hands full trying to sand off the rough edges of David Allan Coe! Chris Morris supplies the notes for The Complete Hits, which features photos and remastering by Chris LeMonde. Some of the hardest country ever recorded.

Having documented B.J. Thomas’ early sides with our 2-CD Set The Complete Scepter Singles, and followed his late ‘70s/early ‘80s foray into inspirational music with a pair of album twofers from the Myrrh label, it was only a matter of time till we at Real Gone Music tackled the next big phase in the career of this all-time great American singer, namely the classic country-pop sides he cut for Columbia in the ‘80s. This is a stage in B.J.’s career that has seen little attention in the CD era, which is strange because he was just killing it on the Country charts with #1 hits like “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love” and “New Looks from an Old Lover”  and the #3 hit “Two Car Garage.” In fact, out of the 21 songs on New Looks from an Old Lover—The Complete Columbia Singles —which includes the A and B-side of every Columbia single plus sides from the Cleveland International and Priority labels —eight were chart hits, among them the Top 20 duet “Rock and Roll Shoes” with Ray Charles plus “The Whole World’s in Love When You’re Lonely” and “The Girl Most Likely To.” We’ve also added a pair of bonus tracks including his rare original solo version of “As Long as We’ve Got Each Other,” the theme to the TV show Growing Pains, and his early version of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which ended up being a hit for Gary Morris and Bette Midler among others. Remastered by Sean Brennan at Battery Studios, peppered with rare photos, and annotated by Joe Marchese based on a fresh interview with the artist himself, New Looks from an Old Lover—The Complete Columbia Singles is a must for any B.J. fan and anybody who wants to hear some of the best country-pop the ‘80s had to offer.


ALLEN GINSBERG: Reads Kaddish—A 20th Century American Ecstatic Narrative Poem (Limited Red Vinyl Edition)

JACK KEROUAC & STEVE ALLEN: Poetry for the Beat Generation (Limited Black & White “Beatnik Smoke” Vinyl Edition)

DAVID ALLAN COE:  The Complete Hits (2-CD Set)

B.J. THOMAS: New Looks from an Old Lover—The Complete Columbia Singles

X-RAY SPEX: Germfree Adolescents (Limited Radioactive Green Vinyl Edition)

ANGEL WITCH: Angel Witch (Limited “White Witch” Vinyl Edition)