Barbara Golden ‘At The Corner of Alive and Jesus’ In conjunction with Ubuweb

'At The Corner of Alive and Jesus' k7 coverBarbara Golden 'Greatest Hits', recipe/song book'At The Corner of Alive and Jesus' k7'At The Corner of Alive and Jesus' handbill

At The Corner of Alive and Jesus (36:29)
Self released cassette, San Francisco, 1988

Written by Melody Summer Carnahan
Barbara Golden, Robert Ashley, David Cremin, Sheila Davies, Barney Jones, K. Atchley: vocals
Mary Oliver: violin and viola
Maggi Payne: flute
Larry Polansky: guitar
William Winant: percussion
Barbara Golden: keyboards
George Brooks: saxophone

‘At The Corner Of Alive And Jesus: A Cantata, as it was first called,  was premiered in San Francisco in 1987, with the following performers: William Winant (percussion), Sarah Willner (viola, vocals), Barbara Golden (narration, keyboards), Mary Oliver (violin), Laetitia de Compiegne & Sheila Davies (vocals), Miguel Frasconi (pan pipes), Larry Polansky (guitar) – information according to this source. Robert Ashley hadn’t joined yet, apparently. Barbara Golden (b. 1941 Montréal, Canada) graduated from Mills College in 1982, studying with Robert Ashley, Terry Riley, Maggi Payne and Lou Harrison. The wonderful gamelan music of the latter probably led her to join the Gamelan Sekar Jaya orchestra with which she still performs to this day. She also plays in bands WIGband, & and host a radio show called ‘Crack o’ Dawn’ on KPFA, San Francisco (listen to past shows here).

MSCarnahan-sMelody Summer Carnahan (b.1951) started as a mail artist in the late 1970s and later graduated from Mills as well, where she had started writing texts for avantgarde composers (see bio). Her best known disc is ‘The Time Is Now’, Frog Peak Music, 1996, where she invites composers and musicians to create music from her book of the same title, Burning Book Press, 1983, and including the participation of Joan LaBarbara and Robert Ashley. Her writings have extensively been set to music by US composers.

The narration tells the story of one ‘Barbara’, an eccentric woman whose original and funny behavior is told by Barbara Golden in a poetic and dreamy voice. The story is pure American Surrealism, with strange apparitions and unusual events. Musical interjections are used to dramatically or poetically enhance a scene or event, according to the situation (Mary Oliver’s joyous fiddle, Maggi Payne’s dreamy flute, George Brooks’s tender saxophone). Robert Ashley appears at 29:05 as The Voice in a dream Barbara experiences. The dream itself (including broken marble columns, pink clouds, orange flames, a Tiny Hooded Lady and a monkey) is hardly different from Barbara’s own everyday life. The whole passage is brilliant with its heavenly female choir and irresistible Ashley tone.

Download mp3
To the Ubu page


4 Responses to “Barbara Golden ‘At The Corner of Alive and Jesus’”

  1. 1 s. borges October 3, 2009 at 12:51 am

    This is a brilliant site with brilliant music – lately, the only things I have been hearing come from here – absolutely impressive! I have always had a passion for alternative, experimental sounds and this site is like my dreams have come true! Its just more than I can handle! I have crammed my mp3 player, my home stereo and my car’s audio system with all this incredible music, these lost gems! Continuo, couldn’t thank you more, whoever you may be, for such fantastic work – I’m totally hooked!!!
    All the best,
    s., rio de janeiro, brazil.

  2. 2 continuo October 3, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Thanks a lot, S. I guess we share the same passion for unusual music, then. We are of a rare species.and it feels good to hear the same dedication from readers like you.

  3. 3 Jimmy Currin December 3, 2009 at 12:35 am

    This is extraordinary – thank you so much for putting it out there – your site is one of the best, no doubt about it.

  4. 4 continuo December 3, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Glad you liked it. Thanks for your kind comment.

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