Ballad Of The Lights
Arthur Russell and Allen Ginsberg first met in the early 70's in San Francisco through mutual interests in music, poetry, and Buddhism. Drawn to each other's creative energy, Russell would soon start to provide Ginsberg with musical backing during his poetry readings. And in the summer of 1971, "Pacific High Studio Mantras" was recorded as a track to be included in Ginsberg's Blake album. Ginsberg's confident and enlightening voice singing the Tibetan mantra accompanied by Russell's rich cello unison underlining, can be considered one of the best in the early collaborations between the great poet and musician. Continuing their friendship as Ginsberg supported Russell in his musical career, "Ballad of the Lights" was recorded in NYC in 1977 with Russell's band, The Flying Hearts and Ginsberg participating in voice. "Floating above a backdrop of gentle, almost melancholic guitar pop that was inspired by the simple drumming of Fleetwood Mac and the melodic lines of Abba, Arthur's lyrics were tender and simple yet also enigmatic and sophisticated."(Hold on to Your Dreams) In contrast to the powerful tone Ginsberg shows in the B side track, his voice is soft and gentle, being in perfect accord with the delicate and obscure world which only Russell can create. After many years of sleep, Ballad Of The Lights was unearthed by Audika Records from deep in Arthur Russell's vast archive. Originally thought for inclusion in the folk/pop album Love Is Overtaking Me it was determined to release Ballad Of The Lights as a stand alone track. As with the tracks on Love Is Overtaking Me, Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear/Terrible Records) worked with the digital transfers for this limited edition 10 inch vinyl release (Audika Records will release the digital version of the track).
This record is a witness to Ginsberg's talent as performer, and having the keen eye to pick out the geniuses with pure souls-and Russell's openness for collaboration, exquisite and magical talent, and his uncompromising pursuit for beautiful music.