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After several years spent searching for a publisher for On The Road, in 1957 Jack Kerouac's fortune finally changed as he literally became a star overnight, thanks to rave reviews by the New York Times and others who heralded Kerouac as the voice of a new generation. It was during this initial period of fame (1957-1959) that Kerouac also recorded a trio of albums. His first effort, Poetry For The Beat Generation, was recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1957 with soon-to-be pop icon Steve Allen on piano. The album was not released, however, until 1959 due to controversy over the album's racy content. Despite this controversy (or perhaps because of it) Kerouac was asked to make another album, Blues And Haikus, soon afterwards. This time Kerouac chose musician friends Zoot Sims and Al Cohn to accompany him, and this rapport resulted in a much more cohesive effort. 1959's Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation, on the other hand, is an entirely spoken word piece. Here Kerouac freely improvised on his own writings, using his own voice as an instrument. While the first three albums were actual albums, The Last Word is a collection of outtakes from the Blues And Haikus sessions, a recording of a college lecture given by Kerouac in November 1958, and an appearance he made on a popular television show in November 1959. This deluxe 4LP comes in a 'book style' sleeve, with each 'page' containing one of the four albums and a reproduction of each album's original artwork.
- Poetry for the Beat Generation
- Blues and Haikus
- Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation
- The Last Word