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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 1 May 2010
DISC 1

The first disc features the long out-of-print Bowie mix of the album and it never sounded better; certainly, this re-mastering is a vast improvement over the previous CD version, being far clearer and with a better lower-end response than before. Of course, it could never reach the bass intensity of the more up until now readily available Iggy Pop remix from 1997, but this version was way overdue for a face lift and it has finally come to pass.

Which version (Bowie or Pop) is better? The answer to that question will always lie with the beholder. To my mind, both versions are indispensable and now they are both available (if purchased separately) in the best sound possible to date. Sony really dropped the ball on this however. Raw Power clocks in at 34 minutes and only the Bowie version is provided here making for a first CD that is only a little bit over a half hour. With all the space necessary and no licensing problems involved, why is the Pop version not featured here for comparison?

DISC 2

No complaints for this one. So very little of the early live Stooges survives. What does is generally from acceptable to point-blank awful in quality and have been issued as bootlegs or semi-legal releases. This new set finally brings a well-recorded live show into the light after all these years of collecting dust in the Sony warehouse. While it is not quite a 'soundboard' super-sounding live recording, it is close enough to hear what the original Stooges sounded like back in the day... far better and best available of any 70s live Stooges recording to date (so stop your bitching). It is a most excellent concert, lasting nearly an hour with Iggy Pop in confrontational fine form. On a technical note, there were some problems with James Williamson's guitar that night during the first 10 minutes or so, but they were resolved and his slash-and-burn pyrotechnics never sounded better.

This disc is finished out with two unreleased tracks: Doojiman and Head On. The former is truly an outtake; recorded at the time the rest of Raw Power was and probably omitted because it didn't 'flow' with the rest of the album. That said, the acrobatic Iggy Pop vocal work on this track is probably the most extreme and enjoyable of all studio tracks he ever recorded. The latter track is an outtake from one of the famous CBS sessions with Scott Thurston on piano, recorded subsequent to the release of Raw Power. It does not sound like it has been issued before on one of the many bootlegs from this time period. While a little out of place, it rounds out a fine disc.

Highly recommended to all, completists, fans and newcomers.

FYI

For completists, there is yet another CD entitled Rough Power on Bomp Records and featuring very early, pre-Bowie/pre-Pop mixes from early 1972. While the sound quality on this is merely adequate, if you have to have it all, get this too.
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on 2 August 2007
Giving this four stars for the kick ass songs on it, but the mastering? Ouch! I got the re-mastered version in the hope of more depth compared to the tinny, bass light original. Frequency wise, these are definitely more balanced mixes, but they're blighted by being pushed into the digital extreme.

I totally agree with another reviewer here. A hot ANALOG mix pushing into the red would've been good and kicking and could've then been transferred to the digital medium and mastered at a reasonable loudness level preserving some nice 'grungey' harmonics. Sadly, though, these seem to be digital re-mixes mastered far beyond the digital threshold. The first track averages -4dB (CDs have a dynamic range of more than 90 db meaning that this track has only 4db). The result is BAD DISTORTION with clips everywhere and an overpowering mid range. Maybe this is some global irony? The raw power is always there in the songs themselves, but you have to dig it out from either bass weak or saturation drenched versions? A classic album nonetheless.
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on 8 October 2011
Amazon seems to be using these Raw Power reviews for a number of different versions of the album, so to be clear, I'm reviewing the 1997 CD release remixed by Iggy Pop (COL 4851762).

Now. As a consequence of Pop's remix of this album, everything which made the original Raw Power so unique - and so "off the wall" - has been destroyed. Everything.

In his quest to remix the album to appeal to the modern "alternative" audience Iggy actually succeeded in making The Stooges sound no different to every other band on the block during the Grunge era. He turned this unique album into corporate noise.

And the mastering itself?! Iggy clearly had no clue that pushing everything into the red with digital technology has a very different - and damaging - effect on the music in comparison to doing the same with analogue technology.

This CD was one of the first casualties of the "loudness war" (Do yourself a huge favour and Google it if you don't know what that is).

So, one star purely because I can't give a minus.

I'd recommend you buy the original unremastered and unremixed CD instead. It's weird, it's wacky, it ebbs, it flows, sometimes things are too quiet in the mix, and sometimes things leap out of the speakers at you without warning. THAT'S punk. THAT's rock and roll. THAT's Raw power.
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on 8 April 2013
I've been listening to Raw Power (on vinyl) since the mid 1980s. I've always loved Bowie's mix, partly because I'm a massive fan of his '70s work, but principally because it sounds so disconcertingly, excitingly WRONG I think?

As Bowie himself said, "...the most absurd situation I encountered when I was recording was the first time I worked with Iggy Pop. He wanted me to mix Raw Power, so he brought the 24-track tape in, & he put it up. He had the band on one track, lead guitar on another, & him on a third. Out of 24 tracks there were just three tracks that were used. He said 'see what you can do with this'. I said, 'Jim, there's nothing to mix'. So we just pushed the vocal up and down a lot. On at least four or five songs that was the situation, including "Search & Destroy." That's got such a peculiar sound because all we did was occasionally bring the lead guitar up and take it out."

Being so familiar with the original "botched" version, I was initially quite surprised at how different Iggy's Legacy mix sounded. Tracks that originally faded out now hurtle onwards to a chaotic climax, vocals & new guitar parts pop up in unexpected places, & the rhythm section - essentially a relentless, just-about-audible rumble - sounds incredible, though you have to listen to the album (loud) from an adjoining room to fully appreciate it (!).

Raw Power itself is an utterly flawless suite of 8 ragged, savage songs - even the ballads are malevolent & damaged. 40 years on, it's probably even more essential a listen than it was first time 'round, in a "Yep, this is how screwed-up rock music USED to sound, kids" way (sorry if that sounds ever-so slightly patronising - it's true though).

In conclusion: you need BOTH versions of Raw Power. Pick up the Legacy remix cheap on CD, & find a used (& preferably battered) copy of the original Columbia album on vinyl. It won't cost you more than a tenner & you won't regret it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 July 2012
Quite a claim, I recognise, but, for me, Iggy And The Stooges' 1973 masterpiece Raw Power just about surpasses The Ramones debut album to claim this iconic position. With an original (1973) co-mix by Iggy and David Bowie and a subsequent (and unnecessary) remix in 1996 (involving Bruce Dickinson - don't ask!), Raw Power's, well, power has not diminished one iota in the (nearly) 40 intervening years. Of course, we're talking here about a band fronted by probably the most charismatic performer since rock and roll was invented (sorry, fans of the King) and a band and sound that has spawned many and various imitators, and whose songs have been covered by all and sundry (one of my personal favourites being The Damned's version of I Feel Alright - the alternatively titled 1970 - on their seminal 1977 debut album Damned Damned Damned).

From the moment that James Williamson's guitar riff kicks off album opener Search And Destroy (alongside Anarchy In The UK, punk's most iconic song) as Iggy's whining vocal intones, 'I'm a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm', the tone of Raw Power has most definitely been set. This is not an album for the faint-hearted, as songs with titles such as Gimme Danger, You're Pretty Face Is Going To Hell and Death Trip attest. However, amongst all this apparent nihilism up pops some remarkably sophisticated (and indeed melodic) songwriting. Gimme Danger (my favourite song on the album) is an acoustic guitar-driven masterclass in atmospheric mood music and, for me, is highly reminiscent of some of the great songs by Mr Osterberg's fellow Detroit-ite (OK, maybe there is no such word) Alice Cooper - the sublime Desperado from Killer springs to mind. Similarly, I Need Somebody, a tormented lament for love, is a mid-tempo number, featuring acoustic guitar, as well as some top electric soloing from Williamson, and showcases some of Iggy's most idiosyncratic vocals, full of snarls, croons, ooohs and guttural exclamations.

Meanwhile, Penetration is a pulsating, lyrically suggestive piledriver of a song, featuring another virtuoso vocal turn (animal yelps this time) and some searing guitar breaks. On the other hand, if its raw, uncompromising up-tempo punk you want then either of Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell or Shake Appeal (the latter another favourite of mine) should fit the bill.

In its genre, an album that is unsurpassed.
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on 27 April 2010
DISC 1

The first disc features the long out-of-print Bowie mix of the album and it never sounded better; certainly, this re-mastering is a vast improvement over the previous CD version, being far clearer and with a better lower-end response than before. Of course, it could never reach the bass intensity of the more readily available Iggy Pop remix from 1997, but this version was way overdue for a face lift and it has finally come to pass.

Which version (Bowie or Pop) is better? The answer to that question will always lie with the beholder. To my mind, both versions are indispensable and now they are both available (if purchased separately) in the best sound possible to date. Here however is the first and greatest example of how Sony dropped the ball. Raw Power clocks in at 34 minutes and only the Bowie version is provided here making for a first CD that is only a little bit over a half hour. With all the space necessary and no licensing problems involved, why is the Pop version not featured here for comparison? Spending all this money for a deluxe package should mean all available material that can fit on the space allotted should have been used.

DISC 2

No complaints for this one. So very little of the early live Stooges survives. What does is generally from acceptable to point-blank awful in quality and have been issued as bootlegs or semi-legal releases. This new set finally brings a well-recorded live show into the light after all these years of collecting dust in the Sony warehouse. While it is not quite a 'soundboard' super-sounding live recording, it is close enough to hear what the original Stooges sounded like back in the day. And it is a most excellent concert, lasting nearly an hour with Iggy Pop in confrontational fine form. On a technical note, there were some problems with James Williamson's guitar that night during the first 10 minutes or so, but they were resolved and his slash-and-burn pyrotechnics never sounded better.

This disc is finished out with two unreleased tracks: Doojiman and Head On. The former is truly an outtake; recorded at the time the rest of Raw Power was and probably omitted because it didn't 'flow' with the rest of the album. That said, the acrobatic Iggy Pop vocal work on this track is probably the most extreme and enjoyable of all studio tracks he ever recorded. The latter track is an outtake from one of the famous CBS sessions with Scott Thurston on piano, recorded subsequent to the release of Raw Power. It does not sound like it has been issued before on one of the many bootlegs from this time period. While a little out of place, it rounds out a fine disc.

DISC 3

Sony really drops the ball again here with the track selection. The first glaring example is the inclusion of three already available songs from the Pop mix of Raw Power and labeled as 'bonus' tracks. No they are not and they constitute 3 of 8 tracks on this CD. Again, that entire version should have filled out disc 1 and they are pointless here on disc 3. The remaining tracks are only two tracks from the CBS rehearsals (previously available on bootleg/semi-legal releases, albeit in better sound here) as well as three more outtakes from the actual Raw Power sessions. Of import is Hey Peter (another outtake), an early version of Penetration, and an alternate mix of Death Trip. A note within the accompanying book states some of these tracks came from a recently found tape. Well then, why the hell wasn't more of this material included here instead what ended up on it? All that said, the aforementioned Raw Power outtakes and alternate mixes are really good and makes for a huge consolation prize.

DVD

It's only 40 minutes long and has virtually no vintage footage (but as far as I know, there is little more than a few minutes here and there of The Stooges from the 1970s. As a documentary, it is quite satisfactory and inclusion of live material from 2009 (the first to be released with James Williamson on guitar after all these years) is good. Be aware however, Iggy calls up audience members to dance on the stage with him and you cannot see the band at all during the course of this one and only performance clip from the show. Strange choice. Cannot help but wonder why more recent live material was included however, especially considering the fact there was room for it on this short DVD.

PACKAGING

The whole thing is packaged in a 7" x 7" box, made to look like a well-worn original LP. That's a nice touch. Inside, the CDs are slipped into a 7" x 7" folder with a few photographs printed on the outside. While not really a major quibble, accessing the CDs is not all that easy. There is also a 48-page book of the same size with a number of essays, quotes from contemporaries and those subsequently influenced by Raw Power, and many never before seen Mick Rock photographs originally taken for the album's release. This is a good thing. Furthermore, there are 5 'glossy' photograph reproductions included. The box is rounded out by a reproduction of the original Raw Power b/w Search and Destroy 7" single as it was released in Japan. Overall, very nice packaging.

SUMMARY

So, is it worth buying Raw Power yet again and if so, which version... this or the 'budget' 2-CD version (without Disc 3 bonuses, the DVD and the packaging)? Well, for any long-term Stooges fan or completist, the answer is without question, this version as it contains enough 'new' material to certainly make it a necessity. The packaging is impressive too. But those on budget will find the meat of the matter on Disc 2 available both here and on the lower-priced issue.

Highly recommended to all... both old Stooges fans and newcomers alike.

ADDENDUM

For completists, there is yet another CD entitled Rough Power on Bomp Records and featuring very early, pre-Bowie/pre-Pop mixes from early 1972. While the sound quality on this is merely adequate, if you have to have it all, get this too.
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Iggy And The Stooges are a band that outpace everyone else I've ever seen. A harnessed explosion. A targeted, directed force of power. The songs, the sound of angry twenty somethings at the edge of poverty and trading on the fag ends of battered dreams of escape from conformity, sound still true. There might be nothing but old songs, but the passion and the integrity with which they are dispatched - both on record then and live now - makes this nothing more and nothing less than a ferecious statement that some things never change, the dreams we had in our youth are often still the ideals we hold after decades of experience, and that this is not nostalgia, but the essential consistency of the human condition.

"Raw Power" is an amazing album, let down by poor recordings. . There's poetry in this electricity, in Pop's vocabulary of a ruined, post-Vietnam world, which resembles a state of war and poverty. Therefore, these songs sound utterly of this present moment as well in an age of spiritual austeurity. And each song is a diamond, a nuclear weapon, lead by a voice that is part animal, part Sinatra, and verbally the match of any superior wordsmith.

At last, the `original' Bowie mix is back in print after thirteen years in the doldrums. With Iggy's aggressive - and brutal - digital remix being the only version most people have heard since 1997, what frabjous day it is to see the original mix back in print.

Where Iggy's mix pushed everything into the red, added every last bark and scowl from Iggy, and plundered the mix with surfeits of guitar whilst pushing the barely audible rhythm section into a fried, radioactive mess, the Bowie mix is far superior. Undeniably, the Bowie mix lacks the relentless anger and sonic roar of the Iggy mix : but the Iggy mix is widely acknowledged as one of the most compressed, and unlistenable examples of the loudness wars taken to its extremes. This has, at last been rectified. There's fierce debate as to which is better. To my ears, the original Bowie mix is a clear winner, it resembles the sound captured on vinyl by the band in their original incarnation, and has the added benefit of being clear and concise. To a Stooges devotee, one requires both, as the mixes are so different as to resemble two separate albums to all intents and purposes.

The Legacy Edition adds a second, live disc : barring the full final concert available on the 2-CD reissue of "Metallic KO", this is the essential Stooges live document, as the band perform for a frantic hour through the majority of "Raw Power" material and a handful of songs never officially recorded. It's wonderful to hear gems such as the obscure "Heavy Liquid", "Open Up And Bleed" and "Cock In My Pocket" in pristine quality. They deserve to be better known. The live performance also captures the "Raw Power" songs live in the finest quality known at the time.

The second disc is appended by a previously unreleased version of "Head On" which is not particularly good or well recorded, and the holy grail of out-takes, the not even rumoured "Doojiman" - which, despite sounding absolutely brilliant in production terms - is also utterly rubbish ; a four bar jam repeated endlessly whilst Iggy barks and howls, an angry seal with a bucket over his head.

Overall, this version of "Raw Power" is the album as it was always meant to, and always should have been heard, alongside an excellent live set taken at the apex of the bands live work of the time. It's a great album made even greater. Absolute, Raw Power.
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on 3 July 2011
I have reviewed this before, giving it a glowing report as "incomparably superior" to the Bowie mix. I appear before you today, head bowed and asking for forgiveness. The Bowie mix, in its new remastered form on the Legacy edition, is incomparably better than this. The loss of dynamic range due to letting the dials stray into the red too much simply cannot be endured for long. I even began to question whether this album (the one Nick Kent unhesitatingly named as his favourite album from the 70s in an interview) was as great as I'd always thought. Fortunately sense has prevailed and I see that the (remastered) Bowie mix is the one to have. It's true that the bass is still too light and the drums sometimes drop a little too far back in the mix, but the voice and the guitar just tear the air apart like perfectly synchronised thunder and lightning. And it shouldnt be forgotten that, for example at a legendary concert at the Scala in London, Iggy and James Williamson performed this music as a duo. Get it for the live material, but you'll find yourself playing the new Bowie mix of the album itself.
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on 28 December 2015
Firstly, please can Amazon stop lumping reviews for different issues of the same CD together?, and also can reviewers please stop giving one-star reviews to a brilliant CD just because they don't like the particular mix or remastering? For this reason "Raw Power", a seminal album, is given just four stars instead of the five it deserves. Only one of the one star reviews is actually from someone who dislikes the album. Most of the moans seem to be about Iggy's mix, praising Bowie's original mix, and yet when Iggy's mix was released I remember lots of rave reviews and much slagging off of Bowie's. Why are such things so important to such people that they give one star to an album they admit is a classic? I've heard Iggy's mix and yes, it's loud, but the album is still brilliant.
Having said all that, this is my favourite Stooges album, all three are brilliant but I've always liked Raw Power the best, I had it as an LP in the 70s (Bowie's mix of course) and that is the mix I prefer. Every single track is a classic and much as I love the first two albums, James Williamson really adds something to the Stooges, his guitar work on "Search and Destroy" and "Death Trip" is just brilliant. Get the double CD version with the live CD "Georgia Peaches"and two extra tracks.
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on 23 May 2015
As Amazon, almost always, fail to separate reviews for different versions, then it's a good job I've got both the '97 Iggy remix plus the 2010 remastered, original, Bowie mix. Are either the definitive version? No. Are either any good? Well, yes in their own imperfect way.

'Raw Power', despite having, probably, the most mucked-up mixes in the history of mixdom, radiates such, well, raw power, that nothing can spoil the underlying brilliance of the album. Iggy's, 'loudness wars', mix, is almost painful to listen to unless you turn the voulme down, plus any bass boost off, whilst the Bowie remaster - even though it definitely improves on the original - requires a volume, and bass, boost. If only they'd melded the two versions! Still, once you make the aural adjustments you feel comfortable with, there's little to choose from; Iggy's has more distorted oomph, but Bowie's has that great piercing, trebly, guitar sound.

Every single song here is fantastic, yet nothng can surpass the sheer up-youness of the opening 'Search And Destroy'; surely The Stooges calling card. 'Gimme Danger' slows things down a tad, with Iggy's sinister overtones complementing the lusher (well, lush for them anyway!) band arrangements. 'Penetration' sees everyone whip up a rawk and roll storm, whilst the title track features some great howling and growling set against rough, raw, blistering instrumentation. And so it goes; never letting up, never letting you down. (Both versions also come with interesting booklets.)

Where the Legacy edition triumphs, is the extra CD:- 'Georgia Peaches', a well-preserved 1973 Atlantic club performance, from an aborted radio broadcast. Of superior bootleg quality, it grabs by the throat from the outset, and shakes you about like a rabid dog until the final seconds. Scott Thurston's Jerry Lee-like piano riffs lend this a quasi '50s feel, James Williamson's guitar gets sucked into the Ashetons' low end, whilst Iggy howls, pleads, snarls and roars his way through it all, like a man possessed.

There's a frisson of audience baiting along the way; some outstanding bass playing from the great, late, Ron; wonderfully stretched, caustic, renditions of most of 'RP', plus a couple of lol 'steals' along the way, particularly 'Heavy Liquid' (Led Zep). 'Cock In My Pocket' leaves little to the imagination, as a title, although Iggy's vocals are so blurred you can hardly hear a clear word!

He does sail close to the wind, lyrically, at times, but was/is Iggy an unreconstructed misogynist? Hmm, probably not, since many of the 'questionable' lyrics are either so OTT they actually become lol bonkers, OR are turned on their head - particularly in a live context - as Mr Osterberg pokes fun at himself.

One of the best albums of all-time. As to which is the better version: basically a draw!
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