Search - Charles Bukowski :: Hostage

Charles Bukowski
Genres: Special Interest, New Age, Pop
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #1

The San Pedro, California, audience is the hostage referred to in the title of this mid-1980s recording, but clearly they love every minute of it. It's indicative of this infamous, lowlife-lovin' poet's no-nonsense, tough-...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Charles Bukowski
Title: Hostage
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 1/1/1985
Re-Release Date: 6/7/1994
Genres: Special Interest, New Age, Pop
Styles: Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews, Meditation
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 081227175825, 081227175849

The San Pedro, California, audience is the hostage referred to in the title of this mid-1980s recording, but clearly they love every minute of it. It's indicative of this infamous, lowlife-lovin' poet's no-nonsense, tough-talking skill that for half the recording the crowd is nearly pissing themselves with laughter. Hostage has to be one of the rowdiest poetry records ever released, which makes sense considering how drunk Bukowski plainly is. The drink never gets in the way of his delivery, the tough, beautiful lines and moronically macho ones always landing on target, on cue. Bukowski delivers odes to dead Roman poets, lands a few good jokes, and--most crucially--offers up a few Raymond Carver-esque glimpses straight into the human soul. No document showcases Bukowski's radiant humor and occasional grace as succinctly as this intoxicating disc. --Mike McGonigal.

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CD Reviews

Buk is alive & well, if only for an hour!
Johnny Roulette | 12/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This cd is well-packaged. It has good great inlays, liner notes, and sound quality. It isn't one of the many cheap bootlegs available. Being to young and from the wrong coast to've seen Bukowski in person, this has got to be the next best thing. Buk's sense of humor is overwhelming apparent here from the opening greeting to the confused exit an hour later. Some of the highlights include "Competition" & "Eating The Father". The poetry is occasionally beautiful and more often hilarious. The audience deserves to share the bill here. They turn the second half of the reading into a riotous, drunken free for all. You're basically getting to drink with Bukowski. As he gets into his cups, his speech becomes impaired and the delivery suffers. But this is the whole of Hostage's charm. If you want neatness and order, then go buy the books. If you are a fan, then you will not be disappointed by this gem. Recorded in 1980, Bukowski seems to be in his public-speaking prime. Earlier recordings show a man who is ill at ease with the attention. He seems to've slid comfortably into the exxagerated persona he created for himself by the time this reading was done. Fair Warning: The reading itself deteriorates tremendously by the second half of this performance, but that's not why the audience is there in the first place. They, like you, were there to see their favorite barfly entertain and self-destruct. They were there to challenge, not to learn. Far superior to King Of Poets, you can't go wrong with Hostage."
Buk on a tear
George Schaefer | 04/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is Sir Charles--no, not Barkley who I also greatly admire--Bukowski doing a reading in Redondo Beach, California. He intersperses monologue with poetry with great skill. Buk takes over the crowd and has his way with them. He drinks and argues and reads poetry. I never knew what Buks voice sounded like before hearing this recording. Now whenever I read his books I hear his voice in the narrative. It is almost as good as when I became acquainted with William Burroughs voice. This was recorded in 1980 after Buk was already a celebrity but it is still amazing to listen to him read. If more poets had a bit of gut like Buk, poetry might not be such a marginalized art form today. This is a great spoken word cd and a fine addition to any cd library. It goes down nicely with a glass of rye and a beer chaser(or two)."
"...tougher than the East Lansing, Michigan gang!!"
George Schaefer | 03/16/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Buk's classic April 1980 poetry reading in San Pedro, CA., captured on compact disc, is a street-read at it's rowdiest! BUK HELD HOSTAGE by his audience, with seemingly no end in sight!! For as Chuck get's hammered so does his audience, and with each poem he belts out the tension in the air grows to a near-breaking point. After the intermission all hell breaks loose for good though, with the audience and Bukowski exchanging insults, threats and satirical commentary. Fourtanetly Buk's wit, intoxicated mannerisms and sharp comebacks to the venom flung at him by the crowd, keep him afloat in this audio-documented sea of semi-mayhem. Recommended for all Chuck Bukowski enthusiasts or anyone interested in CB for that matter. "Hostage" is right on the money!"