Various Artists

The Beat Generation Boxed

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Not many literary scenes become a legitimate cultural movement, but in the '50s, that was certainly the case with the Beats, a handful of poets and novelists whose rebellious style spoke strongly to a previously buried desire to throw off the shackles of middle-class convention. The key members of the Beat movement -- Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg -- became celebrities well known outside of literary circles, and their influence was massive, reflected in music and popular culture as well as the best-seller lists. Beat literature was recognized as a performance medium as well as a product of the printed page, and The Beat Generation Boxed includes all three albums Kerouac recorded during his lifetime (1959's Poetry for the Beat Generation, 1959's Blues and Haikus, and 1960's Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation) carried on two discs, in which the author recites his work with vibrancy and passion in his slightly nasal accent. In addition to Kerouac's recorded work, this set includes two discs devoted to music that either influenced the Beats (sides by Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Slim Gaillard) or was influenced by them (from Annie Ross' vocal jazz feature "Twisted" to Bob McFadden's novelty hit "The Beat Generation"), as well as a few comedy bits from hip humorists such as Lenny Bruce and Del Close. The set closes out with a fifth disc featuring an audio history of the Beats, including profiles of Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg. The Beat Generation Boxed offers a wealth of material on a crucially important cultural movement, and folks interested in the prime movers behind Beat culture will find this a rewarding listen.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:46
2 3:02
3 2:13
4 3:09
5 9:18
6 3:21
7 3:18
8 2:06
9 2:49
10 4:05
11 2:59
12 1:50
13 2:44
14 2:41
15 0:57
16 2:37
17 2:21
18 2:31
19 2:40
20 1:58
21 3:04
22 3:10
23 2:56
24 2:11
25 3:12
26 3:54
blue highlight denotes track pick