Everyone is familiar by now with the legendary legacy of the MC5. As agit-prop band for the White Panther Party, they smashed the unstated taboo against an overt political stance within a rock 'n' roll framework. Subsequent bands like Clash, the D.K.'s, and R.A.T.M. owe much to these trailblazers.
My husband, who was down with the White Panthers when he was a kid, points to this collection as perhaps the best from the John Sinclair archives. I agree. Certainly the sound is far better than usual, with some terrific live outtakes from Jams. I Believe To My Soul is a standout, along with the alternate M.C. Is Burning and the J.B. medley. The rantings of W.P.P. "spiritual advisor" Jesse Crawford are much appreciated, including his support of the Zenta Commandments...
White Panther Chairman John Sinclair is present for some stoned saxophone ramblings on the crazed improv I'm Mad Like Eldridge Cleaver. Remember Eldridge from the good old days when he was the eloquent Minister of Info for Black Panther Party before he lost his mind and became a born-again Republican? At any rate, this is a solid collection for fans of this great band, and stands as an excellent companion piece to their three classic albums. (amazon)
The problem with these rarities compilations of the MC5 and the Stooges is they usually just coast on the band's legend while releasing [poor] quallity live recordings and demos. The new MC5 retro is a rare exception. While it may not be as essential as "Babes In Arms" this one does have excellent quallity out takes & altrernitive takes from "KIck Out the Jams"! That same show produced a cover of Ray Charles' "I believe to my soul" which, up until now, has not even been availible as a bootleg! (Other outkates from "Jams" not yet availible are "looking at you", "black to comm" and Screamin' Jay's "I put a spell on you.") Also, you get the alts of "Moter City's burnin'" and "rama lama fa faf fa". The rest of the CD is more or less the usual mediocer stuff usually associated with comps like these but die hard MC5 fans (like myself) will want this for the "Jams" outtakes. You'll be so pleased with those you'll forgive the rest of the album. (amazon)