A world where windshield wipers fall in love and some people making a business out of licking lampshades may sound like something Ken Nordine imagined, but his 1967 album Twink was actually Nordine reading a little-known Beat Generation classic somebody else wrote. Robert Shure wrote the strange little poems, first published in 1957 by City Lights Books, the San Francisco publishing company operated by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It was a tiny little book, three or four inches across, illustrated with whimsical black and white drawings by Ray Zimmerman. Nordine, whose own cult classic, Word Jazz, was also first released in 1957, stumbled across the tiny gem years later, but instantly recognized a kindred spirit.
Two voices, one head, he said. I knew it was going to be perfect. He recorded the dialogue, talking to himself from opposite sides of the stereo spectrum, one voice recorded dry, the other drenched in echo. The album was released in 1967 while he was signed with Phillips Records. Nordine was experiencing a modest comeback at the time on the early freeform underground radio stations. Not only were tracks from Word Jazz and Son Of Word Jazz showing up on psychedelic airwaves, his most recent album, the intuitively trippy Colors, also was finding favor in those circles. But Twink disappeared without a trace. Joel Selvin (March 2003)
Ken Nordine (born April 13, 1920) is an American voiceover and recording artist best known for his series of Word Jazz albums. His deep, resonant voice has also been featured in many commercial advertisements and movie trailers. One critic wrote that "you may not know Ken Nordine by name or face, but you'll almost certainly recognize his voice." During the 1940s, he was heard on The World's Great Novels and other radio programs broadcast from Chicago. He attracted much wider attention when he recorded the aural vignettes on Word Jazz (Dot, 1957). Word Jazz, Son of Word Jazz (Dot, 1958) and his other albums in this vein feature Nordine's narration over cool jazz by the Chico Hamilton jazz group, recording under the alias of Fred Katz, who was then the cellist with Hamilton's quintet. Nordine began performing and recording such albums at the peak of the beat era and was associated with the poetry-and-jazz movement. However, some of Nordine's "writings are more akin to Franz Kafka or Edgar Allan Poe" than to the beats. Many of his word jazz tracks feature critiques of societal norms. Some are lightweight and humorous, while others reveal dark, paranoid undercurrents and bizarre, dream-like scenarios. (Wikipedia)
... In fact, the concept almost sounds like it was custom-designed for Nordine. Two voices, both voiced by Nordine and both presumably different facets of the same character, face off against each other and have discussions about topics that are both mundane and absurd... Like Colors, the previous album Nordine had recorded, none of the tracks here are too long all of them are under two minutes so while it never quite goes into the kind of depth Nordine is capable of in his own extended pieces, by the time you get tired of one of the motifs, he's already moved on to the next bit. (The one annoying bit is that because the pieces are so short, each is separated by the sound of various bells; it can get a bit annoying but it does have the side effect of making the beginning of each piece sound like a customer entering a store, with each piece a new transaction.) The musical backing here is varied, with a bit of rock and some sound effects, but many of the pieces have a jazzy style that Nordine fans will find comfortably familiar. All Music Guide (Sean Carruthers)