Herbert Huncke was the man who brought the word “beat” to the Beat Generation. He was a New York hustler, the sort of cool street cat that these college kids needed to bring them in touch with reality. He was their gateway to the underground, to a world of crime and drugs.
He was also an artist in his own right. A natural storyteller, his friends pushed him to writing. In 1964 he wrote his autobiography, Guilty of Everything. He was an advocate of Kerouac’s spontaneous prose method – writing his stories in one go, with no revision. Like Kerouac, he had a great memory and could paint a scene with words.
His stories were composed in prison and on the street, and never for a mainstream audience. “[He’s] the greatest story teller I know,” wrote Kerouac. What was particularly wonderful about his brand of narrative was that he could sit and speak and captivate his audience for hours. And in 1987, he sat down in front of an audience and just talked… for two whole hours.
The result is this CD, also titled Guilty of Everything. It was recorded at In and Outs Press in Amsterdam, and only released 25 yrs later, long after Huncke passed away in 1996. The result is a stunning addition to Beat history. Huncke talks about, among other things, meeting William S. Burroughs for the first time. His style is engaging, impossible to walk away from.
Guilty of Everything: Herbert Huncke in Amsterdam come highly recommended by the editors of Beatdom.