Monday, September 14, 2020

Patti Smith - Early Work


I've been continuing to catch up on the written works on Patti Smith lately, since I hadn't really bought much since Babel in the 70's. Her poetry can be somewhat esoteric and ethereal with wild, disjointed, stream of consciousness, free-association imagery, but she also can turn a mean phrase when she tries. Her prose is still lyrical, but much more coherent, which means it can be a bit easier to read, but the challenge of her poetry is very worthwhile, as well.

This book of poems collects a portion of Patti's 1970's work, including some which would later become lyrics to her better known songs - an early version of "Oath" (the prelude to her version of "Gloria"), "Land" ("Horses" before it became "Horses), "Babelogue", the intro to "Rock'n'Roll Nigger", and plenty of others, as well as some that became BOC lyrics (they recorded her words long before she became a musical artist herself), along with at least one missive that appeared in Creem magazine (her ode to Jim Morrison). Also included are photos that she took, as well as some that she related to the words, either found or produced by friends such as Robert Mapplethorpe.

This is a nice selection and a good overview of Patti in the 70's - fans should certainly get this one!