Music of The Beats & Opinions on Jay-Z

Jim and Greg talk about the intersection of rock and Beat poetry with Beat scholar Simon Warner.

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Greg spoke to Lauryn Hill in 1999, a year after the release of her Grammy-winning solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. If you had told him then that 14 years later she‘d be in prison, he would’ve gasped. But the former Fugees singer began serving a three-month prison sentence on Monday for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes over the past decade. Here a Danbury inmate offers her some advice.


Music of the Beat Generation

If you read On the Road in high school, you know a thing or two about the Beat movement's influence on literature. This week, Text and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll author Simon Warner wants to get you thinking about the Beat influence on rock. Forget the stereotypical bongos; Warner says Beat fathers like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac were most inspired by Harlem's avant-garde jazz invention, Bebop. Warner makes the case that the Beats influenced a whole generation of rock lyricists - Bob Dylan and John Lennon among them - to embrace a more surrealist, personal, and politically engaged approach to lyric-writing. Think of "Subterranean Homesick Blues," he says, as Beat poetry with a, well, beat. But while Ginsberg and Kerouac struck a chord with the hippie generation, it was Beat colleague William S. Burroughs who served as guru to the later musical avant-garde. 1970's punks Jim Carroll and Patti Smith, and alternative era stars like Kurt Cobain and Sonic Youth, all made pilgrimages to Burroughs' NYC bunker-apartment to pay their respects to“Old Bull Lee.”Burroughs'“cut up”writing technique may still inspire wordsmiths from Bowie to Thom Yorke, but Jim thinks it's Kerouac whose legacy may ultimately be the most lasting. It's that writer's spirit of adventure, Jim says, that continues to motivate every indie band still "on the road."

reviewMagna Carta... Holy GrailMagna Carta Holy Grail available on iTunes

Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail

Jay-Z was the first to point out that he's not just a businessman, but a“business, man.”He's sold 50 million records in the past two decades and is valued at almost half a billion dollars. And with this latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, he sold a million albums to Samsung before the actual release date. So you cannot argue with Jay's success. But, what about the music? Jim hears a lot of complaining and a lot of bragging. The only reason for his Burn It rating is the terrific sounding production from people like Timbaland and Swizz Beats. Greg thinks Hova is just coasting on this record. There's no emotional depth and no reason you shouldn't Trash It.



“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”Paul and Linda McCartney

Jim's been thinking about "Summer Songs" this season and remembers being 7-years old on the New Jersey boardwalk and hearing "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," by Paul and Linda McCartney. The Ram track is“cheesy,”to be sure, but man did McCartney have a way with hooks. Jim has no idea what the lyrics mean-are they about drugs? WWII?-but the song deserves a place in the Desert Island Jukebox.

Featured Songs

  1. Goose Island Credit Music: Pure Sunray,“Caramel,”Pure Sunray, 2013
  2. The Fugees, Ready or Not, The Score, Ruffhouse, 1996
  3. King Crimson, Neal and Jack and Me, Beat, Warner Bros/E.G/Virgin, 1982
  4. Dizzy Gillespie, Salt Peanuts, Single, Guild Records, 1945
  5. Jack Kerouac, The San Francisco Scene, Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation, Verve Records, 1960
  6. Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited, Highway 61 Revisited, Columbia, 1965
  7. The Beatles, I'm Happy Just to Dance with You, A Hard Day's Night, Capitol, 1964
  8. Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bring It All Back Home, Columbia, 1965
  9. The Beatles, Think for Yourself, Rubber Soul, Parlophone, 1965
  10. The Beatles, In My Life, Rubber Soul, Parlophone, 1965
  11. The Fugs, I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation Rot, The Fugs First Album, Folkways Records, 1965
  12. The Fugs, Group Grope, The Fugs Second Album, Atlantic, 1967
  13. Patti Smith, Ballad of a Bad Boy, Live Performance, N/A, 1971
  14. Jim Carroll, Wicked Gravity, Catholic Boy, Atco, 1980
  15. William S. Burroughs and Kurt Cobain, Quiet Waters, The "Priest They Called Him, " Tim/Kerr, 1993
  16. Radiohead, Idiotique, Kid A, Parlophone/Capitol, 2000
  17. Laurie Anderson, Sharkey's Night, Mister Heartbreak, Warner Bros, 1984
  18. Amiri Baraka, Dope, Live Performance, N/A, N/A, 1978
  19. Gil Scott Heron, Comment #1, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, Flying Dutchman/RCA, 1970
  20. Kanye West, Who Will Survive in America, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam, 2010
  21. Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar, California Zephyr, One Fast Move and I'm Gone, Atlantic, 2009
  22. Patti Smith, Gloria, Horses, Arista Records, 1975
  23. Jay-Z, Tom Ford, Magna Carta… Holy Grail, Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/Universal, 2013
  24. Jay-Z ft. Frank Ocean, Oceans, Magna Carta… Holy Grail, Roc-A-Fella/Roc Nation/Universal, 2013
  25. Paul and Linda McCartney, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, Ram, Apple, 1971
  26. The Black Angels, Telephone, Single, Blue Horizon, 2010
  27. Moderatto, Gracias, Carisma, EMI, 2012
  28. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert, Same Love, The Heist, Macklemore LLC, 2012
  29. Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros, Johnny Appleseed, Global Agogo, Hellcat/Epitaph, 2001
  30. Art of Noise, Legs, In Invisible Silence, China/Chrysalis, 1986

Footnotes Greg talks to Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill's Tumblr Hill starts prison sentence Jail advice Text and Drugs and Rock n Roll Simon Warner's author site Allen Ginsberg Jack Kerouac Charlie Parker,“Bebop”“Subterranean Homesick Blues” Burroughs technique Jay-Z's site Magna Carta Holy Grail Jay-Z's app Greg's Jay-Z Review More Summer Songs“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”“Uncle Albert”lyrics