First Blues: Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs

First Blues: Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs

Allen Ginsberg FW37560 / FSS 37560

Legendary Beat poet Allen Ginsberg explores the fusion of poetry and music in this rare 1970s recording. Called a "venerated bard of resistance" Ginsberg sought "how the raw mind actually works" through poetry. This collection of fun ditties spouts against capitalism, among other things, and is an amusing and enjoyable listen. Ginsberg accompanies himself with a small hand-pumped harmonium from India, occasionally adding his own guttural rhythms reminiscent of Dadaist sound-poetry (see for example "Put Down Your Cigarette Rag" and "Prayer Blues"), while other songs, such as "Bus Ride Ballad Road to Suva", echo folk ballads from yesteryear. Ginsberg prefaces each song himself. Liner notes include an introduction from Ginsberg.

Year Released 1981
Record Label Folkways Records
Source Archive Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Copyright 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1981 Folkways Records
Genre(s) American Folk; Poetry
Country(s) United States
Instrument(s) Harmonium; Reed organ; Reed organ, Benares; Vocals
Language(s) English
Subject(s) Blues; Folk songs--United States; Folksong revival; Protest songs; Topical songs

Download Liner Notes

101 4 A.M. Blues / New York Blues / New York Youth Call Annunciation (medley) Allen Ginsberg 10:02
102 COME BACK CHRISTMAS; MacDougal Street Blues Allen Ginsberg 6:52
103 CIA Dope Calypso Allen Ginsberg 4:59
104 Put Down Your Cigarette Rag Allen Ginsberg 3:42
201 Slack Key Guitar; Siratoka Beach Croon Allen Ginsberg 7:03
202 Bus Ride Ballad Road to Suva Allen Ginsberg 4:16
203 Prayer Blues Allen Ginsberg 10:25
204 Dope Fiend Blues Allen Ginsberg 4:30
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