The Stooges - The Stooges - Review
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critics' view

On their debut offering in August ’69 these Michigan proto-punkers were described as: Iggy Stooge (22, vocals); Dave Alexander (22, bass guitar); Ron Asheton (21, guitar, vocals) and Scott Asheton (19, drums). The great John Cale, fast becoming underground rock’s producer of choice, also gets himself involved in the music, playing piano, sleigh bell (on “I Wanna Be Your Dog”) and viola (on “We Will Fall”). The album is packed with all-time classic punk-rock action. Bo-Diddley-aping opener “1969” sets the tone: “Well it's 1969 OK all across the USA, It's another year for me and you, another year with nothing to do” Same rhythm – different attitude. This is the sound of the disengaged youth. This is the sound of the blank generation. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” immediately follows – seems like the Velvet Underground ’67 had a baby and called her The Stooges. We’ve certainly heard that trance-like distortion-laden riffage before. John Cale just loves hammering that piano. He’s possessed. It’s also the best use of sleigh bells since Phil Spector, easy. Continuing the VU theme, the fashionable 10-minute dirge of “We Will Fall” haunts like Dr John’s shaman in the bayou, as Cale’s viola recalls “Venus in Furs”. It’s excellent – even if does lack some extra imaginative sparks to justify the length. Side 1 closes with the magnificent anthem of disaffection, “No Fun”, which, according to Iggy, was borne out of a jam session when the whole band was stoned and playing around with “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash. The simple ones are so often the best, are they not? Speaking of which, “Little Doll”, a throwaway quickie designed to appease the label’s insistence for an extra few tracks, emerges as the killer inclusion on side 2, as the album loosely finishes as it begun – on a Bo Diddley tip. Cool bastards. Uh-huh.

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