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.