Allen Ginsberg’s First Blues to be reissued as a box set

Seminal album featured sessions with Bob Dylan, Arthur Russell, and more

In 1971, legendary Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan hit the studio to record songs that touched on politics, the war in Vietnam, and human rights. Sessions featured additional contributions from fellow poet Anne Waldman, Jack Kerouac’s musical partner David Amram, and a promising young Arthur Russell. The music which materialized was eventually released in 1983 as part of a collection called First Blues, which also included additional sessions produced by Columbia Records executive John Hammond in 1976.

Now, more than 30 years later, that seminal album is being reissued on May 20th through Omnivore Recordings. As a press release notes, the three-CD package contains the original double LP, 11 previously unissued tracks dating back to Ginsberg sessions from 1971 and 1981, and demos and live audio featuring Dylan and Russell. It serves as the very the first box set of Ginsberg as a singer-songwriter.

Additionally, the re-release comes with a 28-page booklet of rarely seen photos, writings, and illustrations dug up from Ginsberg’s archives. Grammy-winning engineer Michael Graves sat in for mastering and restoration duties.

Below, check out a trailer for the reissue. For more information, including pre-order options, head here.


The Last Word on First Blues Tracklist:

Disc One:
01.Going To San Diego
02.Vomit Express
03.Jimmy Berman (Gay Lib Rag)
04.Ny Youth Call Annunciation
05.Cia Dope Calypso
06.Put Down Yr Cigarette Rag
07.Sickness Blues
08.Broken Bone Blues
09.Stay Away From The White House
10.Hardon Blues
11. Guru Blues

Disc Two:
01. Everybody Sing
02. Gospel Nobel Truths
03. Bus Ride To Suva
04. Prayer Blues
05. Love Forgiven
06. Father Death Blues
07. Dope Fiend Blues
08. Tyger
09. You Are My Dildo
10. Old Pond
11. No Reason
12. My Pretty Rose Tree
13. Capitol Air

Bonus Disc:
More Rags, Ballads, And Blues 1971-1984
All Recordings Previously Unissued
01. Nurses Song
02. Spring (Merrily Welcome)
03. September On Jessore Road
04. Lay Down Yr Mountain
05. Slack Key Guitar
06. Reef Mantra
07. NY Blues
08. Come Along Vietnam (Rehearsal)
09. Airplane Blues (Live At Folk City)
10. Feeding Them Raspberries To Grow (Live At Folk City)
11. Do The Meditation Rock


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