Wednesday, March 19, 2008

William S. Burroughs: Uncommon Quotes

William S. Burrough: Uncommon Quotes

As deeply as William Burroughs' words lacerated my consciousness from exposure on the printed page, it wasn't until I finally heard him read that the tumblers all fell into place for me. The implacable rhythms, the dry-as-parchment humor, the impeccable timing, the flat Midwestern drawl as familiar as the lines in my farmer relatives' faces.

Many of Burroughs routines and audio experiments were released over the years on John Giorno's Giorno Poetry Systems label (many of which are now available as free downloads courtesy Ubu.com, or on this boxed set), but this is, as far as I know, the only full-length recording of a complete single reading ever commercially released. (A brief, edited excerpt from this performance appeared on the Giorno compilation Smack My Crack.)

The performance was dedicated to the recently-deceased Brion Gysin, a frequent collaborator of Burroughs', and the occasion finds ol' Bull Lee at his most mordant, insightful and heartfelt, his routines burnished like a well-worn cane.

This reading, nearly an hour in length, was recorded September 11, 1986 at Fort Worth, Texas' now-defunct Caravan of Dreams, a one-time haven for experimental music and performance that had hosted numerous events featuring Burroughs, Gysin, and Ornette Coleman, and originally released this recording on its own label.

Many of Burroughs' recordings have been reissued over the years, but this one has been out of print for decades. If there's a demand I might make other rare recordings available, such as the abridged books-on-tape recording of Naked Lunch; leave a comment if you want to see it here.

Download Uncommon Quotes here; scans of accompanying booklet (with essay by Robert Palmer) here.

6 comments:

Walter Brennan said...

Oh yes, never enough of WSB. He saved me from sanity.

Anonymous said...

Please do upload those rarities. It would be most appreciated. An old friend of mine once worked as an archivist for WSB. No rarities at this end though...

J. Sterling Ellison said...

Thanks for this recording and YES! Please! More WSB! Kudos and a high-five if you post more!

QEF said...

many thanks for enabling me to drag my creaky old cassette version into the 21st century. May i leave an uncommon quote from uncle bill in honour of my old friend Mr Smudge who died in my arms this week:

"we are the cats inside. We are the cats who cannot walk alone, and for us there is only one place."

Anonymous said...

More would be great. Thanks for making this available.

Glen20 said...

Mucho thanks