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Raw Power (2 CD Legacy Edition)
Iggy & the Stooges
Raw Power (2 CD Legacy Edition)
Genres: Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #2

First released on Columbia Records in 1973, the savagely bombastic Raw Power is perhaps the first record that could truly be called punk. It was the confluence of The Stooges' ages, hormones, creativity, ability, experienc...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Iggy & the Stooges
Title: Raw Power (2 CD Legacy Edition)
Members Wishing: 11
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony Legacy
Original Release Date: 1/1/2010
Re-Release Date: 4/13/2010
Genres: Pop, Rock
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 886975614929


Album Description
First released on Columbia Records in 1973, the savagely bombastic Raw Power is perhaps the first record that could truly be called punk. It was the confluence of The Stooges' ages, hormones, creativity, ability, experience, tastes, lack of supervision, contempt for authority and ambition that has made Raw Power one of the most influential albums of all time. This Legacy Edition features the original 1973 David Bowie mix along with a second disc of previously unreleased live recordings from the Raw Power tour and studio outtakes.

CD Reviews

I'm a street walkin' cheetah with a heartful of napalm....
Thomas Plotkin | West Hartford CT, United States | 04/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The first thing you notice is the guitar; a virtuoso take on the classic trebly Chuck Berry/Keith Richards axis, but with a difference. It abrades against your ear, it's a little too dissonant to be conventional, it feels like a succession of paper cuts, and it has fought for space and beaten out victorious everything else on the tape -- bass, drums, rhythm guitar are reduced to a dull clatter behind the six string eruption. The next thing you notice is the voice, screeching out the lines that provide the title of this review; mixed co-equal with the guitar, it too abrades against the ear, while on key it sounds like its about to shatter, the sound not of a braggart but a warrior too long out on point and about to bust in a million pieces. It's 1973, and welcome to the first few bars of that most aptly titled record Raw Power.

The Stooges story has been told far too many times to be recounted here; suffice to say that by the time of Raw Power they had already broken more barriers in three or four years than any of their contemporaries, fusing psychedelic garage rock, proto-metal,free jazz, and avant-garde performance art out of Artaud's theater of cruelty with an absolute lack of self consciousness, their artier conceits always rooted in the perspective of messed up suburban Detoit high school drop outs too young to buy the false promises of the '60's. To call them punk, which they invented, sells them way short.

By the time they recorded this album, the sheer psychic pressure of their epochal live performances coupled with the world's indifference had led the band to snap -- heroin and recrimination had broken them up. Enter superfan David Bowie, then on the cusp of his Ziggy-era fame, who performed for the Stooges the same act of noblesse oblige he demonstrated to Lou Reed and Mott the Hoople, resurrecting their careers and giving them a chance to record. Cleaned up and reconstituted with new guy/virtuouso guitarist James Williamson on board and sharing the writing burdens, the Stooges went into the studio with actual songs, in contrast to their previous method of jamming while Iggy did his thing until songs emerged out of the muck. But what worked for Lou and Mott did not work for the Stooges.

On the surface, Raw Power sounded like a conventional hard rock album of '73, not the avant garage of the band's previous work. But Iggy's voice is too terrifying to fit that mold -- and the lyrics all convey the impression of a man in a car with no brakes careening down Dead Man's Curve, they are all about impending death, and celebrating it. Most importantly, there's the sound of the album. Until 1997, when Iggy rebuilt the tracks for reissue from the ground up, the officical word was something went horribly wrong in the mix, with Bowie and Iggy each pointing fingers at the other. The rhythm tracks are way in the background, the vocals are alternately too far up front or too recessed, and Williamson's explosive leads bore a hole through the listener's eardrums, as they are so far up in the mix the album sounds like a free-jazz/metal guitar solo with the other elements darting in and out of the background. Humorously, because a generation of postpunk musicians grew up thinking this sound was not bad, but in fact extraordinary, post punk avant garage groups like Sonic Youth and Black Flag deliberately began to emulate the Raw Power mix in the '80's, and a whole lo-fi No Wave movement was born.

Bowie's effort at rehabbing the band was a fiasco -- the record, messed up mix and depraved vision sank like a stone, the band's performances degenerated into fabled brawls with hostile audiences, and the band, ironically clean at the time they made this hellhound-pursued record, sank back into addiction and dissolution, with Iggy eventually homeless and then insitutionalized, with several lost years passing till he rose like a phoenix to reclaim his crown, but now as a solo. Raw Power did the band in, and its very sound forecasts the autodestruction. That's one thing that makes Raw Power special

Like I said, in '97 Ig re-mixed the record for the alt-rock generation, and the result was greeted with hossanahs. Crunching rhythm guitar riffs hitherto unhearable moved to the foreground with the bass and drums; Iggy's voice now had a tremendous presence, and many of his spontaneous grunts, cries, exhortations, vocalise, his famed shamanistic "composing at the mike," was restored. The record now had the sonic ambience of a live band in a room rather than demons clattering in a wind tunnel in one of Hades' dicier neighborhood. Most significantly, Williamson's lead guitar, the elephant in the room on the original album, was restored to parity with the other instruments. The only nay-sayers were the other Stooges, all of whom went on record as saying they detested what Iggy wrought with his tinkering. He made Raw Power into a normal-sounding punk rock record.

Now we can judge for ourselves who was right, Iggy or the Stooges. Sony Legacy has released the original 1973 "Bowie" mix. For years, I too thought the new version was a vast improvement, despite the fact I had grown up on my vinyl copy of the caterwauling original. But a couple of days of deep listening and comparison of the two version has restored the Bowie mix to preeminence. This is not, and never was, a normal record. This is an extreme record, a documentary snapshot of a band on a "death trip" (song title), sounding like they are on the ragged edge of nowhere. Only the original version preserves that deviant, demented quality. Accept no substitutes.

BTW, Sony has generously added a live show from '73 in Atlanta that adds little to the legacy, except for some prime audience-baiting from the Ig; the double-disc is at single disc price, however."
Raw Power Returns!
Big Willy King | Ithaca, NY | 04/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Finally I can finally listen to my favorite album the way it is supposed to sound. This new re-issue sounds almost identical to the original 1973 version and nothing like the 1997 version...thank God.

I never understood why everyone (rock critics) where so whiny about the "Bowie Mix". Way to much was made of it's alleged inferiority. If it was so bad then why is this one of the most beloved records of all time? I thought the mix was highly creative and made the band sound sinister, mysterious and electrifying. I really love how this album has a sense of urgency and it continually surprises you. And that's exactly what resurfaces in this newest release. "Raw Power" is a phenomenal record.

The live disk "Georgia Peaches" is easily the best Stooges live album besides "Metallic K.O" but "Georgia Peaches" has much better sound quality. This is the first and only recording you can actually....clearly hear Ron Asheton play bass on. Ron's bass style and attack rivals and sometimes overpowers James Williamson guitar and the result is thrilling. The band sounds really tight and the crowd is engaged making this a stand alone Stooges record and not unnecessary fluff or filler.

And we get a fully mixed outtake "Doojiman" form the original Raw Power. The Stooges had a habit of ending there albums with a free form jam and "Doojiman" is very much like "L.A. Blues" or "We Will Fall", and I wish they would have left it on the original record. Stooges fans will already be familiar with the version of "Head On" as it has appeared on previous compilations.

The "Raw Power" re-issue is well thought out and doesn't disappoint."
Glad it's back
G. C. Todd | Memphis | 04/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Iggy mix is good, but not the same as what screamed out of our stereos in the early seventies. At the time, I thought the Bowie mix was unnerving and haphazard, but it lent to its underground vibe. Now it seems perfectly suited to it's unique place in rock music history. In an interview given to the online music magazine PSF, original Stooge, the late Ron Asheton (when asked about the two mixes) said the following:

...[Producer] Don Fleming said to me "When you hear that remix that they did, you're gonna say that you love that original David Bowie mix of Raw Power!" When I finally heard it, I call up Don and say "I really love that original David Bowie mix of Raw Power!" It's the gospel truth. All Iggy did was take the smoothness off James' guitar and made it sound jerky and horrible. He put EVERY F.....G MOAN AND GROAN AND WORD he said back in the tracks and that's his mix. I went "HUH? Oh, man..." Other people were saying "If they could only remix that record." Now, when they all hear it, they say the same thing. "I really love that original David Bowie mix of Raw Power!" I swear to God it's true...

The best way to think of the two mixes is like seeing George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead in all it's low budget but jarring glory (as the original Bowie mix), and the various remakes of NOTLD - take your pick - (as the Nineties/Iggy mix). I own every version of this album including: 1)the original vinyl album (which I bought when it came out), 2)the first cd release years ago (Bowie mix), 3)the Iggy Mix from the late nineties, and 4) the current newly remastered original mix. This version is a cleaner sounding version of the original vinyl. Revisionism is funny. People change history to fit there own biases. Those of us who actually owned the album can tell you this is what we heard and loved. The reality of the original mix is that Bowie and Iggy were both in the room (entire mix lasted less than a day), in Iggy's words "with four hands" on the controls. Search and Destroy is really the only song people scratch their heads over (it's the only song Iggy insisted on his own first mix attempt)- the bass is mixed to almost nothing and the guitar sounds like a chainsaw (probably purposeful). Not so with the rest of the album where the mix is more conventional. As for the live bonus disc, it's a great coda for this particular incarnation of the Stooges, but bootleg quality.