[Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco Civic Center Peace Rally, April 1971 photo c John Bonny]
A major announcement today – the formation of Ginsberg Recordings (a collaborative partnership between The Allen Ginsberg Estate and the Esther Creative Group (the management company of Lou Reed, The Gaslight Anthem and Bryan Ferry, amongst others). Ginsberg Recordings is a project aimed at releasing all of Allen’s work (both previously released and unreleased) under one single umbrella. The goal of this project is to create and distribute (and maintain) a fully comprehensive digital library of the recorded work. Ancillary to this is the intention to, subsequently, eventually, release further re-issues in other formats. As ECG has noted “A significant amount of Ginsberg’s commercially-released material was issued on vinyl, cassette, and CD’s – thus the need to up-date it into the digital world”. Ginsberg Recordings intends “to collect long-lost recordings, scattered around the world on small, defunct, and/or obscure labels (as well as major labels that have simply let the Allen Ginsberg material fall out-of-print)”. It is, itself, (will be) a record-label, and looks, through co-ordination and centralization, to by-pass potential multiple copyright and legal difficulties, as well as make for a “faster turn-around for the release and licensing/publishing of all of Ginsberg’s poetry and music recordings”. The repository of materials (so far un-mined) currently in the archives at Stanford, is, as they point out, “a trove of buried gems” – Ginsberg Recordings intends to (alongside releasing previously-released work) “dig deeper into uncovering completely unreleased material and more personal recordings”.
But first – the initial Ginsberg Recordings release – this will be a re-release of the 1994 four-CD box-set anthology Holy Soul Jelly Roll-Poems And Songs 1949-1993 (compiled by Allen when he was alive, and produced, originally, for the Rhino Word-Beat label, by producer Hal Willner). This new edition, you’ll be pleased to hear, will retain the original liner-notes, introductions and images so cherished in the box-set – but will now be conveniently digital. As Willner himself wrote in those liner notes, “limiting the wealth of material down to four CD’s was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do…this box-set is only the beginning of what should be released on Allen”. We look forward to a fitting dissemination of Allen’s achievement. We look forward to an exciting and fruitful collaboration.