Reads on the Road

Reads on the Road

by Jack Kerouac
     
 

The title Jack Kerouac Reads On the Road is a bit deceptive. Yes, Kerouac reads some of his most famous novel in a newly discovered recording, produced by Jim Sampas and Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo. But this disc also contains several jazz standards Kerouac recorded in the '50s (he sounds a bit like Chet Baker), two long poems ("Orizaba 210 Blues" and theSee more details below

Overview

The title Jack Kerouac Reads On the Road is a bit deceptive. Yes, Kerouac reads some of his most famous novel in a newly discovered recording, produced by Jim Sampas and Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo. But this disc also contains several jazz standards Kerouac recorded in the '50s (he sounds a bit like Chet Baker), two long poems ("Orizaba 210 Blues" and the previously unpublished "Washington D.C. Blues") with new musical accompaniment composed by Kerouac pal David Amram, and two versions of a fine short song, also titled "On the Road" (the first adds organist John Medeski and guitarist Victor Juris behind Kerouac's singing; the second, a treat, Tom Waits arranged and sings, accompanied by rock band Primus). Intriguing enough. But the highlight is the nearly half-hour reading of "On the Road (Jazz of the Beat Generation)." Kerouac published this article in 1955, prior to On the Road, and then integrated it in two sections into the novel. With archetypal beat exuberance, Kerouac describes the sweat-drenched jazz club experience of 1949, with reminiscences of Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and other bebop icons. Not only is this recording exciting as a historical document of a classic American novel, but it also contains some of the most vivid prose ever written about jazz, and Kerouac's fluid, conversational, and infectious reading resurrects the "warm, mad night" of the Beats.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
While Rhino's compilation might mark a better place to start, Reads on the Road is certainly a worthy collection of some of Jack Kerouac's narratives and poetry, embellished by some actual singing. Kerouac is a more enjoyable author to hear reading on disc than most, since his prose had much of a jazz rhythm, and since he was an engaging reader/performer himself. The big find on this 74-minute CD is the 28-minute excerpt from On the Road his most famous and widely-read book, found on '50s acetates that had been thought lost. "On the Road" is presented as it was discovered, with just Kerouac's voice, but guitarist Vic Juris and Hammond organist John Medeski recorded music in 1998 for his early-'60s musical song-poem "On the Road" (a separate performance from his reading of material from the book). It's unexpected, and amusing if not brilliant, to hear Kerouac sing three jazz standards by the likes of Sammy Kahn, Johnny Mercer, and Gordon Jenkins in the late 1950s (presented with the original musical backing, by unknown musicians). David Amram, who had provided musical backup for Kerouac's readings in the late 1950s, wrote and recorded music in 1998 for two more Kerouac poems, cut by Kerouac in the back of a record shop, including the previously unpublished "Washington D.C. Blues," which runs for 17 minutes. Ending the set is Tom Waits, backed by Primus, doing yet another "On the Road," for which Waits put music to Kerouac's prose.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/14/1999
Label:
Rykodisc
UPC:
0014431047428
catalogNumber:
10474

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jack Kerouac   Primary Artist,Vocals
Tom Waits   Guitar,Percussion,Vocals
David Amram   Dumbek,Percussion,Piano,Conga,French Horn,Ocarina,Penny Whistle,Lakota Flute,Frame Drum,Shanai
Vic Juris   Guitar
Candido   Conga
Ralph Carney   Saxophone
Andreu Johnny Almendra   Bongos,Drums
Brain   Percussion
Claypool   Percussion,Upright Bass
John Medeski   Organ,Hammond Organ
Midhat Serbagi   Viola
Jane Taylor   Bassoon
Victor Venegas   Bass
Larry LaLonde   Guitar,Percussion

Technical Credits

Lee Ranaldo   Producer,Digital Editing
David Amram   Composer
Gordon Jenkins   Composer
Greg Calbi   Mastering
Biff Dawes   Engineer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Bernie Hanighen   Composer
Jerry Newman   Engineer
Dan Lawrence   Engineer
Dan Russo   Composer
Ted Fio Rito   Composer
Frank Olinsky   Art Direction
Steve Fallone   Mastering
Bernd Burgdorf   Engineer
Jim Sampas   Producer,Engineer
Jeff Sloan   Engineer
Douglas Brinkley   Liner Notes

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