Hugh Romney (Wavy Gravy)
Before transforming himself into performance artist, westcoast scenemaker, and hippie commune godfather Wavy Gravy, Hugh Romney hung around the beat scene on both coasts, and made some recordings. This poorly documented album, titled “Third Stream Humour”, dates from 1962 and is a live recording (at least partly) from a standup performance at the Renaissance in Greenwich Village — incidentally, the last night before the club closed.
Apart from the overall interest as a Beat and Merry Prankster artifact the LP is quite enjoyable. Romney has a good, atmospheric voice, and shows remarkable skill in his microphone technique, producing sound effects and voice alterations this way. The text material is frequently surreal, and some of it obviously draws on psychedelic experiences — Romney refers directly to Mexican mushrooms in one of the monologues. There’s also lots of hip jazz talk & dope references, at the tail end of the original Kerouac era. The crowd is in a good mood and laughs generously at the two most successful pieces on side 1, while side 2 is less funny and more bizarre and poetical, with an Eastern zen-like feel. Released on World Pacific it’s probably not a major rarity, but I haven’t seen many copies of this floating around. Here’s 4 minutes from Finger Snap.