Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Iggy Pop & James Williamson - Kill City

Originally recorded in 1975, these tapes were done in the hopes of getting Pop a new contract after the dissolution of the Stooges in a haze of drugs, bad management and assorted other r'n'r tragedies. In fact, rumor has it that the Igster recorded his vocals during leaves from the institution he was in for his heroin addiction. After The Idiot and Lust For Life garnered some attention, Bomp Records finally released this in 1977, gaining some serious traction as, while this was watered down compared to the Stooges, it was far more rockin' than those David Bowie-produced records.

The opener, "Kill City", is a true classic tale of the travails of drug addiction in Los Angeles. As I said, this is considerably cleaner than anything from the Stooges, but still highly rockin' and is the debut of the Sales Brothers (Tony and Hunt) rhythm section work with Iggy, along with Scott Thurston's keyboard's, which had otherwise only been heard on Metallic KO. There are a number of slower numbers here, as well, presumably to show record companies Pop's dexterity, such as the sax-driven ballad "Sell Your Love", which he sings in almost a stage whisper, as opposed to his more familiar animalistic bellowing. "Beyond the Law" is similar in feel to "Kill City", though the guitar is a bit buried under the sax and keys - still, a good r'n'r number. Another ballad appears in "I Got Nothin'", with some melodic guitar work from Williamson, but there's more edge and bit in "Johanna", which has since appeared in a rawer form on other compilations and while the sax somewhat dominates, James does get a good solo here, as well. This dissolves into the soundtrack-ish "Night Theme" which both closed side one of the vinyl record and opened side two.

There's a bit of synthesizer noise and then we get the upbeat "Consolation Prizes", with some cool slide guitar and licks galore before another ballad, "No Sense of Crime", this one with plenty of bongo-percussion. I think I had sorta forgotten how many slow songs there are on this record, as "Lucky Monkeys" is pretty mellow, as well and "Master Charges" kinda takes a refrain from "Night Theme" and closes out the proceedings.

Certainly not his best work, but this is still pretty cool stuff and stronger than much of Ig's solo stuff. Well worth getting. I understand there is a new, re-mixed version (and that the original CDs were recorded off of inferior vinyl) but I haven't heard that yet. Regardless, well worthwhile.