Omnivore Records to Issue Allen Ginsberg Box Set

"The Last Word On First Blues" features contributions from Bob Dylan and others

Allen Ginsberg
Photo by Greg Allen

Internationally revered as a leading member of the Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg also spent ample time in recording studios with artists such as Bob Dylan.

Ginsberg, who acted as lyricist, composer and lead vocalist, called on Dylan in 1971 to record a variety of original songs. The recordings, which also featured contributions from fellow poet Anne Waldman, composer David Amram and folk artist Happy Traum, remained unreleased until 1983 when Columbia Records’ John Hammond issued the sessions as the double LP set First Blues on his own label.

The new box set, entitled The Last Word On First Blues, contains the original double LP, 11 previously unissued songs from 1971 and 1981 sessions and demos and live recordings featuring Dylan and Arthur Russell. In addition to the recordings, the box set also includes writings and drawings from Ginsberg’s archives, a 28-page booklet of photos and an essay from set producer Pat Thomas featuring interviews with original participants. The box set drops May 20.

Thomas will host a round-table discussion during the weekend of June 3-5, what would have been Ginsberg’s 90th birthday, about the First Blues recordings in Manhattan with the musicians who played on it. Later that evening, the musicians will reunite to perform the material. More details will be confirmed at a later date.

Track listing:
Disc One:
1.Going To San Diego
2.Vomit Express
3.Jimmy Berman (Gay Lib Rag)
4.Ny Youth Call Annunciation
5.Cia Dope Calypso
6.Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag
7.Sickness Blues
8.Broken Bone Blues
9.Stay Away From The White House
10.Hardon Blues
11. Guru Blues

Disc Two:
1. Everybody Sing
2. Gospel Nobel Truths
3. Bus Ride To Suva
4. Prayer Blues
5. Love Forgiven
6. Father Death Blues
7. Dope Fiend Blues
8. Tyger
9. You Are My Dildo
10. Old Pond
11. No Reason
12. My Pretty Rose Tree
13. Capitol Air

Bonus Disc:
More Rags, Ballads, And Blues 1971-1984
All Recordings Previously Unissued
1. Nurses Song
2. Spring (Merrily Welcome)
3. September On Jessore Road
4. Lay Down Yr Mountain
5. Slack Key Guitar
6. Reef Mantra
7. NY Blues
8. Come Along Vietnam (Rehearsal)
9. Airplane Blues (Live At Folk City)
10. Feeding Them Raspberries To Grow (Live At Folk City)
11. Do The Meditation Rock