Nearly four decades on, the reviled fathers of punk continue to inspire the underground masses. With the reissue of their seminal ’73 release, Raw Power, offers a lot of Iggy to enjoy.
Reissued in two versions – one the original David Bowie mixes of the album, the other a live mixing board recording from that year – this boxed set adds in a third CD of audio out-takes plus a documentary DVD, 48-page book, 45-rpm single, and photos.
With James Williamson on guitar and the late Ron Asheton on bass, Raw Power, is pure proto-punk, a mix of psychedelia, nasty garage rock, and that blip on the horizon called “punk rock.” Though many point to this album as the set that introduced the genre (it was actually one of many), there are too many guitar solos for this to be true punk; Williamson solos his butt off through many of the songs. Of course, the classic is “Search and Destroy,” a track that even today can create a sense of urgency and danger. “Penetration” is more dark catharsis, with a crunchy guitar riff and menacing vocals, while “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell” is a wild six-string meltdown with great rhythm work and more skittering, post-psychedelic leads from Williamson. Even if you never liked punk or new wave, it’s hard not to respect the sound of Raw Power. It speaks to the legacy of Steppenwolf, MC5, Blue Cheer, Velvet Underground, and early Grand Funk Railroad, yet melds those influences into something powerful and new.
This article originally appeared in VG’s Jul. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.