Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The MC5 - Do It!

I’ve pulled out some of my MC5 boots after reading the Sonically Speaking book and this is one of the better ones, despite some rumors that it is not the full band. Rob Tyner is positively singing on this but since two of the songs – “Rock’n’Roll People” (oddly credited as “Rock’n’Roll Pips” on the cover) and the fantastically rockin’ “Unknown Rock” (credited as “Unknowed Rock” – this was put out by a French label!) – are tunes that Tyner used during his solo career, there might be credence to the rumor of other musicians.

Regardless, the band is quite rockin’ and the riffs fly fast and furious between the guitarists in a manner befitting Kramer & Smith. They roar through “Back in the USA”, the aforementioned “Rock’n’Roll People” (kinda mid-tempo, but heavy and catchy), a take on “Looking at You” that builds nicely in intensity – this song survived the group’s entire career and went through so many interesting changes that I think an entire album could be dedicated to this number alone – and side one closes with the great “Unknown Rock”. This has a superb riff, flashy licks and is a true later gem from this group, in whatever incarnation.

Side two consists of a smoldering “Motor City Is Burning”, “Tutti Frutti” (drawn out a bit from the ultra-short LP version), the obligatory (and fabulous) “Kick Out the Jams” and a super heavy “19th Nervous Breakdown”. I always loved to hear the 5’s covers, cuz they always brought something cool to the table and this is no exception.

Whether or not this is the full Five (which the cover does claim to be and Dennis Thompson supposedly compiled this, so you would think that it was), this is a terrific boot with a decent sound quality (not great, of course – this was an audience recording from the 70’s) and even considering the short running time, I would highly recommend this. Hell, just the unrecorded tunes are worth the price of admission!