Albie's Note: Listen, friends.
When my blog header says I am both a Beatnik and a Bible Believer, you can rest assured that both are-- somehow-- totally true! I will be 50 next year... and I still love Kerouac, Snyder, Lew Welch, and Bob Dylan... and also D.L. Moody, Spurgeon, Billys-- Graham and Sunday, and Larry Norman.
Can I explain all of that?
No, not really. Life is a journey... and the signposts pop up sometimes before you have a chance to investigate them. But they are all a part of your strange, individual voyage... and it is best to embrace them and be thankful for them. [I Thes. 5:18]
Who was NEAL CASSADY? Well, he was the hard-living, fast-driving, pill-popping womaniser who was immortalised in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. And young Albie read this-- as well as Ken Kesey and John Clellon Holmes and Tom Wolfe and innumerable related non-fiction tomes-- at a very impressionable time in his crazy life.
So... why is Neal remembered? Because this unlikely drop-out anti-hero in many ways was responsible for an entire literary and social movement, the repercussions of which are still being felt today... for better or for worse.
And this song? Well... all I can tell you is I used to play it over and over years ago after I first bought it on a brand new vinyl record... and literally weep as I did so.
And even today.. it does something to me. I think it's because it's not just a tribute song. It makes an uncomfortable comment.
Life is fleeting, my friends.
And the Beat goes on.
"Did You Hear Neal Cassady Died?" -- The Washington Squares
Did you hear Neal Cassady died?
Lying on the tracks down in Mexico
Did you hear Neal Cassady died, last night?
Can you see Neal Cassady drive?
An old car and a girl in heaven alive
Can you see Neal Cassady drive? That's right!
He was a-lying on the tracks down in Mexico
What a sad, sad, lonely way to go
for the king of the hipster daddy-0's
Who balled the jack in ON THE ROAD ...
The exact cause of Cassady's death remains uncertain. Those who attended the wedding party confirm that he took an unknown quantity of Secobarbital, a powerful barbiturate sold under the brand name of Seconal. The physician who performed the autopsy wrote simply "general congestion in all systems". When interviewed later, the physician stated that he was unable to give an accurate report, because Cassady was a foreigner and there were drugs involved. 'Exposure' is commonly cited as his cause of death, although his widow believes he may have died of renal failure.
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." -- I Thessalonians 5:18