Iggy and the Stooges, Raw Power (Legacy Edition)
So out of its own time in 1973 that we're now just catching up to its audacity and attitude
History will remember 2010 as the year of the Stooges and Raw Power, a record so far ahead of its time that tweaks are being made and perks are being added 37 years after its first release. In March, the Stooges were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, an event regarded by some as long overdue, by others as a sign of the coming apocalypse — perhaps both. The surviving Stooges will be playing the album beginning to end at a pair of All Tomorrow's Parties festivals — one in May in the U.K., one in September in upstate New York. The latest Raw Power Legacy package is augmented by a long-sought-after live set from 1973: Georgia Peaches was recorded at a club in Atlanta, hardly a hotbed of Stooges passion, highlighted by Iggy calling out a heckler: "Hey, you wanna get your fuckin' face punched out little cracker boy?" The tracks are long, crazy and cocky. Four of the first five are extended versions of songs from "Raw Power," including a remarkable eight-minute version of "Gimme Danger," recast as a love song of abject longing, need and desire. The set takes its title from a filthy rhyme Iggy improvises at the end of a mighty version of "Search and Destroy." In the background, while Iggy is addressing the Georgia girls, you can hear the unfamiliar sound of the Stooges tuning up.
That's one reason the music, while properly demented, is so fundamentally solid on "I Need Somebody," on which pianist Scott Thurston adds a bluesy foundation that carries echoes of "St. James Infirmary." The closing three songs, "Heavy Liquid" (which takes off from Gary U.S. Bonds's celebratory "New Orleans"), "Cock in My Pocket" and the 10-minute "Open Up and Bleed," had been heard before in different versions in the semi-bootleg live album Metallic K.O., a dismal night for the band at home in Detroit. In Atlanta, the audience and band were less mutually hostile, although one female fan near the mic is heard to say, "I don't think he likes us." But this was love: tough love, no doubt, to prepare the audience for the onset of punk to come, a warning to either get out of the way or be run over.
The first disc of this set contains the original David Bowie mix: earlier reissues of Raw Power, including a 2009 Legacy version, contained remixes. The reason for all the post-release dial fiddling was that Bowie supposedly did the mix in one careless, drug-addled day in Los Angeles, and what should have been one of the heaviest albums ever heard was released with almost no audible bass and very little drums — just shrill, trebly, buzzsaw guitars. Most of us still thought it was pretty intense then, and although the marketplace offers other options, this mix has the virtue of bringing you back to what Raw Power sounded like then. The Bowie mix only enhances the notion Raw Power so out of its own time in 1973, that we're now just catching up to its audacity and attitude. Two previously unreleased studio tracks from the period include "Doojiman," on which Iggy seems to be doing all the sounds he hears on a stoned stroll through the Florida tourist favorite, Monkey Jungle.