Q - 3/914 Stars
- Excellent - "..Spoken word albums by celebrated writers are, without exception, a pain in the Bohemia...except this one... akin to having a prefrontal lobotomy without anaesthetic...a spoken word album to justify the existence of all the others."
Personnel: William S. Burroughs (spoken vocals); Frank Simms, Dennis Martin, Leslie Miller, Arlene Martel (vocals); Maxine Neumann (cello); Lenny Pickett (clarinet, woodwinds); Tom Varner (French horn); Cheryl Hardwick (piano); Bobby Previte (drums); John Cale, Donald Fagen, Chris Stein, Friedrich Hollander.
Sonic Youth: Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Rinaldo, Steve Shelly.
Principally recorded at Hairball 3, Lawrence, Kansas.
Personnel: William S. Burroughs (vocals); Frank Simms, Dennis Martin, Leslie Miller (vocals); Maxine Neuman (cello); Lenny Pickett (clarinet, woodwinds); Tom Varner (French horn); Cheryl Hardwick (piano, organ); Bobby Previte (percussion); Andrew Green (keyboard programming).
Audio Mixers: Joe Ferla; Chris Laidlaw.
Liner Note Author: Hal Willner.
Recording information: Acoustilog; Bearsville Studios, New York, NY; Hairball 3; Lawrence, KS; Quadrosonic Studios, NY; Sigma Sound Studios, NY; Sorcerer Sound, NY.
Editors: Hal Willner; Nelson Lyon.
Photographers: Adrian Boot; Nelson Lyon.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Kim Gordon; Lee Ranaldo; Allen Ginsberg; Thurston Moore.
Arranger: Lenny Pickett .
In 1988, genius producer Hal Willner (best known, perhaps ironically, for his Disney tribute album STAY AWAKE) traveled to Lawrence, Kansas and taped NAKED LUNCH author and Beat Generation legend William Burroughs performing excerpts from his work. He then enlisted the likes of Donald Fagen and Sonic Youth to create accompanying musical collages. To this end he also unearthed Aaron Copland-esque music recorded in the late '40s and '50s for various radio shows by Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra.
The more contemporary backing material is fine, and Burroughs' dry as dust readings sound particularly unsettling when backed by symphonic Americana. Be warned, however, that the album ends with the author cackling his way through a sepulchral German version of Marlene Dietrich's "Falling in Love Again;" it's as creepy a performance as you're likely to hear in a lifetime.