CD Review: Iggy and the Stooges

Iggy and the Stooges
Raw Power: Legacy Edition
By David Chiu

Imagine if you were listening to this album back in 1973 in the era of the Guess Who, Bread and Three Dog Night. For the casual listener, Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges was probably un-listenable and might have led to a heart attack; for the passionate rock fan tired of bland pop, it was a godsend of spiritual proportions. In hindsight, this album was so revolutionary and prophetic as punk would really blow up. Nearly forty years on, the record still pounds track after track: the bone crunching “Search and Destroy”; the wildly exuberant “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell”; and the exhilarating title track. And not to be outdone, even the stylistic divergence with the trippy, folkish “Gimme Danger” and the lusty blues of “I Need Somebody” still punches. Accompanied by a taut rhythm section of brothers Ron and Scott Asheton, Iggy Pop delivers on every track his usual vocal bravado bathed in angst, sex and desperation; James Williamson’s guitar playing pierces you with its angular riffs and dazzling runs. Much has been made about the quality of David Bowie’s mix on Raw Power (which is preserved here in this latest reissue), but it’s exactly the crude presentation that gives the album its identity—this is music that was supposed to be rough and intense, not polished and slick.

As an added treat, this reissue also contains a previously unreleased 1973 Atlanta concert referred to as “Georgia Peaches.” Like the sound quality of the Raw Power album, the show was recorded somewhat roughly, but it definitely provides a glimpse of what an electrifying band the Stooges were from that period. In addition to performing songs from Raw Power, the show also contains some heavy, urgent rockers such as the suggestively titled “Cock in My Pocket” and “Head On.” Pop was not only explosive in his singing but also toward some members of the audience in his in-between songs banter. The reissue also contains two additional unreleased studio recordings: the aforementioned “Head On” and the funky “Doojiman.”


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