English As A Second Language (Talking Package)

Amazing and vast collection of brief spoken word and poetry pieces by various Los Angeles artists, Punk musicians and scene fixtures.
This is one of two behemoth two-record albums produced by Harvey Kubernick on Freeway Records.

This is the first of the two, released in 1983 as English As A Second Language (Talking Package).

Most tracks are less than a minute, with few ever going more than two minutes and some clocking in around two to five seconds, so – as you can see – there’s a lot of tracks.
The standouts are people like Charles Bukowski, Henry Rollins, Exene Cervenka, John Doe, D. Boon Chris D (of The Flesheaters), (and loads of folks from the SST Records roster) etc., plus some L.A. area poets, as well as some folks not generally known for spoken word stuff (like Bob Flanagan), L.A. stalwarts such as Rodney Bingenheimer, Kim Fowley, etc. Some of the best tracks are both from L.A. area poets like Luis Campos, Wanda Coleman, Dennis Cooper and Dave Alvin (of the Blasters). There’s also some brief musical numbers here and there.

Most of the tracks are interesting, some have aged well, some have not. Some of it’s indulgent or pretentious, but much of it is wonderful. It’s a dizzying time capsule collage of eighties L.A.

Plus, dig the groovy cover by Raymond Pettibon, years before he went from Black Flag covers and flyers to highbrow art galleries. That fact alone is one of the things that gets this listed on Ebay and sold relatively quickly. As far as I know, this has never been shared anywhere until now.
UbuWeb has graciously accepted this LP’s tracks and curated them here. You can listen to the individual tracks there and download the entire album here:

English As A Second Language.zip (177 megs, 192k)


  1. Thanks so much for putting up these Freeway Rec comps – a part of my youth that I’d had no luck in locating til now. You’re right about it being a time capsule – it’s all coming back to me. I can practically taste the Oki-Dog…

    1. My pleasure, Mr. Fab!
      I’d been wanting to get my paws on these records for a quite a while and finally scored them on Ebay before they shot up in price again.
      As I write this, the UBU.com mirror/post is down, so previewing the tracks is impossible until they get their server issues sorted out.
      They also posted my rip and edit of Bukowski’s Hostage, so you can check that out when they return to the web’os’sphere.

  2. Amazing! Thanks so much. I truly loved this comp back in 1984 — I got it as a freshman in high school and it genuinely opened my mind up to a buncha new notions.

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