A Uniquely Beautiful and "Beloved" Spoken Word Classic
Author-Poet Aberjhani | Georgia, United States | 10/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
The art of spoken word took a huge leap forward when jazz icon Arthur Prysock teamed with the composer Mort Garson, and producers Hy Weiss and Pete Spargo, to do something extraordinary. They took a controversial but celebrated book called THIS IS MY BELOVED, by the poet Walter Benton, and set it to musical magic. The result is one of the most creatively romantic recordings ever made.
Prysock was already a celebrated jazz singer when he made this recording and he had won some spoken word fame for "A Working Man's Prayer." This Is My Beloved represents a triumphant departure more in style than anything else. His rich baritone oozes with the emotions of love newly discovered, love celebrated in its sexual maturity, love painfully lost, and love gratefully remembered.
The 13 poetry tracks on "This Is My Beloved" remain largely true to Walter Benton's original compositions. However, those who have read the book know that the poems are presented in the form of diary entries and have dates rather than titles for their headings. Nevertheless, the titles presented on Prysock's spoken version--such as "Your Body Makes Eyes at Me" and "Sleeping...So Still, So Still--simply add to the experience of romantic and artistic intensity when listening to the CD.
Critics were divided over whether Benton's book was pornography or literary art when it first came out. Time and Prysock's recording has helped clarify that it is indeed art of a high caliber. The opening lines of the book should have made that clear enough when Benton wrote: "Because hate is legislated...written into/ the primer and the testament,/ shot into our blood and brain like vaccine or vitamins...I need love more than ever now..." He may have been writing as an individual but considering that World War II was approaching its bloodiest worse when the book was first published in 1943, it's quite likely he was also speaking metaphorically as the whole of humanity. Likewise, Prysock made his recording in December 1968 when the Vietnam War had the world in tears. Small wonder, then, that a new generation marked indelibly by the Iraq War in 2007 is claiming "This Is My Beloved" for its own.
author of I Made My Boy Out of Poetry
and Founder of Creative Thinkers International
Henry Hudnall | Chicago | 10/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're simple and commercial in your own world and superficial don't even bother to listen to this masterpiece. You must be mature,level headed, down to earth and had to have been deeply in love and suffered a broken heart at least once(and who hasn't)to see Art's story. The man tells this story in such a way that you can almost see it, let alone, live it. The music is so cool, so smooth, that good ole big band sound mixed in with super mackin,game playin,mind blowin,satisfying life in the big city. It'll make you forget it's just poetry. It's a guarantee you will love this one,I know I do. I remember hearing Art's music when I was in highschool almost 35 years ago. It is truly unforgettable."