Charles Bukowski - Hostage (1980)
Genre: Spoken Word | MP3 | 192 Kbps | RAR
Originally released in 1985, this title was recorded live at the Sweetwater in Redondo Beach, California, in April 1980. Features Bukowski's inimitable voice riffing on life and the city he knew so well! Charles Bukowski, arguably the most influential poet of the 20th century, recorded live at California's Sweetwater, in April 1980. At age 35, after a decade of too many parties and too many pills, Bukowski found himself in a Los Angeles Hospital with severe internal hemorrhaging. Shortly after, he began to write. German-born Bukowski turned the sleaze and filth of L.A.'s urban ditch into free-verse poetry and clean prose. In the interim, he developed a huge underground following, largely from his column called "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" and his infamous disorderly poetry readings on U.S. college campuses. This live recording captures Bukowski at his best - with microphone, audience, and perhaps even a beer, in hand. Track List
Hostage (Part 1) - Charles Bukowski
Hostage (Part 2) - Charles Bukowski
Hostage (Part 3) - Charles Bukowski
Hostage (Part 4) - Charles Bukowski
Hostage (Part 5) - Charles Bukowski
Hostage (Part 6) - Charles Bukowski
Album Notes - Hostage by Charles Bukowski
Personnel: Charles Bukowski (spoken vocals).Recorded live at The Sweetwater, Redondo Beach, California in April, 1980. Includes liner notes by Kenneth Funsten.The cover of this disc shows a laissez-faire Bukowski unself-consciously guzzling a beer in front of a graffiti-covered wall. It's this heavy-drinking, hard-living image that's perpetuated throughout this poet/novelist/short-story writer's work. For decades Bukowski combined an imagistic, Beat-influenced sensibility with the no-nonsense existentialism of Hemingway in an entirely original approach to the written (and in this case spoken) word. Bukowski's captured live here before a Redondo Beach, CA audience. There was nothing ol' Hank loved more than baiting an audience with curses, threats, and insults, and the hostile-but-good-natured interaction between poet and listeners adds a high degree of energy to the reading (and consequently, to this recording). Despite his hard-bitten style, it's ultimately Bukowski's humanity and genuine affection for the important things in life (besides beer) that give his already impressive work its significant depth.
If You've got your hand on this album, you undoubtedly know something about Charles Bukowski. Most likely to do with drinking, fornicating, or gambling. Mabye all three. Mabye you heard how he inhabited Skid Row bars and tenement flophouses, for years "vomiting into plugged toilets/in rented rooms full of roaches and mice." Or how he once worked in a dog buscuit factory or that his hobby is horses. Mabye you heard about his disorderly poetry readings on college campuses around the country during the 1970's, "a man of obscene personal habits, a viscious drunk who vomited and urinated over professors' wives and tried to goose them with a calloused index finger." Mabye you heard he worked at the post office. Rumor has been good to old Hank. But Whatever you've heard or have not heard, whatever Bukowski is, was, or might have done, the man remains first and foremost a writer. And he comes away from his desk only for a price. For you, that means the "price" of this album. For others, it meant the price of a poetry reading. For that price, Bukowski is held hostage. A low-life drifter whose face is to ugliness and abuse what Paul Bunyan's body was to size and strength, German-born Bukowski didn't even start writing poetry until he was 35, when a 10-year-long party with alchohol and pills concluded with severe eternal hemorrhaging at the Los Angeles County Hospital Charity Ward. Surviving his brush with death, Bukowski made the dirty beds and sleazy bars, Los Angeles' urban ditch, into landscapes, for free-verse stories and poems. He deluged literary magazine editors with his work. He began collecting innumerable disciples. During the mid-'60's, Bukowski had a column called "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" in various underground newspapers. He distrupted any party he was invited to and many he wasn't.
In Los Angeles especially, his poetry readings became parties themselves, with "poet and audience both drunk." As you'll hear on this album, fans and poet come to these readings prepared to compete. "Is there anybody tough enough here to try me?" Bukowski taunts the crowd. "try some shit, do some anger." As long as his influence seemed centered in L.A., Bukowski was easy to dismiss as nothing more than a flamboyant provincial, a throwback to a simpler, mortgage-free way of life, a poet firmly in the tradition of California low-brow. But Bukowski's adherants have grown beyond the city, beyond the state.
Indeed Charles Bukowski is now one of the most influential poets writing in America- the other being his diametrical opposite, the abstract expressionist John Ashbury. And between you and me, in pure numbers, Bukowski has been winning this race "going away". Imitators across the country adapt his attitudes, aethetics, and techniques now. Urban wastelands of wasted individuals are seen through the sentimental eyes of sympathetic, half-cultured thoughts- Philip Marlowes, Humphrey Bogarts, Hank Chinaskis- who maintain their heroic integrity and chivalric humanity in a mean, stinking world. Bukowski has become the prophet of the underemployed, those students of the 70's who didn't take MBA's but became the educated factory workers and tecnicians of the 80's. The security guard who works out chess problems in his spare time, the computer programmer who can whistle Beethoven, the assembly-line worker who reads poetry nightly- all are fans who adapt Bukowski's prose of low-brow sophistication as one defense against the meaninglessness of mindless labor.
Hank Chinaski, Bukowski's character in the poems and prose, is also an influence. He's a Philip Marlowe type who is perfectly capable of beating up three men and cradling a stray dog the same night. Like Chandler's famous detective, Bukowski's hard-boiled anti-hero paradoxically mixes cynicism and honor, brutality and pathos, failure and sucess. But mabye Charles Bukowski knows his real achievements best: "My contribution", he wrote in 1974, "was to loosen and simplify poetry, to make it more human… I taught them that you can write a poem the same way you can write a letter, that a poem can even be entertaining, and that there need not be anything necessarily holy about it."