Friday, May 23, 2008

the discarded voice of the poet...


i haven't run much in the way of sound on the blog for a while, but the discovery of this library "discard" a few weeks ago seemed ideal for such a rainy morning. a few months ago i posted a 78 of a reading of a vachel lindsay poem by norman corwin, a radio guy. today's post features a recent find of a 78 of one of lindsay's poems read by the poet himself. lindsay's reading is pretty incredible and it is interesting to compare the connects and disconnects with this and corwin's reading of lindsay's work.

lindsay's voice and performance are grittier, sounding ever more like harry partch. you can even hear him clear his throat once or twice giving one the feeling that the incantation/singing must've taken considerable effort, which brings it down to a very human level.

take a peek at that older post for a picture of lindsay because his voice and inflections so match the photo incredibly. there are many moments in this scratchy beat to hell piece of shellac that his words dissolve into simple voice rhythms that are quite beautiful, and i'd recommend listening to it very soft so it sounds more like mumbling than words; although the words themselves are quite wonderful, and from his epic poem the chinese nightingale.

since we've got an uncharacteristic rain storm going on in pasadena this morning, including some seriously ominous dark clouds, and loud pattering drops, the image of a small chinese nightingale birthed from lindsay's voice makes for quite a morning...

click here to listen

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Blogger DougH said...

Tim Hawkinson has vinyl of Lindsay reading "The Mysterious Cat" and "General William Booth Enters into Heaven" about the founder of the Salvation Army and patron saint of swap meets:

Booth led boldly with his big bass drum —
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
The Saints smiled gravely and they said: "He's come."
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed, rank on rank,
Lurching bravoes from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale —
Minds still passion-ridden, soul-powers frail: —
Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death —
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)

I did a recording of that myself when I was teenager, long lost thank god.

1:10 PM  

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