Tuesday, October 25, 2016

40 Year Itch : Heard It On The Radio

Patti Smith Group :  Poppies

this is exactly what's going down, i'm alone. there is no sound.cars hiss by my window...a sonic drone...id like to get up and put LA Woman on but i just can't
-Patti Smith, liner notes

On October 22, 1976 The Patti Smith Group released Radio Ethiopia, a more conventional set of rock songs than Horses. Produced by Jack Douglas (Toys in the Attic, Imagine), the album is more band-oriented than a spotlight for the poet/prophet.

Some critics accused Patti Smith of selling out. Not the best ones. Robert Christgau gave the album an A-minus grade which helped Radio Ethiopia squeeze into the 1976 Pazz and Jop Critics poll at #30:

 When it works, which is just about everywhere but the (eleven-minute) title track, this delivers the charge of heavy metal without the depressing predictability; its riff power--and the riffs are even better than the lyrics on this rockpoet experiment--has the human elan of a band that is still learning to play. 

Radio Ethiopia is for people who go to sleep and dream of waking somewhere else.
-Ann Powell, Cinema Book

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