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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 115 - Sunday Morning Favourites #15 Patti Smith

An album of Cover Versions? It always seems to raise a question mark at the end of it and an album of Cover Versions by Patti Smith certainly raised a lot of questions and a lot of, I think, unhealthy criticism. So it's not necessarily what you expected at first and some of the choices seemed a little odd:

  01.Are You Experienced? (Jimi Hendrix)
    02. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
    03. Helpless (Neil Young)
    04. Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)
   05.  Within You Without You (The Beatles)
    06. White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
    07. Changing of the Guards (Bob Dylan)
    08.The Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon)
    09. Soul Kitchen (The Doors)
    10. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
    11. Midnight Rider (The Allman Brothers)*
    12. Pastime Paradise (Stevie Wonder)
13. Everybody Hurts (R.E.M.) - Bonus Track
*(Midnight Rider is missing from the playlist as I couldn't find a version on You Tube at all of it. Not all the versions on the playlist are the actual studio versions as they appear on the album a few of them are live performances of the particular track

The music press took a sword to it and other critics were not so kind either. Chris Jones on the BBC Website said it is, "a very mixed bag indeed which is a real shame as, when she hits the right territory, she really gives us an insight into her roots and also demonstrates a sensitivity that’s impossible to resist. Twelve may have to remain an oddity in her canon, destined for selective downloading rather than a fully-formed experience."

Joshua Klein on Pitchfork sums up saying, "Smith's comeback has been one of the most welcome and impressive of the reunion-rife post-grunge era. Her albums still seize, spark, and scream like Smith did at any of her scattered peaks. Twelve, on the other hand, is nothing but a big comedown, a placeholder in a career that's long been about soldiering forward, not stumbling backward. It's not an album to get lost in. It's an album you listen to once, then lose. It makes you long for another comeback, the sooner the better to redeem this pointless misstep."

There are things they are saying in their reviews that I do understand but I'm afraid I do not follow their path of casting it aside. I actually quite like it myself, even the bizzare choices of things like Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World or Paul Simon's The Boy In The Bubble I find quite endearing. I totally disagree with the bloke from Pitchfork about it being an "album that you listen to once then lose", because it's an album I have played many times since it was released 9 years ago!

It may not be to everyone's liking and that's fine but I think that Patti Smith made an album she wanted to make and feels no shame that she did make it, even with all it's little quirks. The bravest track on the album has to be Smells Like The Teen Spirit performed like a kind of Bluegrassy Roots tune! That was most unexpected indeed as I thought maybe she would be kicking up a storm with it, but that was not really what the album is about. It's just one woman who's comfortable in her own skin and confident with the things she likes whether or not a reviewer somewhere agrees with her or not. For that we should be grateful to Patti Smith.

 Twelve - Patti Smith
Produced by Patti Smith
Released April 2007
US Chart #60
UK Chart #63

    Patti Smith – vocals, clarinet
    Lenny Kaye – guitar
    Jay Dee Daugherty – drums, percussion, accordion
    Tony Shanahan – bass, keyboards, vocals

Additional personnel
   Barre Duryea – bass
    David Bett – art direction
    Duncan Webster – guitar
    Flea – bass
    Giovanni Sollima – cello
    Jack Petruzelli – guitar
    Jackson Smith – guitar
    Jesse Smith – backing vocals
    John Cohen – banjo
    Luis Resto – piano
    Mario Resto – drums
    Paul Nowinski – double bass
    Peter Stampfel – fiddle
    Rich Robinson – dulcimer, guitar
    Sam Shepard – banjo
    Tom Verlaine – guitar
    Walker Shepard – banjo

Also included in the playlist above is the 7" Single "two more"
A-Side: Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
B-Side: Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect (The Decemberists)

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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