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"KICK OUT THE JAMS"
By Mick Farren
MARCH 1969
 

    AFTER a four-page spread in ROLLING STONE, and the rumblings of a full Elektra publicity campaign it is very hard to see what all the fuss is about with MC5. Much of the MC5's first album (MC5, Elektra EKS-74042) is the same kind of 'raw power is a substitute for originality' music that was very evident on the first Blue Cheer album.

    The drawback to this record is the fact that it is not a studio production, but was recorded live at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit and has much the same muddled sound as the Stones' 'Got Live If You Want It' EP. In fact, so muddled that it fails on one level to communicate the excitement that is generated be a really heavy stage show, while at the same time not making a really valid musical statement.

    One would have thought that someone along the line would have realised the basic point that the live performance and the record are two different media and require a different approach, and although the MC5 stage act with its revival meeting shouts 'I want to hear revolution, brothers and sisters' is probably very effective, the recorded tracks when compared with other statements of revolution (eg. The Doors 'Five to One', or the Stones 'Street Fighting Man') do not make it in terms of either construction or originality.

    The group are hopefully sincere in their role as "White Panthers", and, God knows, it is about time more rock bands became involved with their environment, but it must be remembered by any group that embarks on this trip that it requires the same degree of planning as the top twenty hit and the TV commercial to be able to compete for the attention of the mass audience, and that reworking 'Natchez Burning' under the title 'Motorcity Burning' really does not make it.

(Originally published under the title 'MC5 Muddle' in IT #53 March 28 - April 10, 1969)

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