Review Revue: MC5 – Babes in Arms


You know what? I think this is the most verbose and informative album cover I’ve ever seen at KEXP (including a full, song-by-song, review at the end). So I’m just going to let the KCMU staff take it away on this one, with nothing but a “KICK OUT THE JAAAAAAAMS!!!!”

“Funkadelic made it to H. How ’bout this?”

“Of course, you realize, Robert, you’d be hearin’ ‘Shakin’ Street‘ about 3 times a day; don’t you?”

“Oh, right. The whole thing rocks… give DJs more credit, Todd.”

“No, no, it was Parliament, my friend.”

“Oh, well, I knew it was one of those old reggae groups.”

“Considering this is only an LP of ‘outtakes’ & demos & such – it really kicks! Yes, we do need Back in the USA & High Time, but they’re really hard to find. #1 is one of my fave songs ever. 2-1 was ‘ripped off’ by the Dead Kennedys for the tune of ‘Let’s Lynch the Landlord’ (Jim Bernard pointed this out to me). Check it out! Cool shit.”

“What gets me, is that the stuff coming out just like this (now) is considered so ‘cool’ + ‘cutting edge.’ Only shows the genius that is the MC5!”

“The intro to 1-8 is sampled by the KLF.”

“I can’t believe you wrote that! I guess bands are meaningless and unimportant until the KLF samples them.”

“No, no, the way I heard it was bands are meaningless and unimportant unless TAR [the previous commenter] likes them.”

“Down under, in certain circles, there is a holy trinity, from which all life springs. It is The Stooges, VU + MC5. I think ‘High Time’ was the first LP by a US band I ever bought. This is so great, although most takes were alternate for a reason.”

“I’ve been trying to prove the existence of an acoustic version of ‘Shakin’ Street’ that I heard on a tape years ago, and could never find again. All these years, waiting, hoping to find it again. Yippee! It’s the first song on here!!!”

“Former cassette-only compilation now out on vinyl thanks to this French label. An odd version of ‘Shakin’ Street’ (sounds like the Byrds) kicks this off. I prefer the more raw original.
“‘American Rose’ and ‘Skunk’ are fab and neatly show off this group’s pretensions: would-be revolutionaries and sonic innovators. They often fell on their faces with ludicrous political sloganeering and musical self-indulgences, but these two tracks still sound great.
“‘Tutti Frutti’ is lame, compared to Little Richard. ‘Gotta Keep Moving’ and ‘Tonite’ are basic, driving R + R. ‘Kick out the Jams’ is the classic – you can play it if you excise the intro. (Oops! I forgot ‘Poison’ — sounds like Grand Funk Railroad.).
“‘Sister Ann’ Rocks, but it could be a couple minutes shorter. ‘Future Now’ is more of the same, but in a more compact package. Some will probably think ‘Gold’ is the best thing on here — I find it silly.
“‘I Can Only Give You Everything’ was done better by Them but their version gets the job done. ‘One of the Guys’ is raw, amateurish garage rock — love it. ‘I Just Don’t Know’ is fierce – sounds like their Detroit contemporaries the Stooges. These guys were as punk as anyone in the late ’60s, despite their faults. One thing I wanna know is, why the fuck do we get only alternate versions from Back in the USA? The originals are the equal of these, and in many cases, far better.
“I (and ROIR) saved the best for last — ‘Looking at You’ is great rock music. Whew! A review as long and… [sorry, the rest is blurry and illegible; but you get the idea]”

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