Gregory Corso

Die on Me

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The headmasters of the beat movement were unarguably Burroughs, Kerouac, and Ginsberg, but another underappreciated poet from their ranks, as well as a close friend of the latter, was the indomitable Gregory Corso. The recordings on this disc were culled from Corso's final days, along with a nice spattering of archival material, and they present a fitting if sometimes patronizing view of the man's impressive work. Corso's approach to writing is undeniably in the Ginsberg tradition, but his thick New York accent and uncharacteristic voice lend something more to the work, and the emotion in his reading -- mixed with minimal jazzy backgrounds -- comes across brilliantly on this disc. It's a troubling journey, as the recordings span from 1959 to 2001 (just weeks before the author's death), and his fading health is evidenced in a decrepit voice on the final selections. Still, the spirit is there, and the same energy exuded on 1959's "Bomb" is evident on 2001's "A Bed's Lament." Corso's close friend Marianne Faithfull steps in to read a few selections as the author speaks his approval in the background, and some candid recordings of his views of the future or loose conversations with Ginsberg lend a free-flowing spirit to the entire affair. Die on Me: The Final Recordings is a sincere and emotional requiem for Corso, and with his own words and voice, he's left a document that will help many to realize the literary talent he was.

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