(Jun 3, 1926-Apr 5, 1997)

Allen Ginsberg, 1979 (Jacques van Son)


July, 1973, London
reprinted in Klaus Humann & Carl-Ludwig Reichert, Rock Session 3, Hamburg, 1979,
p. 142.

Now that it's dust and ashes
now that it's human skin
Here's to you Bob Dylan
a poem for the laurels you win

Sincerest form of flattery
is imitation they say
I've broke my long line down
to write a song your way

Those "chains of flashing images"
that came to you at night
were highest farm boy's day dreams
that glimpse the Angels light.

And tho the dross of wisdom's come
and left you lone on earth
remember when the Angels call
your soul for a new birth

It wasn't dope that gave you truth
nor money that you stole
-- was God himself that entered in
shining your heavenly soul.


January 1972
reprinted in Klaus Humann & Carl-Ludwig Reichert, Rock Session 3, Hamburg, 1979,
pp. 137-138.

Sitting inna basement
Macdougal Street guitar factory
Sitting in Feenjon's Greenwich Village
Banjo University
Every boy here's a genius
plays the guitar except me

Fourty five years I wanted to be
minstrel man
Dictated epics in books inside a
Volkswagon van.
Grey hair on my head I'm
singing the best that I can

O Mr Garbageman don't take me away
No not yet
O Mr Garbageman don't dump truck me
like an old cigarette
Not till I pick out a
Song that you'll never forget

I tried singing Mantras I
tried singing out William Blake
Tried Mantra chanting Ah
tried tuning up old holy Blake
Now I'll sing Him the blues if Good
God gives me a break

Back in the basement, Guitars
ringing all around
Screaming in a basement
Guitars ring me all around
I can only play three chords I can
still sing my way underground

Listen here Children I'm an
old creep full of desire
I got a big mouth It's
because my heart is on fire
If I can get hot you could
sing like an Angel Choir


Discographical information from Michael Krogsgaard, Master of the Tracks, Copenhagen, 1988.

ALLEN GINSBERG & FRIENDS, PBS-TV, New York, NY, late Oct 1971

Allen Ginsberg, vocal, harmonium and organ; Peter Orlovsky, vocal; David Amram, french horn, flute; Gregory Corso, vocal; Happy Traum, banjo, guitar; Bob Dylan, guitar; and others

RECORD PLANT, New York, NY, 17/20 Nov 1971

Allen Ginsberg, vocal, harmonium and organ; Peter Orlovsky, vocal; David Amram, flute and cellos; Happy Traum, mandolin; Artie Traum, guitar; Bob Dylan, guitar, piano & organ; Jon Sholle, guitar

Before my visit to India in '61 I had never sung my poetry.... Later in '68 I started taping 'Grey Monk.' I did this with a tape recorder which Dylan had given me in 1965.... My teacher Chögyam Trungpa has taught me to improvise on the spot. Why should I first write my poems on a piece of paper? I accepted this challenge. Very soon after that I started making musical improvisations during my poetry lectures.

Coincidentally it happened that Peter [Orlovsky] and I did a lecture in New York City and that Dylan was among the audience. After the performance he called me and asked me if I could write any more of those kind of songs. He came to my 12th Street apartment and taught me some blues chords. We made an appointment for the Record Plant studios in New York City. I, Dylan, Happy Traum, Jon Sholle, David Amram and some other people. Also George Harrison was on the spot....

Two days later we rented the same studio again and recorded a very long poem which I had written inbetween sessions and which I had dedicated to Dylan. The poem described my feelings about the Bangla Desh refugee problem: "September on Jessore Road."

Jacques van Son Interview, Boulder, CO, 20 Jun 1979, reprinted in Dylan 10, Spring 1981


Leonard Cohen, guitar, vocal; Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg & Bill Diez, back-up vocals; and others...


Allen Ginsberg, vocal, harmonium; Peter Orlovsky, vocal; David Mansfield, piano, guitar; Steven Taylor, guitar, organ; Bob Dylan, bass; Jim Keltner, drums


Thu, 10 Apr 1997 19:35:59 GMT
From: maximum impact
Subject: Ginsberg on Dylan 1976 Interview Online

As a small tribute to the memory of Allen Ginsberg, who I was privileged to know for 25 years, I have placed my feature length 1976 interview with him on the Web...

The interview was originally published as a cover story in New Age Journal (April 1976) and has long been out of print. I worked closely with Allen on the interview including in its editing, and he said he was pleased with how it turned out. Among other places, Robert Shelton's 1986 biography of Dylan, No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan, references it.

The interview covers Allen's participation in the 1975 Rolling Thunder tour organized by Dylan (Allen talks a lot about Dylan's creative process); Allen's emerging career as a blues musician; his practice of Tibetan Buddhism; new thinking about the politics of the 1960s and '70s; and the future of America.

The interview was recorded in February 1976 during a drive from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, MD, and in Allen's apartment in New York City as well as on the streets and subways of New York. Allen was 49, about to turn 50, at the time.
Anyone interested in Allen's life and work during this interesting, highly productive mid-life period, in the cultural/political/spiritual milieu of the mid-1970s, and in Allen's relationship with and influence on Dylan (and vice versa) is invited to read the interview.

peter barry chowka pbc@usa.net

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