Lenny Bruce ‎– The Berkeley Concert


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January 17, 2011
referencing The Berkeley Concert, 2xLP, Album, TRA 195

Executive producer Zappa had good foresight when he brought this recording to public attention in 1969. There are also similarities in the acerbic wit of Bruce and that of Zappa, who's Mothers opened for him at the Fillmore West in 1966.

This recording was captured by John Judnich who, apart from sharing a house with Bruce, was a key figure in the development of sound systems in venues like the Whiskey a Go-Go and the Shrine - in addition to engineering for the likes of the MOI, bluesman Mayall and a host of UK bands such as Black Sabbath and ELO.

Bruce's uncompromising act regularly found him facing obscenity charges. Some of his hearings effected with such an obvious bias to his performances that he would then add fuel to the fire, recycling the transcripts as part of his next act. This led to him being pilloried further - to a situation where it became impossible for him to work and culminated in bankruptcy. All this, despite supportive petitions from the likes of Bob Dylan, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman & Norman Mailer. Bruce died of a morphine overdose in August 1966.

This unexpurgated concert album is a fitting tribute to his groundbreaking observational and revolutionary humor. Perhaps its existence helped to finally bring about a public pardon for Bruce, some 37 years after his death, from governor of New York George Pataki. Governor Patiki based his apology upon "...an upholding of The Fifth Amendment". As Bruce once commented, "They call it the Hall of Justice, but the only justice is in the halls".