As I’m sure most of you are aware, Iggy & The Stooges’ Raw Power is one of my favorite albums. It was recently reissued as a double-disced set containing the original David Bowie mix of the album (which has been out of print for a while in favor of Iggy Pop’s new mix in the 90s) and a live CD as the bonus disc.
Raw Power more than lives up to its title. This is the album that almost single-handed created the blueprint for punk. So how does the original Bowie mix stand up to Iggy’s reworking?
The original Bowie Mix: This recording is more primitive, making the album sound like it was recorded in a tin can. Also, I’m not a fan of the fade-outs particularly on “Search & Destroy” and “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell”. Pop has often described Shake Appeal as him getting his Little Richard on, and I’ve often wondered what he was talking about. Bowie’s version has a little more bounce, so now I finally see what Iggy was talking about.
Iggy’s remix: This version is loud. Even in its original incarnation, Raw Power was musically one of the loudest albums ever, but Iggy’s re-mix ranks as one of the loudest sounding albums ever. Pop put the audio levels in red, so it would purposely cause distortion. He also added in vocals that originally had been taken out. While I like Bowie’s mix, I prefer this one because this is the version I am used to, and it sounds like a band pummeling everything in their path.
Georgia Peaches Bonus Live CD. Iggy has often said that the Stooges were more musically proficient than they were sometimes given credit more. This live CD showcases both the anarchy and musical power of the Stooges at their best. At first I wondered what the hell the Stooges were doing with a background piano player, but without the addition of the piano it would be too out of control. Somehow, the piano holds it together. Iggy baits the audience even yelling, “you want to get your faced?” to an audience member. While other groups may have had better stage shows in the mid 70’s and control, there was a true sense of urgency with the Stooges live shows that makes them among the most exciting acts ever.