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Jack Kerouac - 100 Years Of Beatitude

Review by Gary Hill

I was born a little too late for the whole Beat Generation thing. This album, released on the 100th anniversary of Jack Kerouac's birthday both celebrates the era and helps to document it. We get spoken pieces by Kerouac, Shel Silverstein, Allen Ginsberg and more along with musical pieces that run the gamut from jazz to rock and roll. There is even a fairly long interview with Kerouac..It's all assembled on two CDs and packaged into a digipack with an extensive and informative booklet. It should be noted that some of this would not be considered culturally appropriate today, but it was a product of its time. It's also worth mentioning that not all the music celebrates the Beats. Some of it seems to criticize and satirize the movement.

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Track by Track Review
CD 1
Don Morrow - Kerouazy       

This is built on a smoking hot jazz arrangement. The band grooves and swings with so much style.

Jack Kerouac - San Francisco Scene (The Beat Generation)
Here we have Kerouac talking, with his stream-of-consciousness way of describing a jazz club happening.
Bob McFadden & Dor - The Beat Generation
There is a bit of a bluesy vibe to this number. I'm not completely enthused about the vocal arrangement of this, but the track really swings nicely. The guitar fills are so cool. The horn soloing later is so classy, too.
Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars - The Beat Generation
As far as I'm concerned, you can never go wrong with Louis Armstrong. This song is critical of the beat generation, but then again, so was the last one as a parody. Everything about the cool bluesy groove works so well.
Chet Baker Quintet - A Night On Bop Mountain
I love the open, airy feeling of this tune. The number has some great energy and really swings. This is one of my favorites here, really.
Oscar Brown, Jr. - But I Was Cool
There is a great playful weirdness to this swinging little tune. The sense of humor to it is great, too.
Jack Kerouac & Steve Allen - Readings From 'On The Road' and 'Visions Of Cody' (T. V. Broadcast)
This time we get some smoking hot piano and sparse drumming low in the background of the reading.
Paul Gayten - Beatnik Beat
There is a definite rock and roll groove to this cut. It's a fun romp with some intriguing, if unusual, piano built into it. The horn soloing on this instrumental is purely on fire.
Perry Como - Like Young
I've never really liked Perry Como. He's too vanilla for my tastes. The band is on fire here, though. The backing vocals are a negative for me, too. The bluesy instrumental jam really does work. I'd like to hear a 'sans vocals" mix of it.
Edd Byrnes & Friend (Joanie Sommers) - Like I Love You
This is so fun with wailing jazz serving as the background for a phone call between two people. The man is dishing out the beat poetry, while the woman is trying to understand him. 
John Drew Barrymoore - Christopher Columbus Digs The Jive
This is a spoken piece that has a lot of humor to it. It doesn't hold up all that well in terms of chosen terms in today's environment.
Kenny Clarke & His 52nd Street Boys - Oop-Bop Sh-Bam
This is a driving jazz tune that really swings and grooves. .
Ken Nordine - Reaching Into In
Here we have a spoken piece with some cool jazz in the background. It seems to end only for a child to say the title.
Slim Gaillard & His Middle Europeans - Yip Roc Heresy
I'm not sure what language this number is in. It's classy swinging groove.  The guitar solo is pure class.
Johnny Beeman - Laffin' Beatnik
As you might guess, this song has a lot of crazed laughter. There's a bouncy sort of musical backdrop for it. There is also an occasional spoken voice. This is another with a tasty guitar solo. This has a real rock and roll vibe to it.
Dizzy Gillespie & His Orchestra - Oop-Pop-A-Da    
Dizzy Gillespie is another of the greats represented here. I think the lyrics to this are nothing but nonsense, but the tune has a great energy and vibe to it. This gets screaming hot further down the road.
Bing Day - Mama's Place
A slow moving groove, this has a classy mellow jazz sound to it. The music is drums, flute and bass. The vocals are nearly spoken.
Mamie Van Doren - The Beat Generation
Here we get a rock and roller. This is the same song we heard from Louis Armstrong earlier, but it's a complete different way of doing it.
Paul Evans - Beat Generation
More of a rock and roll tune, this is fun stuff. I love the saxophone solo, and this has a more positive attitude toward the Beats.
Louis Nye - Teenage Beatnik
I really love the bouncy rock and roll energy to this. The tune seems to be making fun of the Beats.
The Bee Hives - Beatnik Baby
This is more of a doo wop tune. The echoey vocals work well, and the saxophone solo is so cool. This feels a bit like a novelty song, but it's a lot of fun.
Barbara Evans - Beatnik Daddy
This has some smoking hot jazz built into it. Yet, it's also rock and roll. The vocals are fun, and the whole tune just swings.
Jimmy Van Eaton - Beat-Nik
I love the bass on this along with the whole tasty surf rockish vibe. This instrumental is one of my favorite tunes here.
Carl Sandburg - On Beatniks (T. V. Broadcast)
This is just a short bit about Carl Sandburg discussing the beatnik movement, but you can probably figure that out.
Charlie Parker Quartet - Cosmic Rays
Charlie Parker is another giant featured here. This killer jazz instrumental piece really shows you why he's so well regarded. It's just about perfection.  
Charlie Ventura & His Orchestra - Ha      
This is a fun romp with some scat vocals.
Patsy Raye & The Beatniks - Beatnik's Wish
A wailing horn brings this thing in with style. This is largely a percussive tune with mostly spoken female vocals.
Three Bips & A Bop feat. Babs Gonzales - Professor Bop
Here we are treated to a bouncy jazz groove that's a lot of fun. The instrumental section later just oozes cool.
Babs Gonzales - Manhattan Fable
This is a spoken story with organ as the backdrop.
Ken Nordine & The Fred Katz Group - Hunger Is From
Spoken words with music in the background, this literally does include a lot of eating with the speaker really savoring the food.
CD 2
Big Jay McNeely - Real Crazy Cool

Big Jay McNeely's wailing, honking saxophone is all over this thing in noisy, screaming ways.      This a bit horn heavy and chaotic.

The John Barry Seven - Beat Girl Main Title
Surf guitar is merged with killer horns on this driving instrumental number. There is a lot of drama and styled packed into this thing.  
The John Barry Seven - Beat For Beatniks
Dramatic and powerful, this is a driving cut that really works.
Adam Faith & The John Barry Seven - The Beat Girl Song
Guitar rock is on the menu here. It has a definite surf guitar vibe to it, but this is a vocal tune. It's another entertaining one.       
Edd Byrnes - Kookie's Mad Pad     
This cut is playful and fun with mostly spoken vocals delivered intermittently. The number has a bit of a soundtrack meets rock and jazz feeling to it.
Huey 'Piano' Smith & His Clowns - Beatnik Blues 
Drums lead things out here. The cut works out from there to a bouncing rock and roller that's entertaining.
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Twisted
The vocals on this are somewhere between spoken and sung. The music a grooving jazz romp.
Jack Kerouac & Steve Allen (Piano) - October In The Railroad Earth    
Kerouac speaks over some piano, but you probably know that from the title. This is another that doesn't stand up well in some ways to the mindset of today.
King Pleasure - Parker's Mood
This is a jazz vocal number with a lot of blues in the mix. While I like this well enough, it's not as strong as some of the other stuff here.            
The Champs - Beatnik
Now this killer rock and roll goes jazz groove is one of the highlights of the set. It's so cool.
Bobby Summers - Pad
I love the mix of rock music with jazz on this tune. This just oozes class and charm.
Don Morrow - Like Rumpelstiltskin
This starts with a dropped back jazz groove that serves as the backdrop for a spoken section. The cut fires out into a killer jazz when the voice drops away. It drops back to the mellower modes for more recitation. The cut get into some skit type stuff, and at times the music drops away completely. At other points the music gets more driving. This interpretation of the classic story if fun, but it seems to go on too long for my tastes.
Joe Hall & The Corvettes - Bongo Beating Beatnik
There is a real rockabilly groove with some jazzy added to the mix on this. The bongos and horn are both out front on the arrangement.
Philippa Fallon - High School Drag
A jazz romp opens this. Then it drops away for a spoken part. As this continues they alternate Dixieland styled jazz sections with spoken unaccompanied ones.
The Royal Jokers - Beatnik             
Here we get a mid-tempo, playful rock and roll guitar instrumental. This has some surf sound in the mix, but it's more old school rock and roll, really.
The Untouchables - Benny The Beatnik
Bouncy and a little silly, this has an old school rock and roll groove.
The Beats - Beatnik Bounce -part II
With a prominent organ, this old school rock and roller is so much fun. It's an instrumental with some partying voices heard. It features a tasty saxophone solo, too.
Ben Hecht - Interview with Jack Kerouac (T. V. Broadcast)       
This is what it says it is, and interview Kerouac. It seems to me that the interviewer doesn't really "get " Kerouac. This cut is over 15-minutes long.  This definitely gets into some questionable territory in terms of racial stuff.    
Shel Silverstein - Have Another Espresso
Yep, it's that Shel Silverstein. He delivers his words over the top of an upright bass groove.
Lenny Bruce - Psychopathia Sexualis
Freaky jazz jamming is the backdrop for a reading from none other than Lenny Bruce.     
Rune Overman - Beatnik Walk    
This rocker is a lot of fun. It's an instrumental track with a real Booker T. and the MGs vibe to it.
Allen Ginsberg - America
Here we get another Allen Ginsburg spoken piece. This earns a parental advisory. Some of this uses some terms that would be looked at a lot differently these days, and for good reason.
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