Ok . MORE Arthur Russell (But This Is Great)

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Yeah, the only Arthur Russell stuff I've really spent some time with is the First Thought Best Thought and the 'Tower of Meaning' commandeering disc two of the set made it so disc two rarely gets played in my house.

Austin, Wednesday, 20 July 2016 23:50 (two years ago) Permalink

tower of meaning feels static and monolithic, but there are some beautiful and v characteristic moments, whiffs of his phrasing, you can imagine him singing it. even in the slower bits some of the changes/intervals/shifts in harmony are gorgeous, the moments are sudden and transitory but sometimes very affecting

I'm v glad he discovered disco and much nimbler phrasing and rhythm but it's really interesting to hear how distinctively arthur russellish something so different like this can sound

ogmor, Friday, 22 July 2016 17:00 (two years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

BBC radio documentary: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07wbtsz

ǂbait (seandalai), Tuesday, 27 September 2016 16:43 (two years ago) Permalink

The doc has its own musical qualities, with no lack of astute clarity. Very refreshing, thanks!

dow, Tuesday, 27 September 2016 20:22 (two years ago) Permalink

i enjoyed that doc. it's always fun to see what will be the first piece or arthur music played in a piece like that given that he has no signature music whatsoever and it felt like an introductory piece. what first impression do you make for him?

in twelve parts (lamonti), Thursday, 29 September 2016 08:25 (two years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Do What I Want: Selections from the Arthur Russell Papers Mar 1—May 14, 2017

Peruse Russell’s notes and scores, listen to never-before-heard tapes, and delve deep into the electronic music pioneer’s creative process. These materials are on display for the first time to the public through the generosity of Tom Lee (Russell’s partner).


Position Position, Friday, 24 February 2017 02:51 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Sasha F-J on Arthur, incl. current events:

dow, Friday, 21 April 2017 18:04 (one year ago) Permalink

If anyone has Amazon Prime, the Arthur Russell documentary (which is lovely) can be streamed there for free:



Soundslike, Friday, 21 April 2017 22:25 (one year ago) Permalink

ty for this, dow
had no idea until an offhand mention at the bam thing last night that the recent audika thing wasn't just a reissue of the first thought last thought recordings
& had no idea until this piece that it's bob babbitt on bass on kiss me again !

schlump, Monday, 24 April 2017 02:57 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm fairly sure that the Instrumentals reissue is the same as First Thought Best Thought but without Tower of Meaning included. It's a mixed bag for sure. Instrumentals vol 1 is some of his best work - upbeat and summery but not disco, a bit like In The Light Of The Miracle. The rest of it is minimalist modern classical in the same style as Tower Of Meaning

paolo, Monday, 24 April 2017 09:45 (one year ago) Permalink

I gather from reading the Pitchfork review of the latest release of Instrumentals that Audika remastered the tapes for Instrumentals again, but that it is the same collection of recordings (less Tower of Meaning, released separately).

in twelve parts (lamonti), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 08:15 (one year ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

that Instrumentals release is so very good when you fancy a bit of winsome chamber Americana without the horrible reedy vox that usually blight most of this type gear for me. Probably selling it short here like, cos it is really excellent.

calzino, Thursday, 11 May 2017 00:00 (one year ago) Permalink

there's an arthur russell tribute show here in pdx on the 21st. i should probably check it out!

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Thursday, 11 May 2017 00:24 (one year ago) Permalink

o man that sounds awesome, that's Sunday huh? I should come up.

I once saw Rebecca Gates (Spinanes) cover "A Little Lost", my heart nearly stopped

HONOR THE FYRE (sleeve), Thursday, 11 May 2017 00:29 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah it's at the, uh, holocene. i'm new in town so i don't really know anything else about it, but, you know, arthur russell.

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Thursday, 11 May 2017 00:35 (one year ago) Permalink

DJ Set by Steve Knutson (Audika Records)


HONOR THE FYRE (sleeve), Thursday, 11 May 2017 00:36 (one year ago) Permalink

Forthcoming expanded reissue of an excellent Allen Ginsberg album, one of the relatively few saving graces of mostly hideous 1970, incl. a bunch of tracks with Arthur, some of which (really good 'uns) were in the AG box Holy Soul Jelly Roll, but pretty sure that's OOP, and this has more:


Two-disc package, out June 23, marks first CD reissue of legendary album.
Booklet includes unseen photos, new interviews with the original session musicians
by set producer Pat Thomas

I once saw Ginsberg do a gig at the Troubadour in L.A. He was doing Blake stuff.
I thought, “This all connects.” —Van Morrison

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Allen Ginsberg’s original 1970 MGM album Songs of Innocence and Experience, in which he sang the poetry of the English Romantic William Blake, will be released on CD and Digital for the first time, complemented by a second disc of rarities and previously unissued songs. The Omnivore Recordings expanded reissue will hit the streets on June 23, 2017.

Lester Bangs, writing in Rolling Stone magazine, said the album was “like a labor of love, a salute from a young visionary to an ancient sage.”

Complied by producer Pat Thomas (who also worked on the 2016 Ginsberg reissue The Last Word on First Blues, the forthcoming double CD package includes a new essay by Thomas, who tracked down several of the original musicians (never before interviewed) for this project, uncovering rare session photos as well.

Allen Ginsberg began “tuning” Blake’s poetry in 1968 (inspired by attending the tumultuous protests at that year’s Democratic Convention in Chicago), but the origin of the album dates back to a 1948 vision, or “auditory illumination” as Ginsberg called it, of Blake reciting poetry to him in his Spanish Harlem apartment. Moved by this, Ginsberg began to set Blake’s poetry to music. In 1969, he began recording the results with Peter Orlovsky and jazz legends Bob Dorough, Don Cherry, and Elvin Jones. Nineteen of those songs were released the following year as Songs of Innocence and Experience. In addition to the original LP, Omnivore’s set adds two previously unissued tracks: an alternate take and a song intended for the record but left off due to time constraints.

But that is not where the story ends. In 1971, Ginsberg returned to Blake, recording 11 songs in San Francisco with avant-garde cellist Arthur Russell — four of which were never issued. The ensemble also recorded three Tibetan mantras with a Buddhist choir, resulting in a full-on psychedelic East-West experience — also all previously unissued. This material comprises a second CD, truly making this Complete. With restoration and mastering from Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, the tracks sound timeless.

Blake’s writings from the late 18th century and Ginsberg’s interpretations from the 20th come full circle in the 21st century’s The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience.

Track listing:
1. (a) Introduction (b) The Shepherd
2. The Ecchoing Green
3. The Lamb
4. The Little Black Boy
5. The Blossom
6. The Chimney Sweeper
7. (a) The Little Boy Lost (b) The Little Boy Found
8. Laughing Song
9. Holy Thursday
10. Night

11. Introduction
12. Nurses Song
13. The Sick Rose
14. Ah! Sun-Flower
15. The Garden Of Love
16. London
17. The Human Abstract
18. To Tirzah
19. The Grey Monk

20. The Grey Monk (Alternate Take)*
21. Brothels Of Paris*

1. A Cradle Song
2. The Divine Image*
3. Spring*
4. Nurses Song*
5. Infant Joy
6. A Dream
7. On Another Sorrow
8. Holy Thursday*
9. The Fly
10. The School Boy
11. The Voice Of The Ancient Bard

12. Padmasambhava Mantra*
13. Om Namah Shivaye*
14. Roghupati Raghava*

* Previously Unissued
(there's also a trailer for this, but I don't have the link)

dow, Thursday, 11 May 2017 20:43 (one year ago) Permalink

Here's one from the box: AG, AR, Dylan, Amram, Perry Robinson---Arthur plays his cello like a bass:

dow, Thursday, 11 May 2017 20:54 (one year ago) Permalink

Pat Thomas's commentary in booklet for The Complete Songs:
According to Tim Lawrence’s biography of Arthur Russell,
Hold On to Your Dreams, Allen Ginsberg first saw Arthur
playing cello with the Kailas Shugendo Mantric Sun Band in
a San Francisco park in 1971. Ginsberg recalled that Arthur
“was wearing a strange composite Buddhist uniform, semi‑
military, semi‑Mongolian.” The two men quickly bonded over
“music, poetry, and Buddhism,” and they began playing music
together—focusing on Ginsberg’s Blake adaptations. According
to witnesses, the blend of Allen’s harmonium and Arthur’s cello
was delightful, and they worked on Hindu devotional songs
(bhajans) together as well.
Alan Senauke: "Arthur Russell was young, a very good musician
and quiet—nothing assertive about him at all. You’d never imag‑
ine this guy would become a figure in the avant‑garde or punk
scene. There was great depth there that I didn’t get to see. He
was very easy to work with."
Allen asked Arthur to join him at recording sessions during July
and August 1971, in San Francisco at Pacific High Studios.

Thomas also quotes AG producer (also rock writer and Beatles' Zapple label manager) Barry Miles's book In The Seventies for background on Arthur's situation at this point:
Allen . . . wanted to tape more Blake songs as well as some
mantras. For this we needed musicians and Allen made contact
with a Japanese Tantric Buddhist sect, known for their choir and
instrumentalists, who lived in San Francisco in an old house at
2362 Pine. They were called Kailas Shugendo (Yamabushi) and
practiced fire-walking. Their leader was a stocky Mussolini-
jawed Russian who spoke perfect English and claimed to have
been in Tibet, though he was unwilling to tell me exactly where
in Tibet or to name any towns when I asked him. His followers
knew him as Ajari or Vajrabhodi but he went under the name of
Mister Warwick in the outside world (later Dr. Warwick).
Their religious practices included running an ambulance rescue
service that specialized in fire-related incidents like getting people
out of plane crashes and fires, as well as mountain climbing,
playing country and western music and daily fire rituals of sev-
eral kinds . . . I understood that Ajari came on much too strong
for most women, and those that were there were coupled up
with men in the group. Allen asked one of them if they had sex.
She was driving us back to Grant and Columbus at the time.
She turned her head from the road and looked Allen coldly in
the eye and said, “Well it’s Tantric Buddhism so it’s Tantric sex,
you know.” Allen was very intrigued by the whole subject but
her attitude showed she was not interested in saying any more
than that. Allen nodded knowingly, though he didn’t know and
wanted to very much.

Thomas continues:
From this group of reprobates, Arthur Russell emerged. He
joined up with Allen and played on the San Francisco recording
sessions that summer as well as the November 1971 First Blues
sessions in New York, and soon moved there. Flutist Jonathan
Meyer remembers that: “Arthur Russell was involved in a quasi‑
Tibetan Buddhist cult. We called him ‘Jigme,’ which is a Tibetan
name (meaning ‘fearless’). Arthur was a very good cello player.
He eventually dropped out of that cult.”
There’s just over five minutes of the 1971 mantras in the Holy Soul,
Jelly Roll boxed set, but since we’ve sourced the original unedited
master tape for this release, that five‑minute Padmasambhava
mantra titled “Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum”—
which translates as “body speech mind diamond teacher lotus power
amen”—has been expanded into a soul‑searching, mind‑expand‑
ing twelve minutes! (In addition, two more unreleased mantras in
the five‑ to six‑minute range are included on Disc 2.)
Jonathan Meyer: 'I don’t remember what the source was for
the music that Allen was using for these mantras—if he got
them from monks or what—but the whole thing was fun! Allen
definitively had a very nice musical sense. I think Allen just
really wanted to make a record."

dow, Monday, 15 May 2017 19:52 (one year ago) Permalink

Those First Blues tracks with Arthur, mentioned by Thomas above, were incl. in last year's expanded AG reissue, The Last Word On First Blues.

dow, Monday, 15 May 2017 19:56 (one year ago) Permalink

To clarify (and then I'll shut up about this), here's the tracks incl. AR on Ginsberg's Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience (out 6.23.17)
1. A Cradle Song
2. The Divine Image
3. Spring
4. Nurses Song
5. Infant Joy
6. A Dream
7. On Another Sorrow
8. Holy Thursday
9. The Fly
10. The School Boy
11. The Voice Of The Ancient Bard
12. Padmasambhava Mantra
13. Om Namah Shivaye
14. Roghupati Raghava
Tracks 1, 5–7, 9–11 originally issued on
Holy Soul Jelly Roll: Poems And Songs 1949–1993,
Rhino R2 71693 (1994)
Tracks 2–4, 8, 12–14 previously unissued
Arthur Russell: cello
Jon Meyer: flute
Allen Ginsberg: vocals, finger cymbals, harmonium,
Tibetan thighbone trumpet
Peter Hornbeck: violin, viola
Jon Sholle: guitar
Alan Senauke: mandolin
Reverend Adjari & Buddhist Chorus (Tracks 12–14)
Tracks 1–11:
Words by William Blake
Music by Allen Ginsberg
Tuned by Allen Ginsberg in Cherry Valley, N.Y. 1968
Tracks 12–14:
Old Tibetan Mantra(s) of Padmasambhava
Tuned by Allen Ginsberg (presumably in San Francisco 1971)
Produced by Barry Miles
Recorded at Pacific High Studios,
San Francisco, July–August 1971
Master for Disc 2 was taken from a Scotch Tape
box inscribed: “Arthur Russell’s Copy – Allen Ginsberg”

dow, Monday, 15 May 2017 22:18 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

The Necessaries' Event Horizon reissued in September:

Russell's keyboard melody on "Driving And Talking At The Same Time" keeps popping up in my head out of nowhere very regularly, I'll get the reissue just for that song.

willem, Thursday, 27 July 2017 13:32 (one year ago) Permalink

That's great news. Awesome album cover, too.

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 27 July 2017 13:43 (one year ago) Permalink

"More Real" on that is one of my fave Arthur tunes. Absolutely amazing and so shifty.

in twelve parts (lamonti), Friday, 28 July 2017 17:57 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

A lot of unreleased stuff on this weeks RA podcast

Tracklist /
Arthur Russell - Another Thought
Arthur Russell - See Through
Arthur Russell - Unknown/unreleased (from World Of Echo test pressing)
Indian Ocean - Unknown/unreleased
Arthur Russell – Unknown/unreleased (from World Of Echo Test Pressing) (Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun / Let's See??)
Arthur Russell - Hiding Your Present From You
Arthur Russell - This Is How We Walk On The Moon
Jah Wobble / The Edge / Holger Czukay - Hold On To Your Dreams
Lola - Wax The Van
Arthur Russell - I Like You
Indian Ocean - This Is How We Walk On The Moon (Unreleased version from Sleeping Bag Test Pressing TLX-3)
Arthur Russell - Hop On Down
Arthur Russell - You And Me Both
Arthur Russell - Wax The Van (with extra dubbing by Dan Tyler)
Loose Joints? - Let’s Go Play Baseball?? (Unreleased acetate)
Loose Joints - Is It All Over My Face (Female version)
Nicky Siano - Tiger Stripes (Re-Edit)
Loose Joints - Tell You
Arthur Russell - See My Brother, He's Jumping Out (Let’s Go Swimming #2)
Indian Ocean - Schoolbell / Treehouse
Dinosaur - Kiss Me Again (Unreleased Japanese version)
Dinosaur L - Go Bang (Unreleased version from acetate)
Loose Joints - The Only Usefulness (Unreleased acetate)
Arthur Russell - Lucky Cloud
Loose Joints - Pop Your Funk (7-inch version)
The Necessaries - The Finish Line
Indian Ocean - Untitled/unreleased (from Sleeping Bag Test Pressing)
Arthur Russell - A Little Lost


I am using your worlds, Monday, 16 October 2017 11:05 (one year ago) Permalink

Possibly the greatest RA podcast yet.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 16 October 2017 12:19 (one year ago) Permalink


sleeve, Monday, 16 October 2017 14:18 (one year ago) Permalink

These unreleased tracks are SO GOOD

paolo, Tuesday, 24 October 2017 07:51 (one year ago) Permalink

yes they are!

sleeve, Tuesday, 24 October 2017 14:05 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah, pretty cool that there is still stuff this strong in the archives! this one sent me back to a very old beats in space show w/ some other unreleased stuff: http://www.beatsinspace.net/playlists/440

tylerw, Tuesday, 24 October 2017 14:20 (one year ago) Permalink

If anyone wants this to listen to on-the-go I can Dropbox it. They stopped the download facility on it.

Kat Slater Slag meme. (jed_), Thursday, 26 October 2017 22:08 (one year ago) Permalink

i would be into that ...

tylerw, Thursday, 26 October 2017 22:16 (one year ago) Permalink


by the light of the burning Citroën, Thursday, 26 October 2017 22:35 (one year ago) Permalink

I'll upload it overnight and post the link tomorrow.

Kat Slater Slag meme. (jed_), Thursday, 26 October 2017 22:40 (one year ago) Permalink

thanks. I subscribed on iTunes just for this but was too late for the d/l if there ever was one

Jeff W, Thursday, 26 October 2017 22:42 (one year ago) Permalink

There was for a bit.

Kat Slater Slag meme. (jed_), Thursday, 26 October 2017 22:43 (one year ago) Permalink

As far as I can tell they changed it because they didn't want unreleased tracks to be available at a decent quality. I get and don't get the politics of that but I can't imagine it would apply to anyone here, regardless.

Kat Slater Slag meme. (jed_), Thursday, 26 October 2017 22:45 (one year ago) Permalink

thank you thank you. this mix is incredible.

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 26 October 2017 22:59 (one year ago) Permalink

That old Beats In Space show with Ted Knutsen is a gem as well

in twelve parts (lamonti), Friday, 27 October 2017 08:12 (one year ago) Permalink

Steve right?

dan selzer, Friday, 27 October 2017 13:22 (one year ago) Permalink

Steve! Yeah, it is great — that hip hop remix is awesome. Is there any more of that kinda thing floating around?

tylerw, Friday, 27 October 2017 13:59 (one year ago) Permalink

sorry, I forgot to post the link, here it is an an mp3

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Friday, 27 October 2017 20:49 (one year ago) Permalink


Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Friday, 27 October 2017 20:49 (one year ago) Permalink

thank, man!

tylerw, Friday, 27 October 2017 22:24 (one year ago) Permalink

Thanks so much Jed

albvivertine, Friday, 27 October 2017 23:21 (one year ago) Permalink

you're welcome!

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Friday, 27 October 2017 23:39 (one year ago) Permalink

xp doh sorry Steve Knutsen, Audika dude.

in twelve parts (lamonti), Saturday, 28 October 2017 08:20 (one year ago) Permalink

Jed you legend <3

Le Bateau Ivre, Saturday, 28 October 2017 19:37 (one year ago) Permalink

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