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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Vinyl|Change
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on 25 January 2005
I first came across Patti Smith on the B.B.C. 2 music show "The Old Grey Whistle Test", I can't remember the year but I think it was round the middle of the 70's.
I remember she was strangely dressed for being on stage, wearing a big black coat and black hat on stage, I thought strange what's all this about and then she proceeded to perform the track "Land" which is in 3 parts, horses, land of a 1,000 dances and La mer (de) nothing could have prepared me for the all out assault on the senses that Ms Smith performed.
The performance that I witnessed was incredible; she was jumping up and down, throwing herself around the floor and this was for the full length of the song and runs at nearly 10 minutes long.
After watching this on TV. I thought to myself I must get a copy of this album, the next day I preceded to my nearest "music emporium", I asked the shop assistant if they had this title in stock, to my great delight they did. I handed my money post haste rushed home and slapped it on my turntable.
As the record played I inspected the cover more closely, the black and white photograph on the front was very intriguing, the image was very androgynous, the sleeve credit was to Robert Mapplethorpe, if you look very carefully you will notice a very small badge of a horse on the lapel of the jacket draped over her shoulder.
The opening track to the album was a hybrid version of "Gloria" by Van Morrison this song had as much passion in it as had the live performance on TV. The following track "Redondo Beach" was a change of pace more reggae in nature than rock with its rock steady guitar sound and off beat hi- hat sound.
As the song "Free Money" started I thought to myself this is more like a 3 chord rock work-out, but nothing previous to this on the album had given any indication of the contents of the track "Birdland" this track clocks in at just over 9 minutes long, what an audio attack she really lets fly, very similar to the emotional displays that made Janis Joplin famous.
Most of the songs on the album were written by Patti Smith and her long time guitarist Lenny Kaye, but the following "Break it up" was co-written by Tom Verlaine of Television fame; the song also contains some excellent guitar work by Mr Verlaine.
Then you get to the studio version of "Land" this is even more of a Rolla coaster ride than "the test" performance.
As the album closes with the song "Elegie" the understated piano sound is welcome rest bite from intenseness of the rest of the album.
When this album was re-issued on C.D. in 1988 the sound of the album was very disappointing, but this 1996 version is a 20 bit re-master with a bonus live track with the producer of the album John Cale from the Velvet Underground playing bass on it which after the bass solo from Mr Cale soon becomes a howling mess of feedback and swearing, and Patti Smith shouting "We created it, lets control it".
This is a collection not for the faint - hearted but for music fans that like their music full on....
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on 2 April 2009
(This comes from an extremely poor review-writer)
I first gave this album a listen after seeing Morrissey saying once that this was his favourite album. When I first heard it, I admit, I wasn't crazy about it. After giving it another spin I liked it. Third time I LOVED it. I think it's amazing.
Some people say that to appreciate this album you'd have to live in the time it was released. Whilst I agree it must have been a whole new experience then I can still say, that although I'm only 18 years old, even today, I really enjoyed it. :-)
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on 11 May 2006
I was a little apprehensive about the 2nd album in this set but fear not it is a genuine re-creation of the brilliant Horses and not something sounding like it was made by a tribute band. Like a true artist Patti has lived in these songs and like Dylan is not afraid to present her audience with a 'new' version. Sometimes the memory of the past is too great for the new to be entirely successful but there is so much that makes amends for this. My main quibble would be with the audience during Elergy as, while I believe that lives should be celebrated, they seem to be cheering inappropriately at the names of the 'friends who can't be with us today' and the powerful heartfelt beauty of the song and its strong feelings/sentiments are lost. This is a major mixing error.

However what energy she has let alone the band. Buy it, put the volume up to something reasonable like 9 - remember the neighbours - and be prepared for an urgent need to dance round the room!
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This was my first encounter with rock as poetry (well, perhaps barring some Rolling Stones songs) and it opened a new universe. The ominous Gloria, the lilting reggae of the sad Redondo Beach, the evocative surrealism of Kimberly and the violently erotic title track were like nothing else in rock music, and they're still unique and special. I'm not crazy about each & every track but they all have great worth and Horses will forever stand as a monument to the best in music. Excepting Horses (title track), the three I have mentioned are quite accessible and hummable to the mainstream (as opposed to Art Rock) fan. Aaah and Patti looks so sexy on the cover.
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on 5 February 2011
This record still sounds fresh 35 years on. Patti Smith here channels some obvious influences - Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed and Jim & Van Morrison - and manages to make a better record than any of them. The secret is that despite being a poet Patti here manages to subjugate the words to the singing and the music. If her early single track Piss Factory sounded like going to a poetry reading, this just sounds like a great record lifted by her gift for language. The playing here is raw and impassioned, but never amateurish. The real revelation is Patti's singing, not technically great but capable of great power and tenderness, it sounds like a real person trying to communicate with the listener, the ultimate hallmark of all great singing. All the tracks here are very good to great, but of particular note are the brilliant reimagination of Gloria that opens and the wrenching Break It Up with superb guitar from Tom Verlaine. Never afraid to be pretentious (both a huge strength and potential weakness) this also includes 2 long tracks Land and Birdland. Land, which appears to be about a rape, is a little suite including extensive quotes from Land Of A Thousand Dances and is quite stunning. Birdland, apparently inspired by Peter Reich's A Book Of Dreams (though given the rarity of the book you would never guess) is the knottiest track here with Lenny Kaye's guitar venturing into free-jazz territory; give it a chance though and it is actually quite beautiful.
Of huge historical significance in the way that it offered a way forward for women to escape the usual roles assigned to them in rock ie the polite singer songwriter or the rock chick ( a position she shares with Joni Mitchell who almost contemporaneously released the adventurous Hissing Of The Summer Lawns). More significant is that regardless of gender this is a great record and one of the greatest debuts ever.
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on 30 December 2005
The magnificent 'Horses' superbly remastered in crisp, clear sound... just as nature intended.
Plus.... The live 30th Anniversary Meltdown performance, not only historical but even better than the original.
As Patti would say 'Transcend, Transcend'!!
P.S. We know you were filming this concert. When do we get to see the DVD?
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on 11 February 2014
I still remember the impact this album made on me when it was first released, (I was about 17), and time certainly hasn't diminished it. The live recording of the same songs in the same order some thirty years later only enhances this legacy edition. The original era certainly had its share of classic debut albums - the New York Dolls, Television and the Ramones spring to mind - but this must be my favourite of all. Incidentally, for my money it also has the greatest opening line of all time - Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine. Patti went on to make any number of superb albums and does so to this day but none quite topped this or even equalled it for my taste. Back in 1976 I thought Patti was a complete original - which she is - but she made this unique record by fusing any number of influences as all the best artists do. She's not even subtle about it and whether it's Wilson Picket or William Burroughs she wears her heart on her sleeve. It's the fact that she is first and foremost a fan that's had the chance to do her own thing that is a big part of her enduring appeal. I've heard people knock her for not being much of a musician but she's never claimed to be. She can sing rather well, she surrounds herself with great musicians and her literary abilities are real and second to none in the music world. The whole concoction being delivered with such passion and enthusiasm that it's simply a joy to witness.
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on 21 January 2016
Arrived earlier than projected, disc and case in A1 condition as described, though I rip to my music server, ditch the case to save space and keep the CD as physical media backup. Have used Zoverstocks service often before, will use again and again for their VFM, and recommend.
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on 12 December 2015
Hey what do I say. Bought on the strength of reutation and recomendation without any prior listening. Not my cup of tea.

Doesn't make it good or bad. Read the views of those who have an opinion.
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on 23 October 2001
im still in love with this album today as i was back in 1975. Ok so whats it like, well.... how about beautifully structured, simplistic songs with lyrics that are at times cryptic and yet seem to cry out at you as if you could almost be standing beside Patti as she sings and breathes into your ear, throw in some striped bare electric guitar, bass and drums with piano and hey what do you have, perfection and a true original.
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