Posts Tagged ‘Horses’



Electric Lady Studios has announced the launch of Electric Lady Records, an ongoing series of carefully curated and limited edition vinyl releases. On August 26th, 2015, the newly formed record company teamed with Patti Smith for a live, recorded performance of her landmark debut LP, Horses, itself originally recorded at the facility in 1975. Recordings from the in-studio appearance will be released on double 180g vinyl for the first time on Record Store Day as the first offering from Electric Lady Records.

Patti Smith’s Horses: Live at Electric Lady Studios doesn’t sound like a live album, and that’s a good thing. Too many concert recordings sound surprisingly flat. Even the most adventurous band can suffer from an audio engineer sticking mics in front of the amps and then leaning back while the tapes roll, ultimately making a glorified bootleg.

The new version of Horses, meanwhile, benefits from being live album cut in a recording studio in front of an audience. Patti Smith and her band celebrated the 40th anniversary of her breakthrough debut, with a performance of the whole record before a small yet excitable crowd of fans and VIPs (Michael Stipe, Liv Tyler, Dakota Johnson) in the mythic space where she originally recorded it, New York City’s Jimi Hendrix–founded Electric Lady Studios.

Their new versions can be raucous “Gloria”, resplendent “Break It Up”, morose “Free Money” and sobering “Elegie”. Smith warbles, growls, hollers and speaks with dramatic effect throughout, as guitarist Lenny Kaye wrests bluesy phrases from his instrument, making each song sound inspired and fresh. The rest of the band – drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, bassist-keyboardist Tony Shanahan and keyboardist-guitarist-bassist Jack Petruzzelli – makes the music swell around Smith’s voice. But the best thing about it is the way it sounds on vinyl, the medium Electric Lady chose to release it on in an effort to preserve its fidelity.

Other than crowd noise at the beginnings and ends of songs – a positive side effect of a reverent audience – it sounds like a studio album, but with the unbridled energy of a concert. The sound of the guitars travels between speakers for a more psychedelic impact than the original studio album, and the whole experience is crystal clear, from the squeak of Kaye’s guitar pick striking his strings to Smith’s vocal intricacies.

Smith was in her late 20s when she recorded Horses. Now, in her late 60s, her voice has taken on more depth and grit, deepening the power of every song. You can hear her panting before the final “Gloria” (a surprise at the end of “Land”), and you can hear the tickle in her throat when she raves, “Tonight is a night to party/ We want to have a good time” in “Land.” It’s an album resurrected and living dangerously.

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1. Gloria 2. Redondo Beach 3. Birdland 4. Free Money 5. Kimberly 6. Break It Up 7. Land (pt. 1 “Horses” pt. 2 “Land Of a Thousand Dances pt. 3 La Mer(de) 8. Elegie

“…[for] her hour-long, emotionally captivating performance of Horses in its entirety, the room grew silent…”
Interview Magazine

“…the intimate concert from the peerless rock icon was full of more life, fire and spit than practically any other show I’ve ever seen.”

“[She] wore an Electric Lady T-shirt under her signature black vest and jacket, sound[ing] almost invariably the same as she did on the record…”
Rolling Stone Magazine

“…deep into the record’s three-movement penultimate track “Land”… it became transcendent: Smith stepped off the small stage, onto a couch and shoved the mic into the face of a fan to sing ‘Gloooriaaa’ euphorically before hugging him. The fan was Michael Stipe.”
Rolling Stone Magazine

Jen Cloher (left) and Courtney Barnett admit to feeling a little nervous about taking on <i>Horses</i>.

It’s a shame Patti Smith left Australia off the schedule when planning her Horses 40th anniversary tour, but then again, it would have meant that the pearl of this year’s Melbourne Festival program, a tribute concert performed by Jen Cloher, Courtney Barnett, Adalita Srsen and Gareth Liddiard,

So appealing was the idea of four of our finest musicians interpreting Smith’s landmark proto-punk debut, organisers had to add a second matinee show to next Sunday’s performance at Melbourne Town Hall.

It was Cloher who came up with the idea after attending a tribute to the Beatles’ White Album at Hamer Hall last year,  “It was packed to the rafters, I was like, ‘wow’, but I also thought it would be so good to do an album by a woman,” says Cloher.
“And when you think about iconic rock ‘n’ roll albums by women, there are iconic albums out there but I think Horses is considered one of the great rock ‘n’ roll albums.” .Barnett wasn’t so willing to go to that place until recently. She recalls considering covering Horses for the Summer of Classic Albums series hosted by St Kilda’s Pure Pop Records last year. After a closer look at Smith’s lyrics, she chose INXS’ Kick instead.

“I also think that’s why that album is so famous and why Patti is so famous within that world of rock ‘n’ and roll, because she does invest her entire being when she’s on stage performing, she doesn’t hold anything back.”

Nothing like a dramatically lit pipe organ to imbue a classic rock recital with portent. It felt like a cathedral we’d packed to the balconies as the first, slow piano chords began cycling and Adalita​ paced the stage to intone Patti Smith’s immortal opening line. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.”

By accident and/or osmosis, Adalita’s booming timbre struck an uncanny resonance with the hellfire stridency of Smith’s Gloria as she stalked and glowered in skirt, boots and bracing command.

Hunched by contrast in grunge flannel and jeans, Courtney Barnett howled Redondo Beach at her own distinctively defiant pitch, with the schoolyard-scrap indignation that makes her such a compelling one-off.

Gareth Liddiard​’s advantages included a guitar and premeditated chemistry with fellow Drones Dan Luscombe and Steve Hesketh, but most of all a song that fit his shredded larynx like he’d gargled it as a baby: Birdland erupted in slashing waves as he threw every sinew into living its shamanistic dream.

Speaking of commitment, Jen Cloher​ had the toughest part and maybe the most triumphant with the escalating palpitations of Land, its long lines delivered as faithful homage but with an air of exaltation that was all her own.

An all-in thrash through My Generation threw a last can of fuel on an act of slow combustion that felt like it had been simmering for 40 years.

Performed by Gareth Liddiard
Guitar – Dan Luscombe
Drums – Jen Sholakis
Bass – Ben Bourke
Keys – Stevie Hesketh

PS _ Flickr

Exactly four decades ago on December 13th, Arista Records released Patti Smith’s debut album, “Horses”.

Horses is the debut studio album by American musician Patti Smith, released on December 13th, 1975.  Smith, a fixture of the then-burgeoning New York punk rock music scene, began recording Horses with her band in 1975 , with John Cale being enlisted to produce the album. With its fusion of simplistic rock and roll structures and Patti Smith’s freeform, Beat poetry -infused lyrics, Horses was met with widespread critical acclaim upon its initial release. At the time she recorded Horses, Patti Smith and her band were favorites in the underground club scene along with acts such as Blondie and the Ramones.

The historical importance of Horses is inarguable, above and beyond any particular aesthetic considerations. It introduced, fully formed, a daring new mystic voice in popular music. It referenced a classic persona, that of the androgynous poet/rocker, and gave it an exciting twist: the poet/rocker in question was a woman. And for listeners outside of New York, it was the first real full-length hint of the artistic ferment taking place in the mid-’70s at the juncture of Bowery and Bleecker.

The word “punk” would later be attached to everything CBGB-related, but Horses is more punk in its attitude than in its sound. It takes a cabaret approach to rock, and by cabaret I mean Brecht/Weill, not the Sweeney Sisters. Richard Sohl’s graceful keyboard work drives the arrangements more than Lenny Kaye’s scratchy guitar, and although the band can work up a good head of steam, it tends to do so in a knowingly theatrical way. This music has a deeper affinity to Van Morrison lapsing into animal noises on “Listen to the Lion” than to the primal power of the Ramones.

While we’re on the subject of animal noises, it must be acknowledged that Horses is not always a pleasant listening experience. Smith didn’t intend it to be. Over the course of its 44 minutes,

That is the abiding message of “Gloria” and “Land,” the garage-recitative suites that are Horses’ two centerpieces. The message is conveyed more through the music’s overall mood, the swells and surges of the band, and the sound of Smith’s voice—harsh edge, yearning center—than it is through her words (which, truth be told, verge on gibberish at times, especially during “Land”). And that message further confirms that this album could only have been made by people who were young and starstruck in the ’60s.

It’s true, you don’t have to be familiar with “Gloria” as rendered by the band Them or “Land of 1,000 Dances” version as rendered by Wilson Pickett to appreciate what’s going on here. But it sure helps a lot if you are, and if you subscribe to the notion that three chords and the truth are really all that matters. To quote David Bowie, “Till there was rock, you only had God.”

These holy orgiastic moments are necessary to counterbalance the rest of the disc, much of which—“Redondo Beach,” “Birdland,” “Break It Up,” “Elegie”—is fixated on death. One curious irony about Horses is that an album so closely associated with the beginning of something (punk) is itself so concerned with endings. Its celebrated opening line, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine,” now seems far less significant than its closing ones: “I think it’s sad, it’s much too bad, that our friends can’t be with us today.”

When Patti Smith sang those words, the foremost person in her mind was Jimi Hendrix. Horses was recorded, after all, in the studio he’d built, Electric Lady on 8th Street; Smith had met him there at the studio’s opening party, only weeks before he died. But she was also singing for other departed counterculture heroes like Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Brian Jones. She and her baby boomer peers felt, with some justification, that their lives had already been permanently altered by loss.

The cover photograph for Horses was taken using natural light by American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe a close friend of Smith’s, at the Greenwich Village penthouse apartment of his partner Sam Wagstaff. Smith is depicted wearing a plain white shirt which she had purchased at Salvation Army on the Bowery and slinging a black jacket over her shoulder and her favorite black ribbon around her collar. Embedded on the jacket is a horse pin that Smith’s friend Allen Lanier had given her. The record company wanted to make various changes to the photo, but Smith overruled such attempts. The black and white treatment and unisex pose were a departure from the typical promotional images of “girl singers” of the time, but Smith maintains that she “wasn’t making a big statement. That’s just the way I dressed.”

Forty years later, those losses appear minuscule compared to what Smith has suffered since. Her parents. Her brother. Her artistic kinsman Robert Mapplethorpe, whose photography helped make Horses such an arresting statement. Her bandmate Richard Sohl, whose playing so enlivens the album. And then there are Smith’s listeners, you and I. For how many important people in our own lives are we grieving, and for how many more that we’ve never even met, in New York, Paris, Charleston, San Bernardino, Colorado Springs? In 1975, the final moments of “Elegie” must have been chilling. Today, they’re a guaranteed tearjerker.

All of which is a long way of saying that the kind of pretentiousness and self-indulgence on display in Horses is the kind everyone needs from time to time. It’s a positive thing to be reminded of Smith’s wild-eyed belief in the power of rock to provide catharsis, to soothe, to heal, to transform. Unlike many of her generation, she’s never given up that belief. She was still proclaiming it loud last Sunday through her very presence on stage with U2 in Paris. Would the world be a healthier place if more of us shared her faith? It could be worth a try.


To celebrate 40 years since the release of Patti Smith’s seminal album HORSES Milk! Records in partnership with Melbourne Festival performed two tribute shows at the Melbourne Town Hall on Sunday the 18th of October 2015. Courtney’s and her band performed a cover of Patti Smith‘s ‘Redondo Beach.’ Now, Barnett’s own label Milk! Records have released footage from the evening, including a full performance of ‘Redondo Beach’.

The performance took place at a special tribute concert held by Barnett to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Patti Smith’s debut album ‘Horses.’ Barnett played ‘Horses’ in full and was joined by Jen Cloher, Magic Dirt’s Adalita and The Drones’ Gareth Liddiard for the one-off show. Courtney Barnett released her debut album ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit’ in March. she explained how the LP reflected the last year of her life.

“The album is a general overview of essentially a year of emotions – 12 months of fucking every day day, up, down, up, down. I dunno what a normal person has, but everyday I had a midlife crisis.”

Courtney Barnett and her band play their biggest UK headline show to date at London’s Forum on November 25th with gigs in Wolverhampton, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Bristol also confirmed.
For more on Milk! Records

Directed by Joshua Aylett @ Tourist
Camera Operators: Alex Cardy, David Rusanow, Maximillian Mein
Live Mix Tim Symonds for ABC Radio National ‘The Live Set’.
Post Mix Matthew Neighbour

Performed by Courtney Barnett
Guitar – Dan Luscombe
Drums – Jen Sholakis
Bass – Ben Bourke
Keys – Stevie Hesketh

Patti Smith Performed Horses at Electric Lady Studios

last Wednesday, August 27th marked, to the day, the 45 anniversary of NYC’s famed Electric Lady Studios which was originally built by Jimi Hendrix. To celebrate, Patti Smith, who was there the day it opened and recorded her classic “Horses” After recording her first single “Hey Joe/ Piss Factory” at Electric Lady Studios in 1974, in the facility’s Studio A, gave a private performance of “Horses” in its entirety to an celeb/industry crowd that included Michael Stipe, Alexander Skarsgard, Liv Tyler, Win Butler, Darren Aronofsky, Alison Mosshart, Dakota Johnson and more. Watching Smith and three-quarters of her original band, including guitarist Lenny Kaye and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, blaze through Horses live wasn’t a one-off experience; Patti Smith and her band has already been touring the globe doing just that, and will be coming back to New York’s Beacon Theatre on November 10 for a similar show. (She’ll also be touring with her new book, M Train, a collection of essays about her travels.) But there was something about being surrounded by Electric Lady’s ghosts that seemed to energize the singer.

But it’s spite of all the numbers and anniversaries, nothing felt nostalgic, or even comfortable, about the performance. From the moment Smith spat out the first G of “Gloria” (not to mention the multiple times she literally spit sizable gobs on stage and into the audience), the room — big for a studio but incredibly intimate for a concert — crackled with a nervous, exhilarating ecstasy. It’s thrilling enough to hear Smith’s uncompromising sneer on record; it’s awe-inspiring to see her bellowing a full-throated “Glooooo-reee-a!” into the microphone just feet away from you (btw, her voice hasn’t diminished with age). For the first time in my life, I understood what the Old Testament describes as the terrifying glory of God  

Given the nature of the album and the event, the concert could have been a rather serious (albeit rocking) affair, but Patti Smith made sure it wasn’t. She joked about flipping over the record from side A to B after wrapping a fiery “Free Money,” and after mangling a word at the top of “Birdland” (which starts with, “His father died and left him a little farm in New England”), she told the band to start over and deadpanned, “His dad is gonna have to die again.”Before wrapping with “Elegie,” Smith explained how she wrote the delicate dirge after finding out about Jimi Hendrix‘s death — fitting, since the show was to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Electric Lady Studios opening (which Smith was present for, as detailed in Just Kids). She extended the three-minute album track into a longer tribute to lost rock warriors, respectfully reading their names — including her late husband Fred “Sonic” Smith and King of New York Lou Reed — into the microphone.

Despite ending with a list of the lost, the intimate concert from the peerless rock icon was full of more life, fire and spit than practically any other show I’ve ever seen. It will be interesting to see if that comes across on wax when Electric Lady Records issues the concert on vinyl as its first-ever release, or if it’s one of those situations where the electricity was more in the air than on the recording.

Four decades after it entered the world, Horses remains the most exciting union of rock and poetry on record — and its power to make you feel fully alive hasn’t diminished one iota.

If you were like us and not there, Patti Smith’s Horses performance will be released on vinyl and will be the first LP to come out via Electric Lady Records. Release date TBA. (She’ll also be performing Horses at the Beacon Theatre in November which is already sold out.

Jesus died for somebody’s sins, …but not Patti’s! A zealous fan shouted “Bring it” when they came back out for the encore and Patti, who had been in a pretty good mood all night, said” Bring what? …snacks for everybody? I really just want to take a shit on the stage and walk off” she then lightens up and well,

Patti Smith


This engrossing live broadcast captures Patti Smith at a pivotal moment in her career. Her stunningly original debut, ‘Horses’, had been released just a few weeks earlier. Although the record has since become a landmark release, and widely cited as one of Rock music’s greatest albums,  at the time Patti Smith was still performing in small clubs such as New York City’s 400-capacity Bottom Line, located at 15, West Fourth Street, and venue for this very gig. One of a string of seven sell-out performances Smith gave at this legendary Greenwich Village club in December 1975, they were intended as warm-ups for her first major tour of the USA, planned to begin in early 1976. In 1975 the group expanded to include second guitarist Ivan Kral and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty. The Patti Smith Group was signed to Arista Records by label supremo Clive Davis, allegedly on a recommendation from Lou Reed. Another ex-Velvet, John Cale, was bought in to produce ‘Horses’ at New York’s Electric Ladyland Studios. The sessions began in August 1975 and were completed the following month. Despite the records release being just a few months prior to this gig, the set features an eclectic mixture of material, opening with some quite extraordinary poetry recitals. From ‘Horses’ versions of Redono Beach, Free Money, Birdland and a medley of Land and Patti’s interpretation of Van Morrisons Gloria are included. Gloria was also issued as a single in 1976 together with a live version of The Who’s My Generation, a number that also closes this performance. The set also features two songs that would feature on 1976’s ‘Radio Ethiopia’, Ain’t It Strange and Pumping My Heart. Looking further ahead, both Privilege (Set Me Free) and Space Monkey remained unreleased until 1978’s ‘Easter’. There are also acknowledgements of Patti’s disparate musical influences in the shape of covers of the Velvets Pale Blue Eyes, Time Is On My Side, written by Jerry Ragovoy but immortalized by The Rolling Stones, and the perennial garage band classic Louie Louie. This is available through Amazon now.




Patti Smith is to celebrate the classic album and her breakthrough debut  “Horses”  recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York and also featured Televisions Tom Verlaine and Blue Oyster Cult’s Allen Lanier and released in 1975 . Horses 40th anniversary with a series of Gigs and events in Paris, London and New York, the date is November 10th as its a true milestone recording the original album was due to be released on October 20th the birth date of poet Arthur Rimbaud the 19th century poet, but due to shortages of vinyl at that time the date was put back to November 10th which was the anniversary of Rimbauds death the album that contained the single “Gloria” and also concert staples like “Redondo Beach” and “Free Money” and “Kimberly” the band still features guitarist Lenny Kaye drummer Jay Dee Daughtery both of whom played on “Horses” , when the 30th Legacy edition was re-issued a second live album recorded in the The Royal Festival Hall at the Meltdown Festival in 2005 was include with the same running order.  Also Patti is finishing a new book a follow up after the “Just Kids” which profiled her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe  from 2010.


Horses was one of the most important albums for me when I bought it I played it non stop for months, it has a great live feel to it too,


Slow molasses drip under a tipped-up crescent moon.

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