Iggy And The Stooges - Raw Power
The third album by The Stooges almost didn’t happen. In fact, it was willed into existence by Iggy as a last ditch attempt at success and perhaps a vehicle to support his heroin addiction. Whatever the case, Raw Power remains an untouchable masterpiece.
Following their 2nd LP in 1970, (the equally perfect Fun House), The Stooges were dropped by Elektra with Ron and Scott Asheton being kicked out of the band as well as original drummer Dave Alexander being ousted previously. They actually did announce that they broke up in 1971. However the band reactivated after Iggy signed on with David Bowie’s MainMan management. He started working with new guitarist James Williamson and the idea of a new record was floated so it was decided that they’d move to London to begin session work for MainMan. Iggy and Williamson struggled to find a band that could capture the essence of what he wanted to capture with Raw Power. Oddly enough, he decided to bring the Asheton brothers back into the mix with Ron moving to bass and Scott going back to the kit. The first pass, mixed by Iggy, was rejected by Columbia after recording and mixing were finished in Oct 1972. Naturally, they turned to David Bowie for help to which he in turn, put together the final mix in Los Angeles, reportedly in 1 day. The recordings were compromised in that only the vocals and Williamson’s leads were isolated on separate tracks with the rest of the instrumentation bounced to a single track. But Bowie made the best of it. He simultaneously was able accentuate the arty tendencies of The Stooges (“Penetration” and “I Need Somebody”) while harnessing the gut-punching propulsion at the core of the band (“Raw Power” “Death Trip”). While there are less abstract qualities and darkened psychedelic vibes on the LP, there are interesting additions such as the nice use of acoustic guitars in the rhythm section and Williamson’s continually brutalized leads. It’s a lean and mean, quintessential rock record from a band who were barely holding it together yet still as powerful as ever. The band broke up just a year later in 1974 after some touring and public indifference. But Raw Power is one of the key records to influence the punk movement which would begin just after the bands’ demise.
This new, RED VINYL, reissue utilizes the original, Columbia and Bowie mix. Just like The Stooges and Fun House, Raw Power is undoubtedly an ESSENTIAL record and needs to be on call and in your home whenever you need a good shot to the arm or a swift punch to the face. (Dom)
Check out a track here.