Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.

Sunday

Raw Power



In 1972, the Stooges were near the point of collapse when David Bowie's management team, MainMan, took a chance on the band at Bowie's behest. By this point, guitarist Ron Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander had been edged out of the picture, and James Williamson had signed on as Iggy's new guitar mangler; Ron Asheton re-joined the band shortly before recording commenced on Raw Power, but was forced to play second fiddle to Williamson as bassist. By most accounts, tensions were high during the recording of Raw Power, and the album sounds like the work of a band on its last legs -- though rather than grinding to a halt, Iggy & the Stooges appeared ready to explode like an ammunition dump. From a technical standpoint, Williamson was a more gifted guitar player than Asheton (not that that was ever the point), but his sheets of metallic fuzz were still more basic (and punishing) than what anyone was used to in 1973, while Ron Asheton played his bass like a weapon of revenge, and his brother Scott Asheton remained a powerhouse behind the drums. But the most remarkable change came from the singer; Raw Power revealed Iggy as a howling, smirking, lunatic genius. Whether quietly brooding ("Gimme Danger") or inviting the apocalypse ("Search and Destroy"), Iggy had never sounded quite so focused as he did here, and his lyrics displayed an intensity that was more than a bit disquieting. In many ways, almost all Raw Power has in common with the two Stooges albums that preceded it is its primal sound, but while the Stooges once sounded like the wildest (and weirdest) gang in town, Raw Power found them heavily armed and ready to destroy the world -- that is, if they didn't destroy themselves first. 


The Ig. Nobody does it better, nobody does it worse and nobody does it, period. Others tiptoe around the edges, make little running starts and half-hearted passes; but when you're talking about the O mind, the very central eye of the universe that opens up like a huge, gaping, suckling maw, step aside for the Stooges.
They hadn't appeared on record since the Funhouse of two plus years before. For a while, it didn't look as if they were ever going to get close again. The band shuffled personnel like a deck of cards, their record company exhibited a classic loss of faith, drugs and depression took inevitable tolls. At their last performance in New York, the nightly highlight centred around Iggy choking and throwing up onstage, only to encore quoting Renfield from Dracula: "Flies," and whose mad orbs could say it any better, "big juicy flies ... and spiders...."
Well, we all have our little lapses, don't we? With Raw Power, the Stooges return with a vengeance, exhibiting all the ferocity that characterized them at their livid best, offering a taste of the TV eye to anyone with nerve enough to put their money where their lower jaw flaps. There are no compromises, no attempts to soothe or play games in the hopes of expanding into a fabled wider audience. Raw Power is the pot of quicksand at the end of the rainbow, and if that doesn't sound attractive, then you've been living on borrowed time for far too long.
It's not an easy album, by any means. Hovering around the same kind of rough, unfinished quality reminiscent of the Velvets' White Light/White Heat, the record seems caught in jagged pinpoints, at times harsh, at others abrupt. Even the "love" songs here, Iggy crooning in a voice achingly close to Jim Morrison's, seem somehow perverse, covered with spittle and leer: "Gimme Danger, little stranger," preferably with the lights turned low, so "I can feeeel your disease."
The band is a motherhumper. Ron Asheton has switched over to bass, joining brother Scott in the rhythm section, while James Williamson has taken charge of lead; the power trio that this brings off has to be heard to be believed. For the first time, the Stooges have used the recording studio as more than a recapturing of their live show, and with David Bowie helping out in the mix, there is an ongoing swirl of sound that virtually drags you into the speakers, guitars rising and falling, drums edging forward and then toppling back into the morass. Iggy similarly benefits, double and even triple-tracked, his voice covering a range of frequencies only an (I wanna be your) dog could properly appreciate, arch-punk over tattling sniveler over chewed microphone.
Given material, it's the only way. The record opens with "Search And Destroy," Vietnamese images ricocheting off the hollow explosions of Scott's snare, Iggy secure in his role of GI pawn as "the world's most forgotten boy," looking for "love in the middle of a fire fight." Meaning you're handed a job and you do it, right? Yes, but then "Gimme Danger" slithers along, letting you know through its obsequiously mellow acoustic guitar and slippery violin-like lead that maybe he actually likes walking that tightrope between heaven and the snakepit below, where the false step can't be recalled and the only satisfaction lies in calling your opponent's bluff and watching him fold from there. Soundtrack music for a chicken run, and will it be your sleeve that gets caught on the door handle? Hmmmm ...
Cut to "Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell," first called "Hard To Beat" and the original title ditched in favour of Funhouse's "1970." If it didn't seem like such a relic of the past, the Grande Ballroom would have to be resurrected for this one, high-tailing it all the way from Iggy's opening Awright! through James' hot-wired guitar to a lavish, lovingly extended coda which will probably be Iggy's cue to trot around the audience when they ultimately bring it onstage. "Penetration" closes off the side, the Stooges at their most sensual, lapping at the old in-out in a hypnotic manner that might even have a crack at the singles games, Clive and Columbia's promotion men willing.
"Raw Power" flips the record over, and the title track is a sure sign that things aren't about to cool down. "Raw Power is a boilin' soul/Got a son called rock 'n' roll," and when was the last time you heard anything like that? "I Need Somebody" builds from a vague "St. James Infirmary" resemblance to neatly counterpoint "Gimme Danger," Iggy on his best behaviour here, while "Shake Appeal" is the throwaway, basically a half-developed riff boosted by a nice performance, great guitar break, and some on-the-beam handclaps. Leaving the remains for "Death Trip" to finish off, the only logical follow-up to "L.A. Blues" and all that came after, crawl on your belly down the long line of bespattered history as the world shudders to its final apocryphal release.
I never drink ... wine.


In mp3 @ 320kbps

Iggy And The Stooges – Raw Power
1.      Search And Destroy
2.      Gimme Danger
3.      Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell
4.      Penetration
5.      Raw Power
6.      I Need Somebody
7.      Shake Appeal
8.      Death Trip





2 comments:

  1. Which mix are you sharing - David Bowoe's or Iggy Pop's? Cheers

    ReplyDelete