CD Review – William Burroughs “Call Me Burroughs”
Most well known for his book and the film: “Naked Lunch”, William Burroughs is probably the most entertaining writers/poets for an audio reading out of the entire “Beat Poet” group. You cannot escape the droll monotone sound of his voice which makes each poem endlessly fun in a very bizzare way.
This audio recording was made in 1965, and in my opinion it is not only timeless but also ahead of it’s time. Note the way that Burroughs reads his work not unlike a computer if they had a voice. He’s obviously mocking the machine age and maybe even technology before it was even on the scene. How many people had a PC in 1965? Not even Bill Gates can lay claim to that.
In Burrough’s long writing career, he wrote a number of books of fiction and poetry encouraged by Jack Kerouac who was the one that actually named “Naked Lunch.” Burroughs, Ginsberg and the great Jack kerouac were all friends back in the hey day of “Beat Poetry”, in the 1950’s and up until Kerouac’s death from alchoholism in the late 1960’s. Both Burroughs and Ginsberg would live on to be interviewed in video documentaries about “The Beats” and Jack Kerouac as an individual. Jack Kerouac was obviously the most famous of these three writers/poets. But perhaps it was Burroughs who was the most outrageous.
Film Director, Gus Van Sant, used Burroughs as Tom The Preacher, (a junkie), in his acclaimed early film, “Drugstore Cowboy”, filmed here in Portland, Oregon. Burroughs did not dissapoint pretty much playing himself in the film perhaps minus the writer’s persona.
The CD is on the Rhino Word Beat label which should be fairly easy to find through your local library system or if you have one…your local record store. There are 8 cuts Burroughs reads here. It’s a great change up from music and is kind of calming in a strange way. Give it a spin if you can get your hands on it. (Perhaps it’s also available on line as well)?
Was he man…or machine? You be the judge after hearing his voice reading this self penned poetry. I liked it.