This expanded remaster of The Stooges' 1969 debut is extremely welcome both for the quality of the remaster (it sounds absolutely brilliant) and for the quality of some of the extra material on the second disc. The contents are basically split into three: the original album on CD1, some unused mixes by producer John Cale which start CD2, and a kind of alternative version of most of the album taking up the rest of CD2.
For anyone that's never heard this, the original album contains three of Iggy Pop's all-time classics in No Fun, I Wanna Be Your Dog and 1969. These and Ann were the only songs they had when they arrived at the studio; they filled out the rest of the album with three new songs written in one evening (Little Doll, Not Right and Real Cool Time) and the dirgey chant We Will Fall. The latter is a bit of a waste of space but while the first three songs mentioned are the greatest, the other four, especially Little Doll, are near-classics of proto-metal/grunge/whatever. The band had not been playing their instruments for very long, though they'd got pretty good by this time, but they were just bursting with youthful enthusiasm, especially guitarist Ron Asheton, whose playing, if not technically brilliant, is inspired, vicious and original.
For anyone that already has the album but is tempted by the additional material, I'd say there are two reservations: 1) they're basically the same performances; 2) the John Cale mixes are worth hearing once or twice but aren't as good as the ones on the original album - they're less powerful and 3 of the 4 are shorter edits; the exception, I Wanna Be Your Dog, only runs longer because it runs nearly a semitone slower. These reservations, however, are completely blown out of the water by the rest of the material. Although they are basically the same recordings, some have entertaining alternate vocal performances, and most are longer than the original versions (especially No Fun and Ann), revealing large quantities of previously unheard and absolutely scorching guitar soloing by Ron Asheton - you have to ask why these tracks were faded on the original album - surely not to make room for the thoroughly dull We Will Fall. These alternate versions are also newly mixed, to an extremely high quality, and sound absolutely superb.
So while the overall sound is far cleaner and sharper than the magnificently grungy production of The Stooges' far more celebrated second album, "Fun House", this is a highly auspicious debut from one of the greatest rock'n'roll bands of all time.
on 25 January 2004
The thing that struck me about this album when I first heard it was how 'un-Iggy' it sounded. However it still sounds great. The opener "1969" is grunge meets Bo Diddley with Iggy drawling his lyrics before going into a screaming coda. The next track "I Wanna Be Your Dog" is pure classic Stooges, the relentless riff, thumping drums and Iggy's sexually driven vocals driving to a superb guitar solo , making it probably one of the must influential songs ever. The songs attracted many cover versions, most notably by Sid Vicious. The songs "Not Right" and "Real Cool Time" are the most straight ahead rockers here, and impossible to dislike. "Anne" slows the pace down a little, adding a strange spookiness to the proceedings. The centrepiece of the album is undoubtably "No Fun", a tour-de-force of the band sound. This attracted an almost identical cover from the Sex Pistols. What should have been the albums closer, but was bizzarly placed in the middle, is the 10minute opus "We Will Fall". Sounding strangely like the Velvet Underground (due to John Cale's production), the song features Cale's droning viola, reverb drenched tom-tom beats, and a 'Holy Grail' style monk chant all the way through. Truly a stoner's thing! All in all, despite it's faults this is an essential purchase for any fan of rock.
on 26 January 2000
Self expression is hard to come by when you lack any talent or ability. This album just goes to show that with the smallest bit of ability, a pinch of skill and the simplest of chords and scales, something truly transcendent can be created. Hell, wasn't that what punk was all about? The bigger question is why do so many of these try hard musicians end up sounding so damn good? Lou Reed, Johnny Thunders, Richard Hell, Alan Vega and yes, even Iggy Pop and Ron Asheton. This album is just the b**locks. Every song burns with some of the greatest riffs created, lacking anything like the polish of fellow early stalwarts and riffmeisters Led Zepplin. Sounding ten times better also, for all their crudy roughness. Powerhouse drumming and Wah Wah noise to fry an egg on. Worth noting is the producer, none other than Welshman John Cale, bringing his noisy, avant garde sensibilties on the back of two other seminal, pre punk, Velvet Underground albums. This Album inspired many artists to pick up the guitar, learn a couple of chords and make music, including myself. This album hasn't aged a jot, unlike contempories The Doors, whose music The Stooges took to its logical conclusion, including Iggy's cavorting. Sound's fresher today than freshly caught fish, taken to the fresh market on freshday, and sold by Mr Fresh the fishmonger. Bow at the alter of apocalyptic guitar heaven.
on 4 July 2005
How to write and record an album in less than 24 hours. You don't get albums like that anymore. You certainly don't get a band covered with pimples in a studio with a producer in the calibre of John Cale.
Even more so when the songs are only half baked ideas. Back then, however, it was revolutionary. Nowdays, even with tons of pimples on your face, you're still expected to sound polished to death, and worse, with no pimples at all.
The great thing in writing and recording within 24 hours - like this one was - is that you can capture a very specific mood and sound. The benefits: it makes the album homogenous, and the improvisations help in making the result intersting even after 20 listens.
Immediate and raw - 'I Want To Be Your Dog' and 'No Fun' are easily amongst Iggy's best 10 songs ever.
on 25 November 2012
When this album was released in 1969 it was too out there and ahead of its time,to get mainstream acceptance.It is now regarded as a classic and a template for punk,that came 7 years later.The quality recording of this remastered edition,makes the album sound awesome,especially when played loud[the only way to hear it!].The songs...just listen and you'll understand! those guitar riffs,that voice,the bass,the drums its all here. This is well packaged,containing a decent booklet with plenty of info about the stooges and the recording of the album,plus some decent photos. Best tracks on 2nd disc are the full length versions of ann and no fun.If you're looking to discover the stooges,this is your way in.
on 18 January 2004
after being well and truly blown away by the stooges' 1973 lp 'raw power'(which, dear reader, if you don't already own, you should buy NOW, or preferably after you've read this review. it's one of the very best punk albums ever, but that's another story...), i bought their first, self-titled album.
i was expecting more hard-charging, drugged-up, proto-punk-rock, but soon discovered otherwise. 'the stooges' has more elements of rock 'n' roll than the following two albums, 'funhouse' and 'raw power' (both of which are absolutely amazing). but i must add that this is not a fault at all. it's really refreshing to hear how this amazing and very influential group began.
1.'1969' is the classic story of teenage angst and boredom. 'another year with nothing to do', iggy drawls. here we see the first sign of ron asheton's very cool wah-wah guitar sound that dominates the cd. nice and upbeat.
2.'i wanna be your dog'. oh yeah. this is it. the one. the song everybody should be subjected to at least once, preferably at full volume. easily my fave here and definetely one of the best rock/pop songs ever. that relentless piano note is just the icing on the cake. brilliant.
3. oh dear. 'we will fall' is a real let-down. an awful 10 minute dirge with very weird chanting. very un-stooges indeed. my theory is that the stooges, being the lazy bunch they were (no offense, but iggy himself would probably agree with me there!), couldn't be bothered to write another 3 songs, so they used the avant-garde genius john cale and his viola to create this horrible song. (NOTE: i feel compelled to do a little history lesson here. skip this bracketed part if you're not interested.
john cale was a founding member of the late 60s band velvet underground along with fellow genius lou reed. the velvet underground are truly one of the best bands ever in the whole wide world, and the very first punk band. their influence on pop culture and music in general cannot be measured. i could go on forever, but if you like the stooges sound, please PLEASE go check out the vu's first 2 albums, 'the velvet underground and nico' and 'white light/white heat'. thanks for bothering to read this part!)
4.'no fun' is another rock classic. it was later covered by the sex pistols (buy their 'b*****ks' album NOW, if you haven't already got it.), but the original's the best.
5.the stupidly-named 'real cool time' IS stupid, but you can't beat it for maximum wah-wah and power. good rock song.
6.'ann' is a real grower. it's a lot slower than any other cuts that appear here, but i think it balances out the album. a great slow rock song.
7.'not right' has a great guitar line going on. coupled with the ig's raw, crude vocals and lyrics, it makes for another very cool rocker.
8.'little doll' isn't the best track here. a very average rock song, i think. nice guitar, though.
overall, this is a great rock album. anyone should be able to appreciate this, certainly any punk. after hearing this i can guarantee you'll say "gosh! i must go and buy every stooges album i can find!". they are really addictive!
i would recommend both the 2nd album 'funhouse' and the last album 'raw power' to buy next. as they progressed, the stooges' sound became a lot harsher, with 'raw power' being hailed as an early punk/hard-rock classic by every critic and his mother.
so, 4 stars for 'the stooges', but ONLY cuz 1/3 of an otherwise brilliant and classic proto-punk album is ruined by 'we will fall'.
I'm reviewing the The Stooges' original album, not the double disc reissue, which is surely of interest only to the serious collector. Much is made, especially in the sleevenotes, of this album's influence on punk, etc, but rarely of its antecedents. Sure, it influenced what the Sex Pistols did and that's hugely significant, but the third album 'Raw Power' is much closer to late 1970s punk rock and is a far better album.
'1969' looks both back and forward, which is ironic in a song which purports to be about the present. Musically, it recalls Bo Diddley and the first wave of British r&b, with the addition of the wah wah pedal, an effect which is overdone to the point of tedium across the album. Lyrically, like most of the songs, it says little. The Stooges main ploy is repetition, their simple but relentless riffs working up a feverish groove and this extends to Iggy Pop who keeps repeating mundanities such as 'It's 1969, baby'. What is forward-looking, however, is the line, 'Another year with nothing to do'. There was plenty of social and political protest in music at this time, but issues of personal frustration and boredom were largely swept under the carpet until 1977.
The outstanding 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' sounds like a continuation of what obscure, angst-ridden US bands like The Seeds and Count Five had been doing for a few years. While their predecessors had been writing largely misogynistic lyrics, however, The Stooges simply lusted. It's noticeable too that across the album, Pop often sings 'we' rather than the selfish 'I'.
'We Will Fall' is the biggest surprise, like a mantric chant performed in a stupor, but highly effective. 'No Fun' is, of course, the direct line to the Pistols and sounds almost as if it could have been written for them. After this, however, The Stooges begin to repeat themselves, a symptom of a band of limited technical ability. Moreover, 'Not Right' simply sounds like a rip-off of early Kinks, though many other famous bands have been guilty of that. I don't agree with other reviewers that the stuff this was up against, such as Led Zeppelin, is dross. For me, the important thing is a healthy variety. 'The Stooges' stands out only because there was a dearth of this kind of approach to music when it was made. It's an album of exciting moments, but is by no means perfect.
on 27 May 2006
A great album, and inspiring as a debut! Realeased in 1969, this and Fun House are such visionary albums which many major artist of the '70's must credit as their inspiration. Personally more a fan of Fun House but this still has some brilliant tracks on it. I'm not much of a punk/rock fan but this album is too good to not like!
The Ig made 5 supreme albums transcending the dross at the time and leaving an indellible dirty stain on the threadbare tapestry of art and rawk for the future. This was the first in that series. The others of course are the next album, Raw Power, Idiot and Lust for Life.
The Ig has a white soul voice with power gravelled pipes of pan communicating the birth of the cosmos when he desires. Two horns on his head, eyes of pure lust, his tongue dripping beneath his knees with his tail on full display, the IG howls to the patron saints of onanism when he sees a piece of skirt...a woman to the IG is like a moving oil painting, with each new revelation he screams his paens of the erotique to the skies...it is a call and response...this explains the power of these adult nursery rhymes... Anne, Little Girl, Dog all exude a whiff of musk into a satiated atmosphere....one sniff and its easy to follow the scent.
Other main ingredients are war and conflict thrown into his pot and imbibed. Jim is not just self obsessed with possessing, he connects his outer chaos as a reflection to his inner core...the world is his reflection.
Can you imagine any moderne commenting on the current set of wars without appearing righteous and po faced? Ig mentions the big one, in passing, in the context of his own inertia, as wars spread across the USA, whilst he is sitting around with nothing to do. At the time the weathermen, panthers, manson, anti vietnam protests, watts and countless other shifts to the abyss were racking through the backwaters a wel as the main drag.
As a counterpoint to the inner and outer violence the Ig becomes spiritual. In keeping with the times he draws on the east to produce a haunting piece of music, We Will Fall. No I am not one of those who skips this track, it is integral to the experience. When I listen to this album I take a deep draught and then exhale it slowly, savouring every moment of its entirety. "We will fall" is a slow ironic piece of experimentation. It is as if Iggy stumbles into a Krishma meeting and asks the way to the nearest bar whilst musing on his inner voice. The "Buddhist chants" paens to peace, Jim predicts his fall into the sack mirroring the end of the world on its eve of destruction. The subtlety and magnitude of this track should never be over looked rock fiends by the rest of the chaos. Every album needs an anchor point to highlight the chaos.,
In keeping it simple the Stooges took their cue from the black blues artists rather than the British copyists, becoming the template for the eventual American cultural renaissance. Whereas GB underwent the meaningless meandering jams of prog rock...man, the Stooges kept it raw and vile. This formula produced the backbone for No Fun and their eventual grace on the world stage.
Interestingly this record bombed on release and languished in the 4th Division until the Pistols picked No Fun and launched the Stooges to another generaton. In another piece of synchonicity, Bowie had pre Pistols discovered Jim's talent and had saved him from complete self destruction. Jim was in the right time and right place. His next set of masterpieces marks the king of chaos meeting the emperors of order when he collided with Kraftwerk. These were the sublime Berlin albums.
Recorded in a day 40 years ago, listening to it now it still sounds as fresh as momma's apple pie whipped with cream....Lucky Jim
on 27 February 2013
What can I say?
This album is a classic by itself, but with the additional versions it is a masterpiece!