Posts Tagged ‘Patti Smith Group’



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

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.


This is a brilliant video from Music Vault, an almost two and a half hour with The Patti Smith Group right after the release of the album “Easter”. What a band and what a great time for the band and Patti Smith. They tear through the songs, the band is as tight as they get and the power is immense. I can understand Bob Dylan’s admiration of this force of nature.

Patti Smith could not have been met with a more enthusiastic home-crowd, and it’s a really great performance. This is from the year I discovered this wonderful artist (from Rockpalast 1979) But it is here in New Jersey that Patti Smith is at home and the performance really feels like she is with a familiar bunch of people.

Patti Smith – vocals, Lenny Kaye – guitar, vocals, Richard Sohl – keyboards, Ivan Kral – bass, Jay Dee Daugherty – drums

Set list:
1 – Privilege (Set Me Free)
2 – So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
3 – Dancing Barefoot
4 – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (a bit)
5 – Redondo Beach
6 – Revenge (aborted)
7 – 5-4-3-2-1
8 – Citizen Ship
9 – Ask The Angels
10 – Poppies
11 – Lenny Kaye Intro
12 – Secret Agent Man
13 – Wave (incomplete)
14 – Revenge (take 2)
15 – Pumping (My Heart)
16 – Mr. Tambourine Man
17 – Broken Flag
18 – Till Victory
19 – Ain’t It Strange
20 – Cold Turkey
21 – Because The Night
22 – Frederick
23 – Seven Ways Of Going
24 – Gloria
25 – Pledge of Allegiance / Star Spangled Banner / My Generation

Patti Smith and her band at Webster Hall, New York. December 29, 2014. Just before this, Patti sang “Distant Fingers,” and brilliantly worked a story about her love for David Tennant into the lyrics at the end of that song. She then explains how she had the stomach flu and ended up watching 9 hours of Doctor Who, for the main reason of admiring David Tennant.


At two and a half hours of The Patti Smith Group right after the release of “Easter”. What a band and what a great time for the band and Patti Smith. They tear through the songs, the band is as tight as they get and the power is immense. I can understand Bob Dylan’s admiration of this force of nature.Patti Smith could not have been met with a more enthusiastic home-crowd, and it’s a really great performance. This is from the year I discovered this wonderful artist (from Rockpalast 1979) But it is here in New Jersey that Patti Smith is at home and the performance really feels like she is with a familiar bunch of people.

Primal performance with a band at the top of their game!
0:00:00 – Privilege (Set Me Free)
0:04:01 – Stage Banter
0:04:43 – So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
0:12:51 – Stage Banter
0:13:52 – Dancing Barefoot
0:18:39 – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
0:19:24 – Redondo Beach
0:23:57 – Stage Banter
0:25:07 – Revenge (aborted)
0:28:46 – Stage Banter
0:30:06 – 5-4-3-2-1
0:32:55 – Stage Banter
0:33:45 – Citizen Ship
0:39:06 – Ask The Angels
0:42:25 – Crowd Ambience
0:43:19 – Poppies
0:53:31 – Lenny Kaye Intro
0:55:44 – Secret Agent Man
0:58:16 – Wave (incomplete)
1:00:22 – Revenge (take 2)
1:05:53 – Stage Banter
1:06:54 – Pumping (My Heart)
1:10:55 – Mr. Tambourine Man
1:14:34 – Broken Flag
1:19:45 – Stage Banter
1:20:59 – Till Victory
1:24:25 – Ain’t It Strange
1:34:42 – Cold Turkey
1:38:56 – Because The Night
1:42:40 – Stage Banter
1:43:15 – Frederick
1:49:12 – Seven Ways Of Going
1:56:55 – Stage Banter
1:57:36 – Gloria
2:03:39 – Encore Applause
2:07:14 – Pledge of Allegiance / Star Spangled Banner / My Generation
2:15:15 – feedback / crowd ambience

Patti Smith – vocals
Lenny Kaye – guitar, vocals
Richard Sohl – keyboards
Ivan Kral – bass
Jay Dee Daugherty – drums


Live at WBAI studio, New York May 28th, 1975. With Ivan Kral, Lenny Kaye and Richard Sohl, the original line up of the Patti Smith Group they helped make this a truly historic night. This recording is perfect! Everything you wanna hear and everything that’s missing in music today, is captured on this disc. The spontaneity, improv and language packaged all together with the sound…it is utter perfection! This may not be hardcore, metal, or punk by the masses definition, but for me it doesn’t get any more honest than Patti Smith. Another excellent live album now available on Amazon.