Friday, July 22, 2005
Lenny Bruce: Death Row 172 (Fantasy 541X)
I'm still shaking a bit. This record is chilling! When you think of Lenny Bruce, you think of the stand-up comedian of the 50s and 60s who was hounded to death on obscenity charges and such. So, what are we to make of this item, a spoken word piece about a condemned man? The record begins with calls of "Lock up" and prison-door sound effects and then a low, moaning harmonica plays in the background as Bruce relates the tale of a man on death row for killing three men in a bar in a fit of revenge. He relates to how he's being punished for killing the three men, when he was a war hero for killing more. It's all too late for him. The record slowly fades out as a priest reads him his last rites as he's led to his doom. It's very hard to listen to this and not come away with your nerves a bit shattered. One wonders what the idea was behind this record, especially coming from a man who would die of a drug overdose a few years after recording it.