The STOOGES – ” Highlights From The Funhouse Sessions “

Posted: January 18, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

Back in 1999, Rhino Handmade had an early triumph with the release of the 7-CD box set The Fun House Sessions, chronicling the making of the album from the quintessential proto-punk bad boys, The Stooges.  Now Run Out Groove has boiled down that set into four sides of vinyl and fourteen choice selections as “Highlights from The Fun House Sessions”.  Recorded with producer Don Gallucci of The Kingsmen at Elektra Sound Recorders in Los Angeles back in May 1970 as The Stooges’ sophomore effort, Fun House made “Louie, Louie” look positively tame, and was commercially unsuccessful upon its initial release.  But its influence as a key building block in the punk revolution can’t go unnoticed, as it quickly developed a cult following among both critics and fans.  Blending fast and furious hard rock with improvisation and even a jazz element thanks to Steve Mackay’s saxophone and the loose feel, Fun House showed Iggy Pop, Dave Alexander, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, and Mackay at their most primal yet still pushing the musical envelope forward.

The first two sides of Highlights are sequenced to follow the track order of the original LP, with the third and fourth sides offering additional alternate takes, fly-on-the-wall studio chatter, and a 17-minute jam session/early version of the closing “L.A. Blues” entitled “Freak.”  There are plenty of ferocious nuggets here that are illuminating to fans of the original album but accessible enough to be enjoyed on their own.  Take 6 (Reel # 6) of “Down on the Street,” the lone A-side drawn from Fun House in its final version, spellbindingly pulsates.  The taut garage band performance on “Loose” (Take 16, Reel 4) is almost-but-not-quite-commercial, no small accomplishment for The Stooges.  Like Alexander’s throbbing bass on “Dirt” (Take 5, Reel 11) or Ron Asheton’s screaming guitar on “1970” (Take 2, Reel 1), Iggy Pop’s throaty wail on “See That Cat (T.V. Eye)” (Reel 2) explodes with no compromises.  Desperation drips from his raspy delivery on “Lost in the Future” (Take 3, Reel 3).  Outtake “Slide (Slidin’ the Blues)” offers something a bit different, with Mackay’s tenor sax wending through the bluesy drawl.  Everything about Fun House is even more primal and raw in these alternate versions – musically unflinching, brutal, and immediate.

Designed by Peto Gerth, Highlights from The Fun House Sessions boasts a glossy gatefold with new liner notes.  In a fine touch, the two multi-colored swirl 180-gram LPs, stored in protective sleeves, have vintage Elektra butterfly replica labels.  With The Complete Fun House Sessions long out-of-print in CD format, this vinyl collection of screeching, raw power is a welcome arrival.

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