Gimme Some Skin - Iggy Pop (Cleopatra Records)
Seven 45s full of Iggy Pop and Iggy and the Stooges goodness. Packaged in a box with some incident extras (patch, big hole single adapter) thrown in. OK, you probably don’t need this box set from Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records but you may still want it.
There are some worthwhile oddities in this box of Pop and Stoogedom. The cover of The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” with an un-credited solo band is suitably off-the-wall although Ig’s vocal is buried too deep. No such problem with “White Christmas” where Pop indulges his bass baritone to a sludgy background sweetened by strings. I don’t know how often I’ll play this one. It reminds me of Bob Dylan croaking Xmas carols.
The updated version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” (again with an uncredited backing band) raises obvious questions (like Why?) but is actually borderline great. There’s a cover of the Who’s “I Can’t Explain” (for a forthcoming tribute album) that’s fairly anonymous. Which is to say Iggy does the call-and-response vocals but the song itself is played fairly straight.
You’ve heard much of this collection (“Gimme Some Skin”, the brutal but always welcome “Tight Pants”, “Scene of the Crime” and “Cock in My Pocket”) and it’s appropriately labelled with either the Iggy Pop or (in the case of these songs) the Iggy and the Stooges moniker. Less heard is the untogether cover of “Money”, a hangover from the “Raw Power” sessions that made its way to Easy Action’s “Heavy Liquid” box set. This version sounds brighter. “Louie Louie” also dates from the “Raw Power” sessions.
The “single edit” of “Open Up And Bleed” is from the Detroit rehearsals version of the band with Bob Sheff on keys. This is the version that speeds up, truncated at the start and faded in in to fit on a 45. Nice. “Cock In My Pocket” is similar vintage.
This “Johanna” maybe me mis-labelled. It sounds like the one Bomp issued on “The Year of the Iguana” and credited to the “Kill City” band. Whatever its lineage) has always demanded a soft spot. It’s murderous.
The real nugget lies in the live Stooges version of Skip James’ “I’m So Glad”. As far as I can determine, it’s previously unreleased. The bass is boomy but the drums are quite distinct. Iggy sounds strung out. Is that James W on guitar? If so, he’s sitting back and the attack is nowhere near as frenetic as you might expect. Presumably modelled on Cream’s version, the origin of this merits further investigation, although James Williamson himself says it might be real, it might not be, as he doesn’t recall.
The package includes a book with Robert Matheu photos and liners that don’t add much and skip details of the solo band line-ups. If you love 45rpm singles as an art form unto themselves, you will spring for this anyway. As I do and did.