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The Buk Shop

Test Pressing: “Bukowski Reads His Poetry” Tacoma Records 1980

Test Pressing: “Bukowski Reads His Poetry” Tacoma Records 1980

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This is a recording of Bukowski’s reading at the City Lights Poets Theatre on September 14, 1972, which took place in San Francisco.

It was released by Takoma records in 1980 and they continue to make new variations on their LP, with vinyl colors such as “Ashtray” and “Vomit”.

This is the Test Pressing for the Bukowski Reads His Poetry album. It was made at the famous Columbia Records Terre Haute pressing plant in Indiana, the principal distribution center for the Columbia Record Club. The plant opened in 1933 and shut down in 1983, a few years after this pressing was made.

The track list is a portion of the poems Bukowski read during the September 14, 1972, City Lights reading.

I am not qualified to grade vinyl LPs, but here is my description. It looks like the cover has water damage down the right corner of the cover and toning in general. The water stain travels to the bottom of the rear cover, which also has general toning. Assuming this is the original sleeve, and I think it is, the water damage doesn’t appear to have impacted it. But there is toning, the edge where the record comes out is heavily creased and the record went through the opposite side of the sleeve at some point. The record itself does not appear to have been played and the label looks like new.

Denny Bruce, the original drummer for The Mothers of Invention, was co-owner of Takoma Records. The independent label specialized in roots music when Denny decided to put out “Bukowski Reads His Poetry” in 1980.

To promote the record, Denny arranged for a reading in Redondo Beach, California, at the Sweetwater Café. No one knew it at the time, maybe not even Bukowski himself, but this would be his final public reading. It took place on March 31, 1980, and was recorded in both audio and video. Rhino Records released the audio recording under the name “Hostage” in 1985. The video, named “The Last Straw”, was released in 2008.

The poems on this recording include:

  • The Creation Of The Morning Line
  • Death
  • The Sex Fiends
  • Love
  • Piss And Shit
  • The Death Of An Idiot
  • Style
  • The World's Greatest Loser
  • The Last Days Of The Suicide Kid
  • The Shoelace
  • Hot
  • Earthquake
  • The Rat
  • The Best Love Poem I Can Write at the Moment
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