Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sonic Youth 'Smart Bar Chicago 1985'

Goofin' records has unearthed one, if not the, earliest known live recording of Sonic Youth.  Predominantly, the tracks are from 'Bad Moon Rising' and these live versions wonderfully capture the improvisational quality of the band adding a new dimension to studio recordings we've come to know so well.  Raucous guitars, savage vocals, forthright drums alongside audience banter drifting in and out of focus create a great sense of chaos throughout the album. Two 4-track recordings were made at Chicago's Smart Bar in 1985.  The first by Rich Menning from Atomic Records, who only realized he'd accidentally left the tape deck on pause half way through the first song, the second recording was by Aadam Jacobs - this live album is an amalgamation of both tapes.  Personal favourites on here are 'Death Valley '69', 'Brother James' and 'The Burning Spear'.  Like so many other people out there I'm my sure Sonic Youth are one of my favourite bands, and for me 'Smart Bar Chicago 1985' isn't just a great document of the band for fans, it's also a great live album.

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