Ed Sanders provides a glowing example here of what sorts of provocative and insightful creations members of the '60s rock generation might have been able to come up with had they not destroyed their minds partying. A recording such as this could only be created by someone who spent their time reading books instead, and wisely at that. One can't assume that this is what Sanders did, but he certainly creates that impression, and appeals to others of serious intellect. This artist's dedication to the concept of creating epic poems receives one of its best forms of aural documentation here. The entire project is written and performed by Sanders, accompanying himself with some kind of a chord organ called the pulse lyre and singing, sometimes in multi-tracked harmonies that sound like the Eagles. His setting is the lower east side, New York City, circa 1915 through the '30s; his subject matter, interest in details, and delivery assume the presence of a listener with taste and intelligence. A savage sense of wit runs through the entire thing, just as it did in Sanders' work with the Fugs, his classic country album, and all of his writings, including his in-progress telling of the history of the United States in epic poem form. The piece was released as a cassette, its entire 17 minutes repeated on each side. Listeners who want to hear the entire thing twice can thank the producers for this nifty saving of rewind time. Don't laugh, that might be you. The well-printed insert contains all the lyrics, as well as some other relevant information. Those interested in American and Jewish history will find this recording particularly informative, hopefully either enjoying or tolerating the eccentric and droll musical presentation.
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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne