With all of the excitement surrounding the release of the first new Stooges album since 1973 (1976 if you count Metallic KO), it?s easy to overlook the fact that The Weirdness is just one of two CDs to have arrived, bearing evidence of the most anticipated (and, simultaneously, unexpected) reunion of the decade.
Just as exhilarating, and maybe even truer to the trio?s roots than the studio set, Telluric Chaos (Skydog, France ? www.skydog.fr) was recorded in Tokyo in March 2004 ? a reminder, first, of just how long the new album has been germinating, but second, of just how fiery the Stooges were/are when they?re caught in full flood.
With the bulk of its contents drawn from the band?s first two albums (oddly, Raw Power is utterly absent from the proceedings), it is strange to think that is the first opportunity we?ve ever had to hear the primal unit of Iggy and the Asheton brothers blazing live through the likes of ?Loose,? ?No Fun,? ?TV Eye,? ?I Wanna be Your Dog? and ?Down On The Street? ? strange until you remember that, though all remained staples of the solo Pop?s live set, no worthwhile evidence survives of the Elektra-era band in concert.
A clutch of newer songs, drawn from Iggy?s Skull Ring album, lend themselves well to the proceedings. The best surprise has to be ?Idea Of Fun,? introduced by Iggy as a new song that they?d never played before and now, one of the undisputed highlights of Weirdness. If you have any doubts as to the worthiness of the reunion, that song will cure them all.
The Angel Air (www.angelair.co.uk) label?s painstaking reconstruction of the Stackridge catalog continues apace, with the release of the group?s fifth and final album, Mr. Mick.
Once again, there?s a surprise in store, as the regular (I hesitate to say ?familiar,? for how many people bought the LP first time around?) album is supplemented by a bonus disc that features the album as it might have been.
With 12 tracks instead of the finished nine, Mr. Mick originally was recorded at Rockfield Studios with producer Pete Gage (ex-Vinegar Joe), only for the band to scrap the sessions and start again in London.
Apparently, group members were unhappy with the sound, and, though this first-ever release of the abandoned tapes sounds fine, one can't fault their intentions.
Of all the Stackridge albums to date, this was one that the group wanted to get right. Mr. Mick was, as band member Andy Davis explains, ?a concept album based on a poem about the slow decline of an old-age pensioner? ? heady stuff for a band traditionally regarded as one of England?s most endearingly idiosyncratic outfits, but fear not.
With Davis himself taking the producer?s chair, Mr. Mick emerged just as engaging as any of its predecessors, while the single ?Hold Me Tight? might even have ended the band?s longtime aversion to the UK charts, had anyone actually bought it. Instead, as Mr. Mick faded from view, so did Stackridge.