The premise is simple: listen to a great/seminal album you’ve never listened to before, and write about it. For the original concept and some absolutely great writing, visit http://ramalbumclub.com/
There’s no rota, or limit to how many times you post as long as you do a little write up on your experience. Doesn’t have to be war and peace. The only rule is you have never to have listened to it before.
OK, the first thing to note is the cover. I notice this album was recorded in 1975, but the cover looks fresh and contemporary. Patti Smith looks like she would give Chrissie Hynde a good kicking, frankly. And although I’ve never seen braces worn like that, I’m totally OK with it.
So what’s going on in 1975, music wise? I looked a few albums up: Led Zep are engorging themselves to unsustainable proportions with Physical Graffitti, Queen are being Queen, Status Quo have got an album out, something is happening with Parliament and a band called Jefferson Starship exists. All pretty standard.
So here’s my first question relating to this album: WHERE THE FUCK DID THIS JUST COME FROM? Seriously, who or what in 1975 are Patti’s influences? My mild annoyance that she kicks off covering (sort of) a song, Gloria, which predates this by 10 years is quickly blown away by how fresh and new this sounds. And not even in a proto-oh-yes-you-can-hear-how-indie-developed kind of way. This album could be released RIGHT FUCKING NOW and no-one would bat an eyelid.
It’s the exact scene from Back To The Future where Marty hops in a DeLorean, pops into 1980s, steals rock’n’roll and unleashes it on his unsuspecting 50s audience. Patti’s done this with indie rock. It’s the only plausible explanation for this. Patti Smith was on speaking terms with Doc Brown.
On first listen, I keep thinking PJ Harvey would love to make this album. 30 years after it was already made. And don’t get me wrong, I really like PJ Harvey.
The production, from what I can tell on my PC speakers, is totally boss too. Already I’m wondering is this readily available on vinyl.
There are two 9+minute tracks on this album, and they both have drive, purpose and a proper narrative, i.e. there is a point to them being 9 minutes long. They are both stunningly good.
The album closes with a cover of My Generation, which sounds like she was having a bit of laugh and blowing off some steam, so I’ll let her off.
Rating: 9.5/10 (lost half mark for the covers)