William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)

Collage by Ginger K Eades

Call Me Burroughs

  1. Bradley The Buyer
  2. Meeting Of International Conference Of Technological Psychiatry
  3. The Fish Poison Con
  4. Thing Police Keep All Board Room Reports
  5. Mr. Bradley Mr. Martin Hear Us Through The Hole In Thin Air
  6. Where You BelongÊ(Rewrite)
  7. Inflexible Authority
  8. Uranian Willy (Rewrite)


Reissue producers: James Grauerholz, James Austin.
Recorded at the English Bookshop, Paris, France in 1965. Originally released on ESP-Disk (1050). Includes liner notes by Emmett Williams, Jean-Jacques Label, Barry Alfonso and Barry Miles.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.

Originally released in 1965, this spoken word record was the first foray into the recording industry by Beat legend William S. Burroughs. Subsequently Burroughs recorded a number of solo projects, in addition to collaborating with everyone from John Cale and Laurie Anderson to Tom Waits and Kurt Cobain. The CD booklet contains a wealth of information about Burroughs, the manner in which these recordings were made, and about the Beat community in Paris in the 50's and 60's, as well as including the liner notes of original 1965 edition of the album.

    This collection features excerpts from three novels, NAKED LUNCH, SOFT MACHINE, and NOVA EXPRESS. The excerpts--which, read as short stories, are independent and do not require listener to be familiar with the novels--follow the exploits of junkies, prostitutes, doctors, and others as they move through grisly underworlds without concern for the borders between reality and hallucination. By turns, they are blackly funny and deeply sinister, often within the same piece. Delivered in an instantly recognizable, craggy and clipped mid-western drawl, CALL ME BURROUGHS gives these words a voice that will reverberate for listeners wherever Burroughs' name is mentioned.

from Singer Saints blog:
The "frogman" Charles M. Bogert's jaunty midwestern tones inevitably suggest the native american strains of William Burroughs reading from NAKED LUNCH and NOVA EXPRESS, captured for posterity in Paris in 1965 and released on - you guessed it - ESP-Disk. This recording remains the perfect introduction to the world of William Burroughs. What had previously been an avant-garde experiment on the page - the notorious "cut-ups" - is magically transformed by that familiar sepulchral yet amazingly flexible voice into vivid characterizations, hilarious routines, surreal poetry and a surprising poignancy, a nostalgic quality never entirely absent from Uncle Bill's reminiscences. 

Collage by Ginger K Eades

Breakthrough in the Grey Room

1. K-9 Was in Combat with the Alien Mind-Screens (13:29)

Early cut-up of tapes made by Ian Sommerville and WSB around 1965, probably in New York and London.

2. Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups (3:43)

From a lecture given by WSB at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute, April 20, 1976.

3. Recalling All Active Agents (1:25)

Excerpt from tape made in 1960 by Brion Gysin at BBC Studios in London, using BG's permutational technique.

4. Silver Smoke of Dreams

Tape made in early 1960s by Ian Sommerville and WSB, using the "drop-in" method.

5. Junk Relations (2:56)

Excerpt from a radio talk by WSB in 1961 in London. "A Day in the Life of a Junkie." Tape courtesy of the University of Kansas Libraries.

6. Jojuka (1:30)

Excerpt from live tape made by WSB at the Jojuka Fetival in the hills of Morocco with Ornette Coleman, Jan. 18, 1973.

7. Curse Go Back (1:12)

From early 1960s tape, WSB chanting an anti-curse.

8. Present Time Exercises (2:18)

Casette work by WSB in London, ca. 1971, using radio, television, several tape recorders.

9. Jojuka (0:42)

10. Working with the Popular Forces

WSB cut-ups with Dutch Schultz's last words and news texts, shortwave radio noise. Mid '60s, London

11. Interview with Mr. Martin (2:59)

Excerpt from WSB performance at the ICA in London, Feb. 28, 1963.

12. Jojuka (1:26)

13. Sound Piece (2:14)

Produced by Ian Somerville using the inching technique, 1960s?

14. Jojuka (2:39)

15. Burroughs Called the Law (1:34)

WSB routine recorded mid-1960s - dropping a dime on the Nova Mob.

William S. Burroughs - Various Tracks

16. from Naked Lunch (1977)

17. from "The Wild Boys" (1974)

18. What Washington, What Orders (1974)

19. Keynote Commentary / Roosevelt After Inauguration (1978)

20. Benway (1978)

21. from The Gay Gun: This is Kim Carson / Just Like The Collapse of any Currency / The Whole Tamale (1978)

22. What the Nova Convention is About (1978)

23. Conversations | William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Timothy Leary, Les Levine, and Robert Anton Wilson (1978)

24. When Did I Stop Wanting to be President (1975)

25. "This, gentlemen, is a death dwarf..." (1965)

26. "Mister Bradley Mister Martin..." (1965)

27. William S. Burroughs - Introducing John Stanley Hart; He Entered the Bar with the Best of Intentions

28. William S. Burroughs - Twilight's Last Gleamings

29. William S. Burroughs - By Protagonist Kim Carson

30. William S. Burroughs - The Do Rights

31. William S. Burroughs - Salt Chunk Mary; Like Mr. Hart, Kim Has a Dark Side to His Character

32. William S. Burroughs - Progressive Education

33. William S. Burroughs - The Wild Fruits

34. William S. Burroughs - The Unworthy Vessel

35. William S. Burroughs - Excerpts from The Western Land: The President, Colonel Bradford, Everyman a God

36. William S. Burroughs - "Dinosaurs"

37.William S. Burroughs - "The Chief Smiles" from The Wild Boys (1974, 6:50)

38. William S. Burroughs - The Green Nun" from The Wild Boys (1974, 3:32)

39.William S. Burroughs - excerpt from "Ah Pook Is Here" (1975, 12:00)

40.William S. Burroughs - excerpt from "Cities Of The Red Night" (1975, 10:00)

41. William S. Burroughs - excerpt from "103rd Street Boys" from Junkie" (1975, 7:29)

42. William S. Burroughs - excerpt from "Naked Lunch" (1975, 20:28)

43. William S. Burroughs - "From Here To Eternity" from Exterminator (1974, 3:40)

Tracks 1-15 From the CD Break Through in Grey Room (Sub Rosa CD006-8)

Track 16, 2:14, St. Marks Chruch, NYC, April 9, 1977, from the LP Dial-A-Poem Poets Big Ego

Track 17, 8:20, 6:53, Recorded Duke Street, London, Nov. 19, 1971, from the LP Dial-A-Poem Poets

Track 18, recorded GPS, April 1, 1974, from the LP Dial-A-Poem Poets Disconnnected

Tracks 19-23, recorded at the Nova Convention, NYC, 1978 from the LP The 

Nova Convention

During the 1960s, William Burroughs was in Europe and England. The Vietnam War, the Cultural Revolution, hippies and the acid gospel, the U S. in tumult, all these were dispatches to him. Living between Paris and London, his only excursions to America were in 1965, when he lived for a year in New York at the Chelsea Hotel and 210 Centre Street, and revisited St, Louis and Palm Beach; and in 1968, when he covered the Democratic Convention in Chicago for Esquire in the company of Genet, Southern and Seaver. Burroughs had quit the States in 1953 exactly because he foresaw these police-state conditions.

But now the wild boys were in the streets, in London and Paris too, and Burroughs was inspired to hope that the world could really change. In the creative world-switchboard of the Beat Hotel, in various London hotels, in a house in the Arab Quarter of Tangier, he experimented with tape recordings, hoping to cut the pre-recorded time line of pre-sent time, and let the future leak through.

Many of these tapes are as much Ian Sommerville's work as Burroughs or even more. Ian's technical background enabled him to contribute to the early development of sound-and-light shows in London, and at one point he worked in a studio furnished by Paul McCartney.

Ian was a sorcerer's apprentice, and the other sorcerer was the late Brion Gysin. The development of all the early cut-up techniques was a pure collaboration between Gysin and Burroughs. It was Brion who led the way on a crusade to rub out the word, and with Antony Blach the cut-up was applied to film, in Towers Open Fire, The Cut-Ups, and Ghosts at No. 9.

It is a long way back to the 1960s and sometimes hard to remember the sense of urgency and revolution then, of danger and discovery, that informed the literature of opposition. That there is now, in 2001, a market for these archival materials shows that this work was seminal, even though it has been little distributed until recent years.