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One Fast Move Or I'm Gone: Music From Kerouac's Big Sur

27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 20, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Jack Kerouac was a literary rock star, lionized by his fans. He was called the avatar of the Beat Movement, a new voice of his generation. But along with sudden fame and media hype came his unraveling. The new film, One Fast Move or I'm Gone- Kerouac's Big Sur, takes us back to the cabin he retreated to in the Big Sur woods, the Beat haunts of San Francisco and New York City for an unflinching look at the compelling events his book is based on. The story unfolds through Kerouac's prose, first-hand recollections from Kerouac's contemporaries, as well as writers, poets, actors and musicians who have been deeply influenced by Kerouac's unique gifts.Appearing in the film are Sam Shepard, Patti Smith, Tom Waits, S.E. Hinton, Donal Logue, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Hunter and many more. The stunning, High Definition visual imagery is set to original music composed and performed by recording artists Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie.
Gibbard stayed in Big Sur to compose songs for his band's 2008 Grammy-nominated album, Narrow Stairs. For many years, Jay Farrar's songwriting has been inspired and influenced by Kerouac's compositional style. Gibbard and Farrar, having never previously met, discovered a mutual kinship in their passion for Kerouac's work while recording several songs for the documentary, produced by Kerouac Films. After the initial San Francisco recording session in July 2007, they decided to develop the project further to create an album using Kerouac's own words from the book as the lyrics.


1. California Zephyr
2. Low Life Kingdom
3. Williamine
4. All In One
5. Breathe Our Iodine
6. These Roads Don't Move
7. Big Sur
8. One Fast Move Or I'm Gone
9. Final Horrors
10. Sea Engines
11. The Void
12. San Francisco

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 20, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B002LFPA3O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,879 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kerouac fan on October 30, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar are both highly respected rock musicians. But they're more than just technically good they're artists. So I was delighted as a Kerouac fan when I learned that they were bringing out a tribute album to the man. Didn't know what to expect, but it's certainly not a disappointment. What it is, is an extremely laid-back meditative country-rock album, which is fitting because Kerouac's writing was often introspective, and apparently the lyrics here are taken from Jack's text in his novels. If you're looking for a hard rocking road album this is not the one, but if you're looking for a contemplation of the inner working of Kerouac's mind - this is the one for you.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Atticus Field on October 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I had high expectations for this album because Jack Kerouac is an amazing author and Big Sur is one of his best works. The album has a folk sound to it, Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar have very contrasting voices that give a nice layer effect to the tracks. All the lyrics were taken from the book, in the 24 page booklet that comes with the cd/dvd it list Jack Kerouac as one of the writers for all the songs. There is a deep passion in the songs which I believe reflects well with the way Kerouac wrote, there is no holding back. The album was composed in five days with little or no editing which is the same way Jack wrote. The documentary DVD that accompanies the album is something every Kerouac fan will love. It includes interviews with people who were present with Kerouac when he was at Big Sur. One of the individuals interviewed is Neal Cassidy's wife who was a huge part of Jack life in many of his writings. Any fan of Kerouac will enjoy this combination CD/DVD, this new medium will help introduce an amazing american author to a new generation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. H. Rock on December 20, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
they really nailed it on this one;despite the great dark depths of the material and the ravages of time, the cast shines through and jay farar provides additional resonance to this saga of a man redeemed by his art.the dvd has addional material in which carolyn cassidy and patti smith are outstanding.this is one for the ages,and jack will live on
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkhouse on December 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I must admit, I enjoy both Kerouac and Farrar and really jumped on this creation. I think the book Big Sur would make a great concept album and Jay Farrar certainly tried.
I was, however, slightly dismayed at the result...I am still processing, but my review at this point is that the concept may need some more development...there are a few tunes that really catch you and then there are those that really make you go hmmm?.
I really enjoyed Benjamin Gibbards contributions to this album...much different from Death Cab stuff and it is a pleasant change of pace.
If you get a chance, check out this duo's performance on NPR...a much better product in the live setting with personality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne La Mont on January 31, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Here is the folk soundtrack for the film, "One Fast Move or I'm Gone"- based on Jack Kerouac's trip to Big Sur and writings done there. Some critics are upset this isn't jazz as Kerouac came out of the Beat generation but I think this is a brilliant interpretation. Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie were both already familiar with Kerouac's writings when they put Kerouac's words to their original music. Big Sur may be one of Kerouac's darkest works but there is light to be found. There is optimism in the rhythm and slide guitar's mood on #6 "These Roads Don't Move" as I listened to Gibbard sings a line from the end of the novel, "Something good will come of all things yet." I loved the title track #8. Sometimes the lyrics sound forced (#9) but I enjoyed this cd and look forward to the movie. NO 12 is the only track with the F word.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James H. Turnage on April 24, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This music requires a brief discussion of Jack Kerouac and his novel "Big Sur." The latter might be characterized as the end of the road that "On the Road" started. He is painfully honest about his alcoholism, the vissitudes of celebrity, of the cross of being an icon to others and even his somewhat returning to traditional religious values. It is an interesting book for the reason that it closes the arc of youthful questing, when the road doesn't provide highs anymore and one must accomodate the world. This is broadly discussed in the fine book report doucmentary film "One Fast Move Or I'm Gone." This album provides the musical backdrop for this film; but more than that it attempts to put Jack Kerouac's words in "Big Sur" to music.

I'm all for the attempt; enough have commented how Kerouac's prose has a beat to it, ultimately it may be the biggest joy in reading him. Mr Farrar's music doesn't quite match this syncopation, however. It has more of a somberness to it, like a Chris Isaac tune rather than the more emphatic, urgent voice that I would expect: perhaps an early Bob Dylan, say Subterranian Homesick Blues, or scat singing is what's needed. Besides, taking the songs word for word from the novel have a bit of a Monty Pythonesqe quality to it, the bard following the hero around singing his every action.

That is not to say I don't like it, the musical experient does yield some successes: The first song works the best:

"Now I'm transcontinental/3000 miles from home/I'm on the California Zephyr/watching America go by..." and "Too much fame keeps a body busy..."

Punchy as a song, while still conveying Kerouac's thoughts. I enjoyed other's such as Williamine but it is one that I compared to a Chris Isaac mood.
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Is this the CD/DVD combo package?
yes, this is the cd and the dvd, plus bonus features. inside, there is also a 24 page book. the box set contains the cd, the dvd, 2 hours of bonus material on dvd extras, a large 24 page book, an actual paperback Penguin copy of Big Sur, all house in a hand stitched, embossed hollow book.
Sep 18, 2009 by potus8 |  See all 2 posts
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