PATTI SMITH Land 1975-2002 (2002 UK 29-track 2-CD set comprising a 17-track compilation CD album including Gloria Because The Night Frederick and the radio only single When Doves Cry. Also includes a a 13-track CD featuring previously unreleased material including demos and live tracks. Housed in a tri-fold digipak picture sleeve with 32-page booklet and outer picture slipcase)
In some ways, singer/songwriter Patti Smith seems an unlikely choice for a full-bore anthology like Land (1975-2002)
. After all, she's had only one charting single with "Because the Night". Yet her influence on the fledgling NYC punk scene and as a protofeminist poet renders her something of an American counterculture icon. As such, Land
serves to frame an uncompromising career spanning four decades.
Split over two discs and featuring 31 tracks and almost two-and-a-half hours of music, Land begins with a survey of Smith's studio albums, relying most heavily on 1978's Easter. All the greats are here--"Dancing Barefoot", "People Have the Power", "Gloria", "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger", "Frederick" and, of course, "Because the Night". There's also a newly recorded version of Prince's "When Doves Cry", one of two songs cut specifically for this collection.
The second disc is where fans--who were solicited for track selection input via gigs and the Internet--get the goods. Early demos, among them 1974's coveted "Piss Factory", plus two other pre-Horses recordings, "Redondo Beach" and "Distance Fingers", kick things off. What follows is a batch of previously unreleased live recordings--"Dead City", "Spell", "Boy Cried Wolf"--most captured during a 2001 tour through the US and Europe, and studio outtakes. Smith herself helped remaster the recordings while stacking the accompanying booklet with fans' photos and the like.
Land probably won't spark a Smith renaissance, but loyalists can marvel at an artist who's never turned a fast buck by easing up on the sweat, tears, hunger and integrity that inform every one of these tracks. --Kim Hughes