Song Of The Day 8/24/2013: Kit Ream - "Don't Be So Holy Poly Over My Souly"

I'm about to save your life.

Kit Ream was a rich kid. He came into a lot of money because he was adopted by a family descended from Norman Ream, a super-capitalist who had his fingers in various industries. My understanding is that he helped bring Nabisco Shredded Wheat into the world. So Kit was the inheritor of a huge Nabisco fortune. But things being as they were in the '60s, Kit consumed a whole lot of drugs. His primary weapon of choice was LSD; some sources I've come upon suggested he consumed enough pharmaceuticals to choke all of Woodstock Nation plus their horses.

Kit went through some sort of rehabilitative process and was deemed "cured" at some point in the '70s. As part of his cure -- I do not know whether this was prescribed or whether it was Kit's own idea -- he recorded a full-length album in his living room with some friends in 1978. That album's called All That I Am, and in the years since it has become one of the touchstone albums of "outsider music." Jello Biafra, a known fan, wrote about it for RE/Search's classic compilation Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. II. (He got some facts wrong though: Contrary to Biafra's assertion in the liner notes, Kit did not start or join a cult or become a guru.)

I've heard All That I Am all the way through. You will never hear a more perfect interpretation of the faux pop spirituality of the 1970's. It's bongo. We're talking small-combo smooth jazz, folk light, and Kit's effervescently perverse attempts at poetry and spoken word improv, and randomly inserted grunts. Reportedly it will be reissued on CD sometime in the future, but in the meantime you can download a copy via Mediafire. It's rumored that Kit killed a guy on a yacht not long after this was recorded, and that he still lives in the San Diego area. Retired, obviously.

How does one top All That I Am? You can't. The only way you improve upon All That I Am is by releasing it in Quadrophonic and giving away a piece of shag carpet with every purchase. "Don't Be So Holy Poly Over My Souly" is the standout track here, one that found new life via Otis Fodder's great 365 Days web project ten years ago. What can I say, except it sounds like the work of someone who did a shitload of drugs. It is a paragon of bafflement, a gleefully fuzzy hangover, and still better than 99% of the new age crap out there.

If you find yourself prematurely raptured or in a state of astral ascendancy while hearing this, you owe big thanks to The Nabisco Company.


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