The Stooges-YOU DON'T WANT MY NAME YOU WANT MY ACTION 4-CD set (Easy Action England, available through Forced Exposure)
Iggy Pop-IGGY & ZIGGY-CLEVELAND 1977 CD (Cleopatra, England)
You might not think so being the lousy atheist that you are, but in my heart of hearts I truly do believe that CHRISTMAS HAS COME EARLY THIS YEAR! And you wanna know why? It's because that long-promised four-Cee-Dee Stooges live in '71 set has finally driven its way into my holy boudoir and only a jerk would admit that it's not a top notch package t'boot documenting perhaps the least-known period of that group's career other'n their early oil-drum bongolated days! I'm sure this means very little to the casual reader who tuned into this blog thinking he was gonna get a hefty dose of sweetness and light, but for people like me who are such Stooge maniacs that we'd even sit through some pretty cruddy recordings to get our jollies IT MEANS ALL THE WORLD which is why we really go for such releases as these which thankfully have been given the same obsessive care and detail in packaging that was once reserved for Emerson Lake and Palmer albums! And really, forty years after the fact is a whole lot better'n ten-thousand 'n besides, this is the only stuff keeping me alive!
Yeah, remember those days when there was a strong mystique surrounding such groups as the Stooges, MC5, Velvet Underground, Thirteenth Floor Elevators etc. because of the outright lack of solid recorded output including their then-extremely hard to latch onto albums? We were hungry and rabid for moremoreMORE, but outside of those impossible-to-find legitimate releases and perhaps a scant live tape flying around here and there what was there to satisfy our mad cravings? Cravings brought upon by all of those Lester Bangs articles that were diving deep into the legend and dredging up long forgotten songs and performances that were years away from any sort of proper or improper for that matter documentation. It sure added a lot to the legend surrounding these groups, whose live performances now seemed more like masses devoted to Cthulu than mere music recitals, and at least to my ever-rotating beanie these albums, shows and even rumors associated with such acts was more or less the presentation of a MYTHOS that was so large, so all-encompassing and so beyond music that one would think that the world would have ended upon completion of said performance!
By the eighties items such as SWEET SISTER RAY and the Five on Detroit television performing "Black to Comm" began creeping out of the collector's enclaves at least proving that the rockspeak surrounding such groups was not merely more idle rockcrit hype. Eventually the Stooge rarities began filtering out as well, some being brilliant while others iffy, and for the most part all were from the Stooges' RAW POWER era in which we could hear a group disintegrating before our very ears loving the personal destruction all the more rabid fans we may be. It was all dandy enough for me despite what a lotta naysayers who were upset with all of the repeats in their collection would say, but what I also wanted to lend ear to were the early Stooges recordings with Ron Asheton in the guitar chair. Maybe it have been asking too much to want to hear an album or ten with the Stooges live in Detroit '69 (y'know, when Lillian Roxon described their act as a cross between Elvis Presley and the Marx Brothers) or even ones with Iggy banging on the Hawaiian guitar and "Jim-O-Phone" not to mention tracks from the FUNHOUSE tour where such unheard wonders as "Way Down in Egypt" were presented for audiences who probably didn't care one whit, but what was the harm in lusting for such deeply-archived sounds anyway???? I mean, what Stooges fan would not want to hear something along these lines especially given the rant and rave everyone from Bangs to Natalie Stoogeling was drumming up on the national scene via their respective soapboxes?!?!?!
I guess we'll have to wait for future volumes to hear those monstrosities, but for now at least we got this nice prime example of the Stooges during their original crackup Spring '71 roaring through some shows not only in hometown Detroit but in New York City and St. Louis where I'm sure that more than the Screamin' Mee-Mees and Hot Scott Fischer were front and center! Easy Action did a good job packaging this one...no shoddy long box and snoozer graphics here since it all comes in a snat mini-book like all those recent International Artists reissues complete with a beaut of an insert telling you some of the inside stories surrounding these shows whilst presenting for the first time some rare live snaps of Iggy doing the Goldfinger bit just to make you happy! (Heck, there are even some loose pix that pop up in pocket #6 which you can stick on your dresser mirror just like Larry Mondello's sister did with her glossy of "Kookie from the television show" as Larry so succinctly put it! And best of all, the sound isn't that mass of roar that you heard when you slipped your Starfighter label copy of the St. Louis show onto the old victrola, but surprisingly listenable to the point of being about as clear as those sopor nation kids probably heard it at the time! Certainly not "half-mastered" pristine clear or anything like that, but quite hard and heavy yet discernible and what the old HOT WACKS book would have called "VG" back during the days of bootlegs pressed on recycled floormats. And I can't complain about that!
All four shows have the standard 1971 set list starting with the perfect opener "I Got a Right" a good six years before the Siamese label take followed by the raver "You Don't Want My Name" also a good six years before that Matt Gimmick guy recorded the thing on his lonesome making me wonder how he got to hear the original in the first place! That being followed by "Fresh Rag" (a Tampax commercial in the making) as well as a downright deconstruction of "Who Do You Love" which bears about as much resemblance to Diddley's as Blue Oyster Cult's "This Ain't The Summer Of Love" does to the Imperial Dogs. Closing out the shows are "Big Time Bum" and "Do You Want My Love"...more Stooge energy sounding quite FUNHOUSE/RAW POWER cusp to devour and yeah neophytes might wanna pass this up or at least cop one disc for the ol' archives but the old timers'll groove to the uniqueness, like when Iggy starts crooning "The Shadow Of Your Smile" and the band closes out in one of those feedback-drenched tortures of cacophony that seemed to be oh the rage back then!
Greater thrills abound on the final disc where we get to hear the not only the tour kickoff gig at the Valleydale Ballroom in Detroit but excerpts from the very last show of the series at Wampler's Lake where not only are we treated to an instrumental number but Iggy and band in the audience chatting it up! And what's that closing out the disque but the exact same version of "What Ya Gonna Do" that people have been passing off as Stooges live '68 or '69 for quite a long time. It's taken from the exact same source as all of those other dupes as well because the thing dies out before it comes to its proper completion just like the version you've heard for the past two decades. Naturally this makes me wonder what other Stooge mis-takes and downright prefabrications do exist out there in Stoogemania land!
I kinda wished that the one gig w/o Iggy where some teenaged fan did all of the singing and Ig-mitations was on here tho...I believe Ron Asheton said that one was even recorded so why the hush hush about it anyway? But I guess there's always another volume of this stuff to contend with somewhere down the line, and I know that I can wait for it if I just control myself a bit. Can you? Didn't think so either!
***After listening to the Stooges romping through the above shows with total abandon and elan this IGGY & ZIGGY set, which has appeared in many formats over the past three decades, sounds like total denouement. Of course you could say that about Iggy's entire solo career which if anything proves that the guy's even more of a chameleon than mentor Bowie shifting and changing through so many phases in order to meet approval with the public at large usually falling flat on his face for his efforts. At least here the guy's more or less in tune with a late-seventies underground none-dare-call-it-punk mode, definitely more relaxed than he was in the Stooges true but perhaps less keyed up and as trashy-good as the groups during the day who were influenced by him. A fun time's to be had by all, but after the total eruption of the entire Stooges career this is mere time passing.
***The Imperial Dogs-LIVE IN LONG BEACH (OCTOBER 30, 1974) DVD (ID Music, available through the group's own site posted to the left)
Thought I shouldn't leave w/o spouting off about this new release, a DVD featuring an entire videotaped gig by those Los Angelean practitioners of the original heavy metal form the Imperial Dogs, recorded in living b&w in front of an audience of thrill-seeking Cal State students the day before Halloween 1974! Yes, the archival digs just keep on comin', and if you've listened to the above Stooges releases and still want more why not give these legendary proto-punkers a try! Featuring a nice portion of the future BACK DOOR MAN/Zippers entourage both in front of and behind the scenes, the Imperial Dogs not only work out a few of their "chestnuts" like "This Ain't The Summer of Love" and their blistering cover of "Waiting For The Man" during this hour-long gig but toss out some newies unheard by these ears and boy are they fantastico! You could call these guys Los Angeles' answer to Rocket From The Tombs, but at this stage in the game those Clevelanders were still mixing it up as a comedy rock band anyway and besides these Dogs weren't quite as avant garde despite their self-proclaimed "avant punk" tag! But what's in these descriptions anyway but just anudder way of explaining things that aren't always explainable to either children or hardened rock fans?
Visually this is akin to those CBGB cybercasts that I used to love tuning into, though like I said earlier this is in b&w and the performance really does pack a whole lot more of a wallop than a number of those shows I would see at the Gallery where some flittering frail of a femme would wax on eloquently about Joni Mitchell before performing her own special brand of anti-folk. It is charged and fully packed, and while viewing this one kinda gets the feeling akin to that of some twelve-year-old who stumbled upon this show and had his life changed for the better. A definite wanna-see for those few of you reg'lar readers who sorta miss the hard-edged crash and excitement of what rock used to bring a good 35-plus years back before it all became amerindie college radio muzak!
***TWO WEEK LATER POSTSCRIPT THAT I KNOW ALL OF YOU BLOG TO COMM FANS WOULD WANT TO GET IN ON THE KNOW ABOUT: Some of you may have arrived at this post via a link up via a blog called THE BARMAN'S RANT which for all practical purposes is an offshoot of the long-running "I-94" website which features a variety of rock-related items mostly of a Detroit high energy rock or Australian derivation thereof. Anyhow, for some maybe not-so-occult reason the purveyor of this particular blog, a gent whose name escapes me at this moment, decided to link the above Stooges review up on his blog which on the surface sounded just swimmingly well, at least until the point where he decides to use the not-so-descriptive adjective "blather" in order to attempt drilling another asshole into my well-protected hiney. It makes me wonder why he decided to link my piece up in the first place (other than he, a friend and follower of noted backstabber Ken Shimamoto, undoubtedly wanted to join in on the BTC bashing that has been so in vogue these past few decades), and worse yet, the entire drama makes me ponder the purpose of this particular piece of humanity wanting to become a follower of BLOG TO COMM other than to somehow provoke a confrontation between us, which if in fact he wants one is something he no doubt will be getting much to his chagrin.
Needless to say I've tried (unsuccessfully) to remove "the Barman" from the above list of "followers", and yeah if the guy is pushing buttons and wants to tangle for whatever socially/politically conscious reason he may I'm more than willing to chop off his head for my eye. Remember, this button pushes back, and if in fact you do want to start something with me I'm not going to back off any. Y'see, I always did like sending ineffectual effetes to their doom y'know...