Iggy And The Stooges—
Raw Power

Released 1973 on Columbia
The Seth Man, March 2005ce
Charged up with the flight or fight hardwiring cutting through a sea of adrenaline in an jagged amphetamine torpedo, roiling in sweaty psychic ditches and dive-bombing relentlessly in infernal heat doused in cold sweat; exhilarating, blind fearless terror unfolding into fevered desire, nighttime lust and fucking in summer cars parked and otherwise in an heaving over/Mother load of defiant primal thrust’n’parry pieced together from shattered Ann Arbor dreams, London ennui and Hollywood Hills hijinks in mansions festooned with broken glass in the pool, “Raw Power” walks, talks, smells, barks out and makes all the above moves as it prowls and gatecrashes the edge of oblivion, lands feet first and tears at the air, claws at your face then teeters for eight cruelly streamlined tracks of bared-fang physicality before promptly sweeping back into the eye of the hurricane from whence it came and vanishing forever in a coiled whiplash of release and an ever-cresting penetration.

The first time I ever played “Raw Power” I thought there was something wrong with my stereo.

The second time I played it, I knew there was something wrong with my immediate surroundings.

The third time I played it, I knew there was something wrong with music: Namely, with 99% of my record collection and 99.9% of all the records I had ever heard: past, present AND future.

“Raw Power” is a completely deranged and outrageous album, and almost as outrageous is its current state of representation in digital format. Which is reprehensible on so many levels, I don’t know where to begin but at the beginning.

When Columbia first issued it on CD it was horrible, sounded about as flat as two-week old roadkill and screamed default mastering properties, if any, were used during its transferring from analogue to digital. But once news sprung up that it was not only getting a long-overdue reissue-remaster dusting off, but that Iggy himself was going to oversee and rectify matters, all seemed well and right with the world once more and anticipation reigned throughout the land.

The only problem was when somewhere down the pike the chain of command got a little ahead of itself and thought a complete remix was in order and so rectifying took a slippery backseat to re-writing history -- and worst of all it was upon an album where there was absolutely NOTHING to rectify in the first place. Just re-master the original mix, release it and TA-DA: one of the greatest albums is once more out there for everyone without a turntable to enjoy, break their furniture to, blow their speakers and minds out to.

But as for the 1997 version of “Raw Power” that Iggy remixed up into confusion?
Uh-oh boss: looks like we got trouble.

First off, parts were mainlined with a stream of hollow-sounding, desensitised digital distortion frosting (like “Search And Destroy”) and the entire album was remixed to make it sound like an entirely different album altogether of alternative versions -- Gimme the REAL “Gimme Danger,” dammit -- And if that was the point, why weren’t the tapes that Iggy leaked pre-release in Detroit over the airwaves of WABX in early ’73 unearthed instead? Although unmixed and lacking the heavy guitar boosts of Bowie’s visionary mix, the versions of “Search And Destroy,” “Shake Appeal,” “Raw Power” and “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell” from this broadcast surfaced on a blue vinyl 10” in the late eighties (and again five years later on Bomp!’s “Rough Power” collection alongside other alternate versions) give a far more authentic document than any after-the-fact remix 25 years on (Though it does illustrate how NO version of “Raw Power” is ‘perfect,’ which itself is a kind of weird perfection.)

Iggy’s 1997 remix sounds as though it was accomplished by him sliding the faders all the way up with his bare feet because all the nuances, subtleties, dynamics were wiped out as each and every signal -- from the vocals, rhythm guitar, drums, what remained of the bass and even the moron-piano -- were all jacked-up sky high and consequently, this equalisation tilted the perfectly misbalanced dynamic of straining extremities of the original into a crowding at the front baying for attention at near-matching levels. This rendered “Raw Power” into a completely different and more normal animal space altogether and it was NEVER a normal album and the space it occupied trebly (in both senses of the word) so. The rift between the guitar, guitars, GUITARS/vocals versus the bass/drums is an integral part of its experience. And those contrasting layers of guitar lines and the way they snake in and out with Iggy’s vocals like two Siamese fighting fish placed together in a half-filled pint glass of water? All that and much, much more was wiped out.

It’s only common sense to observe that if something isn’t broken then don’t fix it. But then again, common sense was a scarce commodity in the late eighties; as evidenced by the rising levels of complaints registered against the original mix of “Raw Power” that seemed to multiply exponentially with every year (and to throw it back in the faces of the ignorami who lay blame by the bushel at Bowie’s doorstep, remember it was equally Iggy’s little monster, too; check the credits) along the lines of “great album but the production sucks,” “Bowie screwed it all up,” and that it was ultimately lacking in power just because the rhythm section’s signal levels weren’t peaked to Steely Dan standards (Admittedly, they WERE weak from the very instant the sessions were first laid down and for whatever reason, were never re-recorded but so what.)

And furthermore, who cares? The nuances Bowie and Iggy applied to “Raw Power” back in 1973 were startling and entirely ahead of the game by DECADES as they took the considerably unheard-of route of taking the unmixed tracks and accenting, not hiding the grievous lack of depth by creating a whole new one of extreme high-end cross-talking between James Williamson’s guitars and Iggy’s vocals pumping out from a swollen sonic plateau directly into and in front of your face as the Asheton brothers sweated in out in the engine room located several fathoms downstream in an opposing ravine. So the mistake IN the canvas BECAME the canvas as this severe lop-siding of dynamics cast it into a freefall schizoid topography to match the agro-assault-o-rama-lama-fa-fa-fuckin’-fa within. And Bowie not only framed the weakness and made it its strength by accentuating the flaw in the levels but highlighted it further by punching in Williamson’s jaggedly insane lead riffs into the red to corkscrew right into your head and then punching them out again often to great pressure dropping effect with no warning AND they always made intuitive, deadly accurate sense. With dub versions of reggae songs, nobody ever complains when the guitars drop off or the vocals cut out or the drums halt altogether because that is the architecture: chopped, sculpted out and channeled into something different (I KNOW we’re not talking about reggae here cuz if we were we’d be talking about I-Pop & The Failures and their hit, “No Remix, No Cry” so I’ll cut it with the tangents for the moment because fuck knows “Raw Power” gives me ammo enough for hundreds of THOSE as well as the strength to face another day. Especially on headphones. Loud. For a month now and counting. It makes me wanna... Oh, nevermind back to the rant at hand, already in progress...)

People who damn the original mix and champion Iggy’s recent remix as some sort of improvement have got a loooong way to go; not only all the way to Memphis but in terms of explaining how this record in its original sonic arrangement was somehow something to be improved upon when it was seemingly more than just fine thanks in its original state by inspiring Peter Laughner, Robert Quine, Johnny Ramone, Alan Vega for starters to do what they did and when they did it. Before I throw in the entire et-class-of-‘76-cetera kitchen cinque as well, as I can say is: brother, if it was good enough for THOSE guys, then it’s MORE than good enough for me and it should be for you, too. (Excluding the boys in the band themselves cause I feel they earned their right to dissent in spades -- Dissent OK, remix not OK, OK? -- And Iggy, James Williamson and Ron Asheton have done just that all the way up to the present day though Ron’s probably got the most ironclad gripe of the bunch because dammit, his bass suffered the most in terms of sonic representation although when you catch that hefty glimmer of its ghost rumbling in the background -- ‘specially on “Shake Appeal” -- look out below. Even at that level. I don’t know how he did it, either.)

Just a quick reminder (because it seems like some people forgot along the way) this is rock’n’roll and it can take a hit for its worst excesses as well as instantly be embraced as ‘the shit’ when it hits the fan at an all high-flying, couldn’t-give-less-of-a-fuck-if-I-fell-asleep-on-top-of-your-mother-afterwards velocity. And if it can’t then it’s something else and not rock’n’roll (And if it does both at the same time, it’s probably “Raw Power” or a clutch of precious few other aural high water marks.) And it may already be too late to quote the young Iggy of old with the classic caveat “Look out honey cuz they’re usin’ technology” but since they is, I will and fire right back the following burning question: for WHOM exactly was “Raw Power” remixed into oblivion for and why was it re-mixed with the primary school production values of identi-kit Rap-Metal that already sounds badly dated when the original was always so undeniably timeless? And I don’t need it “perfected” in Super 24-bitmap whatever, either and I refuse to buy the snow job hoo-hah about it being some kinda “definitive” edition, because it isn’t. But most important of all: how are those ears that have never experienced the original “Raw Power” being done any favours by having the innards of one of the greatest rock’n’roll albums of all time removed and replaced with a vat of digital excelsior resurfacing this once out of control, four-lane highway to hell into a dumbed-down parking lot for some beer jocks to tailgate on?
Remember those idiots, Jim?
THOSE were the fuckers “Raw Power” was/is/shoulda been the antidote for.

One last time, it wasn’t never broken, so there was nothing to fix.

Unfortunately, NOW there is -- at least until the original mix gets immediately reinstated back into catalogue. Because as it currently stands, the CD version of “Raw Power” is NOT remotely the real deal and until that time comes, the vinyl album with the catalogue number Columbia KC3211 (Or the original European CBS one, whatever it is) is the goods (and more) and nothing less will suffice.

Right, enough with the digital format hassles. And with that out of the way, to the album at hand:

The first copy of “Raw Power” I ever owned was a Canadian import on CBS with a red and white target label. I wore it out within a matter of months.

My second was an original US pressing on Columbia, and it came fully loaded: the shrink wrap label with the dripping, monster movie lettering was devotionally rubber cemented to the front cover’s ample black field to the right of the orange fig o’ Ig and graced with the original inner sleeve boasting a detail from the same front cover of Iggy’s be-mascara’d, be-lipsticked mug complete with over-accentuated, little sister-applied beauty mark (printed in living black and white on cheap paper stock that ALWAYS ripped on the folds from the first time you dropped the record back inside until what you eventually were left with were two separate pieces of paper, suitable for framing) and I wore this one out, too.

My third copy of “Raw Power” I’ve had for the past decade. Another original pressing, only minus the shrink wrap sticker with the monster movie logo but since I’ve got the whole thing etched in my brain it wasn’t a big deal and it looks like I’m well on the road to wearing this one out, too.

My desert island disc? Helen Reddy: “I Am Woman.” (Don’t laugh: her husband managed The Stooges after Tony DeFries cut them adrift and everybody else had forgotten about ‘em, so it’s only right to remember those who cared when the chips were down and everybody else went the way of Punches Pilot and washed their hands of The Stooges cause they were crazy and too much trouble to deal with, much less figure out.) OK, barring that: a CDR of “Raw Power” recorded at a reasonable level minus any and all correction, equalisation, static removal, etc. applied to its grooves as the stylus tracks across the pops, clicks, scratches, scuffs, dust, hair, fingerprints and all manner of detritus AND channeled through a pair of Marshall Major Lead amplifiers with the knobs crazy-glued to 12. On infinite repeat, because a better soundtrack for survival I haven’t heard yet. Because “Raw Power” is like an electrical shock, and nothing beats that high of sticking it in, waiting for contact and being flung backward a couple of feet. So cancel my non-existent subscriptions to Q, MOJO, The Wire and Rock Scene -- not to mention the resurrection -- I’m gonna have to survive so I gotta used my wits and there’ll be no time for anything but eating, foraging, rooting out wildebeests, building traps for insects the size of model bi-planes to use as bait, their wings for thatching, their blood for hunting face paint and their eyeballs for divination...Nothing goes to waste. Like in “Raw Power,” where a fierce economy born out of just going for it musically dictates it’s every Baby Lawrence step, snake-hips sway, bloodcurdling bawl and overall swinging brickbat-in-barbed wire lunacy.

When I listen to “Raw Power”, it’s like... (how can I phrase this) WHY THE FUCK DID I EVER BUY ANOTHER ALBUM? It’s never been surpassed, and at this late a date I have the creeping sensation it never will because (oh, I just remembered) it can’t. It’s the summation of so much wedged into such a short duration and cut so damn hot, recorded so damn wrong it was too right on so many levels, I can’t count them. It’s a kaleidoscopic riot running through the sexual to the ridiculous and sublime from start to finish. The entire Class of ‘76 along with several successive non-graduating classes of dum-dums was built on it and yet not one offering from that assorted stew of froot‘n’nutz from New York, London any points in-between came close to topping it on any level: album or single. Not that they didn’t try from time to time -- which was at least encouraging -- and got extremely close at times, but this ain’t a game of horseshoes or hand grenades and besides, I seem to be out of cigars. Sorry.

When I listen to “Raw Power,” the whole playing field of records, reality and everything in-between is stilted and about as retardedly tilted as the original mix of the album itself. Which, by the by: only FIVE tracks out of eight are so-called “guilty” of the lame duck “no bass and drums, waah, boo hoo, barely audible” claim leveled at its lopsided, aggressive glee. “Barely audible”? That excuse is barely laudable, so turn it up louder so you can hear them, Candy Ass so stop your sobbing and work with what you got. Which is a lot like “Raw Power,” come to think of it.

Another thing that’s weird about “Raw Power” (and there are too many to even begin to name, which I don’t even consider to be an obstacle at this point) was that it was recorded over a year before it got finally released in 1972. Talk about a year that was a bumper crop of cultural train wrecks: Nixon was elected (a second time), the USA was in Vietnam (fighting), The Stones were in the USA (touring) and The MC5 were in Europe (dying) while The Stooges were in England (rehearsing, and in a way: rehearsing for all of the above.) And in this year it was as though The Stooges were cast in the main roles from a scene of “Waiting For Godot” as directed by Colonel Tom Parker -- kept on ice by their management, who were too busy with focusing every inch of their machinations with the rise of David Bowie’s star. Did it break them? Nope, it just gave them more time to hone their stuff to a steely fine point as they rehearsed relentlessly and eventually distilled down eight of their most recent bloodlettings and wrote a bunch more on top of it. Just like The Stones in their prime. Speaking of which, The Stones connection to The Stooges is an obvious one: because at their most fundamental peaks, The Stones were the model for all the most leering, swaggering in the shadows and dirt-ballsiest of rock’n’roll groups from the sixties on up to the present day, and it goes double for The Stooges. The crud holding Keef’s sox together in his south of France maison d’Elle Blanc de Blankety-Blanc basement? It’s in the air surrounding this holy fuckin’ foetid blast of unmanageable discord mangle-tangle and gives it its centre, shape and rhythmic edge by running straight down the middle with crosscut sawing rhythms. And on “Raw Power,” it was the summation of many of The Stones’ best moments zipped up tighter than Ig’s own panting pant leg played a little even quicker and far more atomic as elements of the rawest, non-bluesiest moments offa “Beggar’s Banquet,” “Let It Bleed” and “Sticky Fingers” (“Sympathy For The Devil,” “Gimme Shelter,” and especially “Brown Sugar”) were hijacked, ripped off, shaken down and tore off with maniacal skill and surgically inserted seemingly by thought alone into tracks that wound up sounding nothing remotely Stones-like at all. But by bearing down even harder on the rhythm, killing the blues switch and cranking the amps up, they link up as the true successors to The Rolling Stones. And when you consider that guitarist James Williamson was in The Chosen Few alongside Ron Asheton (who he’d later bump over to bass on “Raw Power”) and how in that same band Asheton played the first ever notes at the Grande in Detroit opening for MC5 with a Stones medley, I can say no more. Except that their onstage attitude was also similarly Stones-based, but so loose it ain’t true as the glimmer-twinn’d Iggy representing the physical/vocalisin’ and James his musical front line backup flashpoint (ala Mick’n’Keith) heading up their penetrating phalanx while their sullen cohorts hung back in the shadows stock-still, occupied with the job at hand of keeping the beat flexible, taut and always moving.

If The Stones were the Volkswagens of rock’n’roll, then The Stooges were the fuckin’ Hindenburg. And they were about to go down every bit as hard all over their final studio album.

The album kicks off with the switch set to permanent dickswell as the first of eight redoubtable tracks, “Search And Destroy” blares in with solid GUITAR from both speakers while the drums pitter-patter in the far horizon yet still nails everything down tight as teenage ass and if it weren’t for Scotty Asheton’s unyielding pushing pulse/pummel they’d merely hang lackadaisically in the background. As mentioned previously about five times, the treatments applied to Williamson’s guitars are ferociously raw and stunning in your face and for just about all time, like an extended hot-wiring of Keith Richard’s throwaway and brilliant despite of/because of/who-cares shorthand solo that sparked off and kicked up a tornado out of nowhere at the end of The Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil.” And on “Raw Power” this will be incessantly repeated with alarming irregularity for the duration of the LP: sewing up the rhythm, punctuating Iggy’s fiery, finger-point yowling and generally running ramshackle all over the place and spraying stunning waves of dissonance. Everything is so pumped up and nowhere to go, the rhythm guitar sprays bucketful of petrol over the currently raging firestorm and then unleashes several gas tanks on top of THAT in the form of a run-on, runaway solo. Then another. Or it might be the same one with a lot of space in between, I can never tell because it always flashes by all too quick. The sinewy riffing is at once spellbinding and blinding and causes more explosions to erupt in the virtual ammo dump they’re currently sabotaging and blasting through. Iggy’s going off his head and wrestles with Williamson’s eruptive stinging riff-fest and before you know it, after several blasts more from overdubbed rhythm guitar, the finale solo cuts off abruptly. End of song.

What just happened?

As though still in the thrall of shock in the wake of great loss (and/or the previous track) “Gimme Danger” grapples through a late night falling dream zone it stumbles slowly back to its pummeled senses with a highly unlikely but perfectly set acoustic guitar cycle that enters calm enough until Iggy intones as though a figurehead on the prow of Morrison’s crystal ship, “Kiss me like the ocean breeze” as a signal for Williamson to crack open with an arsenal of smoldering rhythm guitars that shore up and act as a filigree fill-ins to the acoustic. A third add-on guitar carries the track’s fragile sense of tear-streaked optimism, even as slashes of further guitar enter to graffiti up a storm and carry its repetition in a trance as though to break the sway of all the bad stuff in the world all night long until the point right before dawn begins to break on through. Iggy’s voice reappears, now cast to the background and echoing with entreaties that are ignored by everything except the nighttime sky and trailed by a diaphanous guitar that hangs momentarily frozen in the dark air, then gliding down to touch the exposed, sleeping earth below.

It’s a wake up call with a bucketful of cold water and “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell” unleashes another Williamson guitar solo before Iggy’s even at the mike and the rhythm guitar is not only sticking it not in, but straight up through the pocket like “Brown Sugar” but with a third of the chords played twice as fast. Ron Asheton’s bass is here at the loudest point it will ever get on the album (so appreciate it while you got it) as flat drums pound out a great and barely unchanging pattern. Williamson then bears down harder still and suddenly: an unplanned but perfectly timed feedback squeal issues forth as though coaxed out by Williamson with a deft bend of the knees inward, and then lurches into James Williamson Insane Guitar Solo #568: the one that always threatens to continue onward into the next century. Sometimes I think Williamson never really stops soloing on this album -- the spaces of silence in between just expand and contract, that’s all. But for all his umpteen solos, he NEVER repeats himself and it’s always charged up with that crazily rearing and bucking bronco effect. The rhythm guitar takes off and then returns with a six-pack of vengeance it guzzled in between the last two solos. By the end, Iggy’s vocals are in a total freefall run-on, yammer, rubberballs’n’liquor, character untranslatable “baybuh, wubba, honay, comm-awhn, a-wanna, uh a wunna, baybuh-baybuh...” “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell” is truly visceral insanity. Then again, so is everything else on this record.

“Penetration” closes the first side of the album with two-fingered piano and a rarely held-back, vicious rhythm riff are hung on the back wall of the first floor while in the basement, Rock Action’s close-miked drums are all tracked into a flat and oppressively subterranean-housed thud, leaving three quarters of the mix to spotlight one of Iggy’s shining moments of restrained vocalisin’, when he breaks out the cat strangulation voice that, as the old sick joke goes, is like a live baby eating its way out from underneath a pile of dead babies. Background vocals then appear in the background with a wall of swaying “wooo-oo-wooo”s lifted from “Sympathy For The Devil” (as did the WABX broadcast version of “Raw Power,” although louder and enough to practically qualify it as the most retarded gospel vocal I’ve ever heard.) Although it’s hard to tell with James Williamson, I THINK it’s a backwards guitar solo that erupts and cuts through the murk. By this time The Stooges truly locked into the groove, so Iggy is free to yelp, howl suck in the air (and it sucks him, too.) It soon chugs off at its measured paces into a twinkling twilight. Side over.

With a guttural “ugh!’ from Ig clearing his pipes, the glorious title track “Raw Power” rips side two open wide with a sawn-off rhythm guitar jaggedly slipping in and out of soloing qualities courtesy of both its generously allotted proportion in the mix as well as how deftly Williamson pulled this masterpiece off. Moron piano with true spazz appeal rocks back in forth in a chair in the corner, hammering out in insidious anvil Morse Code “It tickles, duh, it tickles!” that actually manages to misfire on occasion (nice one) as it accentuates its simple pattern, hung in the background to spike the high end. Stop and start drum pattern jerks on and off as Iggy’s vocals bray out over the circular rotations, switching from ending to starting the verse with the words “Raw Power” until the whole thing becomes a ridiculously heavy and overblown mantra to the very force that drives this album on and on and on. The guitar that grinds and bores a hole through its “Brown Sugar” sensibility (but only “Brown Sugar” running off the rails with a third of the chords) doesn’t even come to the closing solo that chases the track off into the distance with screaming blue bloody murderous intent. It is blistering and sets fire to everything in its path far beyond the fade (Is this “Satisfaction” by the Stones with the whole world up its ass, or what?)

The sleazed-out trash of “I Need Somebody” is the sole pit-stop of the album as acoustic and e-guitar reconvene for the second and final time of the album and are co-joined in bumping and grinding like the final couples on the dance floor of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Through exhaustion they fall into each other’s embrace while Rock Asheton’s drums reliably thud with low and reverberating authority and bro Ron’s bass hangs low and detectable in the background. Iggy sounds off like Jim Morrison on “Build Me A Woman” (especially the “Sunday trucker/motherfucker” couplet) from the 1969 “Critique” broadcast while Williamson is content to just stick with the rhythm until backfilling the coda with an application of quick, needling riffs.

An altogether tight and unruly syncopation rules “Shake Appeal,” the granddaddy riff what begot The Ramones’ “We’re A Happy Family” and the song Joy Division performed that sounded like Sabbath and Kraftwerk commingling on the corner of ‘The’ and ‘Stooges’ while covering “We’re A Happy Family” simultaneously. The solo on “Shake Appeal” is one of the best in all Rock. Rhythm guitar, drums, handclaps and Williamson’s tripled repetition “doh-do-do-do-do-do-do-do” fold over itself over and over and over and over until a stentorian rhythm guitar buzz-burst overload bears down out of nowhere with several square yards of pressure per second and per inch. What the...“OWWW!” Iggy bellows, as low slung tight pants are at the scene of THIS crime cuz they “Fit so tight/Fit so tight” and he’s just caught another curveball square on the balls. Williamson solo number three thousand lands and (“OWWWWWWW!!”) causes Iggy’s zipper to catch skin (and ladies: be thankful you’ll never, EVER truly know.) Anyway, Iggy’s wind is knocked out of him and Williamson’s beyond control guitar solo has diminished but not finished but just folded back into the double-strength rhythm from whence it came, Iggy’s now on the ground in heat, reduced to riffing off the title against this untamable sonic undertow.

“Death Trip” finishes off the album, with a warm up opening riff never to be repeated (until the end, post-fade out as heard on the Iggy mix, but so what) and then all is locked down into quickly into a tumultuous on-off/stop-start rhythm, offset by Williamson’s grinding rhythm guitar and incoming mail lead guitars. Drums report in the distance like the most precise cannonade directed in the background against a sonic tarpaulin, like a construction worker determinedly driving home the last hundred nails into a nearly-finished house a few blocks away, knowing he’s at the home stretch. Guitars switch from channel to channel. Then scratch out a rhythm. Then start to wrench off a stream of dissonant, stuttered run on riffing. Another solo smears across everything, then a blinding fast solo all fast and distorted. And for the whole time the rhythm just continues driving and Iggy’s entreaty is not only his last of the album (“Blow my cool/Bit my lip/See me through on/My death trip”) but a signal for Williamson to go completely haywire with the most abrupt, discordant solo of the whole album. There’s a guitar solo at the end of every song on ‘Raw Power” but this one not only takes the cake but smashes it in your face, rubs the icing in your eyes, spells out “KICK ME” across your ass with the remaining candles and then obliges promptly with one final drop kick in the seat of the pants after giving you a Mega-Wedgie from Uranus then tears immediately to play off Iggy’s rantings. Of course, this is all so fucking loud that the rhythm guitar is completely drowned out -- as well as most of what’s left of the rhythm section, last sighted a couple of miles in the distance.

It’s all pushing beyond hunger, thirst, exhaustion and even sense as it pushes the bounds of existence far, far wider into something else I don’t have words for. And speaking of guitar solos (even though I wasn’t but it’s been a couple of tangents since I last did) that BAY-YOO-TEE-FULL racket that James Williamson cuts through the end of “Death Trip” with: What about THAT?

When that unaccountable outburst erupts as Iggy’s shrieks out an extended “SAAAAAAAVE MUUUUH!” I’m pinned to the edge of a line spanning 32 years back beginning with the heated tubes of Williamson’s Vox A-30, his hands playing his heart and bisecting my head even beyond the point when it viciously yanks shut and cuts off. I wanna follow where it’s going -- snaking off in a line of energy coursing through the universe on a non-stop run-on electric jag for all eternity. If I only knew how. What a deranged, terrifying and energetic beauty of an album. Because “Raw Power” truly is “Hard To Beat.” (Originally titled: “Fucking Best Album In The World Except When I Get All Elektra Purist All Over My Own Ass And Admit It’s ‘Fun House’ Instead.”)
Hey, it happens. But for all the right reasons.

A lot like “Raw Power,” come to think of it.

Dedicated to the memory of Robert Quine.