Essential Remnants: #36. Patti Smith, Horses June 29, 2013 by peter I heard this in a bookstore in San Francisco in 1976 and within days decided to move back to NY, where such sounds could be found on the street. (PK) Share this:FacebookLinkedInEmailTwitterMoreTumblrPinterestReddit
It took a LONG time for this album to kick in for me – like till now. No, there were always a few songs I liked such as “Free Money.” But for me it had the taint of ideology about it, although at least the ideology was vague. Yeah I know, an ideological sex symbol, only in America. At the time in New York, very quickly the scene split into two camps, the art camp and the rocker camp. Patti and her boys led the art camp which included Talking Heads and the latter-day Television, with the Heartbreakers, Mink DeVille and Tuff Darts prominent on the rocker side. The Ramones straddled the line and Blondie were not considered anything, although they should have been. I was firmly in the rocker camp and viewed this record – the first to be released from the CBGB/Max’s scene – with suspicion and my antennae hyper sensitive to “pseudo-poetic bullshit,” as one of my friends put it. But I have to admit that this record has stood up and vindicated the band’s vision, which I would say merges rocknroll and free jazz, with the words/singing taking the place of the dreaded instrumental excursions of the latter. An improvement to be sure. And of course it is a landmark, and despite the whiff of Art the band does rock. That’s what counts.
Saw Patti and band at the Fillmore last October, and she still has it! This is a great album, for sure. And, well, Patti was awesome enough for Gilda Radner to parody on SNL early on. Apotheosis does not climb any higher in our culture.
She wanted to be a poet, but all those words worked best when backed by Lenny and Ivan and Jay Dee and Richard.
And vice versa, maybe. During her hiatus I went to see Lenny Kaye play at Tramps and the magic level was zero. Not that he couldn’t play or didn’t have any tunes, but he wasn’t adventurous, he didn’t inspire.