Why would you want to read these books? Because they’re first hand accounts of travels and true life adventures in places and times that no longer exist. Would you like to visit Afghanistan when it was friendly and fun and full of young travelers? Would you like to go to Ceylon? There is no Ceylon any more.
Available on Amazon.com
In A Lucky Monkey and the Soft White Underbelly –
First I’m a kid in the Bronx, then a kid in college, Then I’m selling a song to the biggest folk group in the world, Then I’m the singer with a world class rock band. Pretty lucky right? The book has stories about BB King, Chuck Berry, the Band, Jimi Hendrix, the Soft White Underbelly (the baby Blue Oyster Cult) and more. Then I leave the band to go wander the Planet.
A Lucky Monkey Wanders America and Europe –
I take my royalty money and buy a deluxe Volkswagen Bus (extra little windows around an oversized sunroof) and cross the US headed for San Francisco (it’s the period between San Francisco’s Summer of Love and New York’s Summer of Love). The world was changing fast, the young had left home and were wandering at will. Humans had walked on the moon, the Beatles were exploding, and the Vietnam had us all in knots and we became the first children of the Electronic Age.
After being totally twisted by California, I returned to New York, caught a freighter to Europe, where I hitched and sailed along the Mediterranean, partied with the Gypsies at their annual gathering, stayed with beautiful artists at their communes in Paris and Brussels, settling into a place they sent me in Amsterdam, an astounding city with a new way of living. Then I drove with one of those guys across eastern Europe to Istanbul.
A Lucky Monkey on the Hashish Trail –
Begins in Istanbul, the most exotic stop so far, which I see is a traveler’s gateway to India, the overland route to the East.
Suddenly finding myself in receipt of a large royalty check for the Blue Frog Song, I couldn’t resist and caught a train across Turkey (had a delicious encounter on that train) then on to Iran (kind of hostile even then) then finally into Afghanistan which in those days smelled of barbeque, and didn’t feel hostile at all. In fact they didn’t care at all about our cannabis smoking.
Then in Kabul, to impress a girl, I bought a horse to continue my travels for a while on what turned out to be through the Khyber Pass, which I rode through alone. (Not entirely friendly).
I then continued into Pakistan where I sold my horse and went to find some friends high up in the foothills of the Himalayas, to Swat, an enchanted village which had the kind of view you might expect from the Himalayas, and seemed to be where genies originated. Djinns, they called them.
That’s where I met an incredible English girl traveler, with whom I continued onward with through Karachi Pakistan, where we got involved in a dope deal, escaped and then I had my first plane flight, which took me to Ceylon.
Les Braunstein performs in America and Europe as Les Braunstein and as Les Vegas. In the 60s he was the singer with the Soft White Underbelly, the band later known as Blue Oyster Cult. In the intervening years he has recorded with The Test Tube Babies and as Les Vegas. His Space/Rock musical – Rings – was produced at the New York International Fringe Festival. His children’s songs have been performed and recorded by Peter Paul and Mary, the Muppets, and Disney. He currently lives outside, Woodstock, in New York’s Hudson Valley.