Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Punks Before Punk Happened
on 29 September 2012
The music on this 4 CD live compilation is like nothing The Stooges recorded for any of their studio albums. It's Punk Rock in the purest, most authentic and most accepted modern sense of the word. The riffs are straight out of 1976, think turbocharged Sex Pistols or Damned.
Yet these recordings stem from the beginning of the decade, 1971, which Punk archaeologists have us knowing as a time when the New York Dolls or Velvet Underground were sowing Punks' seeds. Those bands may have had the Punk attitude and made an aggressive and unruly noise, but this collection provides unquestionable evidence that The Stooges were 5 years ahead of either when it came to creating an actual Punk Rock sound.
The only reason this material had zero influence on the development of Punk was because it was released almost 40 years after Punk happened. Had this music made it onto a studio album, Punk, as the modern world know it, would have been born in 1971. With that in mind one can only ponder what effect that may have had on the development of modern music, because there would have been no reason for the comparably sedate Ramones or Sex Pistols to exist. There would have been no Punk explosion in the UK in the mid-seventies because The Stooges would already have made that same noise, faster and more viciously and more lyrically offensively, five years previously.
But enough conjecture about alternative history. How does this CD set sound?
Well. If you're a hardcore Stooges fan you're probably used to bootleg quality live releases. And to the average ear these audience recordings would be considered as such.
In the world of live Stooges releases the sonics of the first couple of discs of this set stand head and shoulders above anything that has come before. Anything. I cannot state that hard enough.
The sole flaw is that Iggy's vocal were captured at an incredibly low volume throughout, often being almost inaudible. But I would rather have that and a backing band with a greater slap-in-the-face clarity and power than what we've been used to with previous Stooges live albums. And what a band The Stooges were at this point, powered by (for the only time on record) a twin-guitar attack from Asheton and Williamson.
If only Easy Action would issue the first two discs as a budget priced double-CD, allowing more of the world to wake up to exactly how The Stooges were operating years ahead of their time.... and to lament how they never made it into the studio with this line-up or material.
So, to sum up. In the world of conventional live recordings this would probably rate one star. In the world of Stooges live recordings it's a solid 5. I'm removing one star simply because by virtue of being a box set its kept out of the hands of the masses.
So, 4 stars from me.