Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The MC5 - '66 Breakout!

Another boot, this time released by a Bomp subsidiary, this was culled from Kramer’s personal tapes, so I guess the designation of “bootleg” depends on your definition. Regardless, this is a very fun look at the early years of this incredible r’n’r band.

Apparently, the numbers here actually run the gamut of a few year period, but none-the-less they are all mid-60’s garage tunes. Opening with a jam on their amazing original “Looking At You”, this shows an early incarnation that is slow and sexy, with some different words and plenty of cool harp work from Tyner. Very different and very hip. Their legendary “Black To Comm” follows, which is another song that spanned their entire career; shows that even early on, they were not afraid to experiment with noize and feedback and power!

“I Just Don’t Know” (their feedback drenched take on “In The Mood” that Kramer amusingly calls an original in the liner notes) is from their A-Square single and was also featured in all of its glory in the phenomenal comp, Babes in Arms. There’s a few seconds of the group goofing on Sam the Sham’s “Little Red Riding Hood”, then one of their early attempts (and a worthy one it is!) at James Brown in “I Don’t Mind” (via the Who, I’m sure) before the side closes with “Break Time”, from their days playing at Polish weddings!

Side two begins with the other side of their amazing single, “One of the Guys”, which again had appeared on Babes in Arms. More white-boy r’n’b influences show up in “Look What You’ve Done”, “Baby Please Don’t Go” (which sounds like they hadn’t quite learned it yet – or were a little overly enthusiastic while playing it) and their version of the Yardbirds version of “I’m a Man”. The record closes with their amazingly vicious “I Can Only Give You Everything” – a song they did only because the Shadows of Knight beat them to the punch on “Gloria”!

Unsurprisingly, the sound quality varies and none of it is great, but the music within is pretty damn fantastic! A must for fans who want to discover the band’s early development and see where they were coming from!