Bill Frisell

The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved

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The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved is technically the first piece of gonzo journalism from maverick writer Hunter S. Thompson, whose loose-cannon approach to covering the 1970 Kentucky Derby for Scanlan's Monthly included never actually seeing the race, and instead documented the careening alcohol and drug-fueled world surrounding the event. Reprinted years later in Thompson's The Great Shark Hunt, it is much beloved by Thompson fans. This spoken word presentation of it actually turned out pretty interesting, with Tim Robbins turning in a wonderful reading as Thompson, and Bill Frisell's often eerie musical soundtrack making things into a kind of sound collage that somehow fits Thompson perfectly in tone and spirit. This is an audio book with some serious gonzo kick, which is as it should be.

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