Songs of Innocence and Experience is an album by American beat poet and writer Allen Ginsberg, recorded in 1969. For the recording, Ginsberg sang pieces from 18th-century English poet William Blake's illustrated poetry collection of the same name and set them to a folk-based instrumental idiom, featuring simple melodies and accompaniment performed with a host of jazz musicians. Among the album's contributors were trumpeter Don Cherry, arranger/pianist Bob Dorough, multi-instrumentalist Jon Sholle, drummer Elvin Jones, and Peter Orlovsky — Ginsberg's life-partner and fellow poet — who contributed vocals and helped produce the recording with British underground writer Barry Miles.

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  • Songs of Innocence and Experience is an album by American beat poet and writer Allen Ginsberg, recorded in 1969. For the recording, Ginsberg sang pieces from 18th-century English poet William Blake's illustrated poetry collection of the same name and set them to a folk-based instrumental idiom, featuring simple melodies and accompaniment performed with a host of jazz musicians. Among the album's contributors were trumpeter Don Cherry, arranger/pianist Bob Dorough, multi-instrumentalist Jon Sholle, drummer Elvin Jones, and Peter Orlovsky — Ginsberg's life-partner and fellow poet — who contributed vocals and helped produce the recording with British underground writer Barry Miles. The album is one of the most famous attempts at setting lyrics from Blake's Songs collection to music. Ginsberg, having studied the rhyme and meter of the poems, believed they were originally intended to be sung and that a Blakean musical performance could roughly be replicated. The themes explored in Blake's poems — childhood and abuse, organized religion, institutionalization, and poverty — connected with Ginsberg spiritually. He was also inspired to undertake the project by a religious vision of Blake from decades earlier, his witnessing the 1968 Democratic National Convention protest activity, and rock music of the era's counterculture. The album was first released in 1970 on LP by MGM Records and Verve Forecast Records, selling poorly but receiving critical acclaim. It soon went out of print, while a follow-up release of more Blake recordings, planned with Fantasy Records, never materialized. In 2017, Omnivore Recordings released The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience, a double CD featuring the original album and previously unreleased Blakean recordings by Ginsberg from 1971. (en)
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  • Songs of Innocence and Experience is an album by American beat poet and writer Allen Ginsberg, recorded in 1969. For the recording, Ginsberg sang pieces from 18th-century English poet William Blake's illustrated poetry collection of the same name and set them to a folk-based instrumental idiom, featuring simple melodies and accompaniment performed with a host of jazz musicians. Among the album's contributors were trumpeter Don Cherry, arranger/pianist Bob Dorough, multi-instrumentalist Jon Sholle, drummer Elvin Jones, and Peter Orlovsky — Ginsberg's life-partner and fellow poet — who contributed vocals and helped produce the recording with British underground writer Barry Miles. (en)
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  • Songs of Innocence and Experience (Allen Ginsberg album) (en)
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