Jack Kerouac — The Complete Collection
See, here's the thing about this: A lot of people are already rolling their eyes at it, because a lot of people have, whether justified by their own legitimate "maturation" as readers or not, come to view Kerouac as a mere mistake one makes at some point right around the beginning of college. Though (here comes the insecure qua- lifying!) I'm far from a hardcore apologist for all things Beat-related, I maintain a soft spot for Kerouac and the weird batch of spoken word material he recorded in the late 50s. I'm partial to the stuff he read accompanied by Steve Allan on jazz piano. Kerouac's speaking voice is at once soothing and percussive, musical even as it generally leans toward the monotone. There's a lot to take in here—three albums plus a few unreleased interviews spread over two CDs—and while there's no shortage of the dopey stream-of-consciousness stuff everyone's always groaning about, it's strangely charming in this context. And if you pay close attention, you'll spot the sample from "Condition Oakland" by Jawbreaker.