April 4th, 1978 – Sonic’s Rendezvous Band (Easy Action)
This recording is where it all started for recent Sonic’s Rendezvous Band fans. Originally issued in 1998 as “Sweet Nothing”, it was the first non-bootleg, live recording that stood up, sonically speaking, and both the CD and LP pressings sold out quickly.
A second disc of live and tweaked studio stuff (“City Slang”) surfaced a year later and we’ve been fairly spoiled with a flow of material since then.
“Sweet Nothing” was an ear-opener in all senses of the term. No longer did you need to listen to “Strikes Like Lightning” or any of the other lamentably poor quality boots and ponder why nobody in Detroit in the mid-‘70s owned a boombox with a decent microphone.
The steady stream of releases peaked with Easy Action’s lavish 2006 “Sonic’s Rendezvous Band” box set, a six-disc CD collection that included rehearsals, other live recordings and a spruced-up version of this show. Now, this vinyl release has arrived as part of the annual Record Store Day hoopla.
If you’ve heard all the SRB stories – our Ken Shimamoto retrospective is the best place to go if you haven’t – you’ll know that the band never broke out of its Michigan surrounds. They issued just one studio single (stereo and mono versions of the monstrously great “City Slang”) when they were a going concern.
SRB fell apart in 1980, through a combination of changing internal dynamics, career drift and leader Fred “Sonic” Smith finding a new love interest. So-called punk-poet Patti Smith, of course, would become his wife. A sabbatical for both, raising a family, would ensue. The rest of the band more or less carried on with Scott Morgan at the helm and his name on the shingle.
But back to this LP. If you don’t have a copy, you need to fix that shit - quick smart. If you only have it on CD, I’m going to break with convention, go all vinyl junkie on you, and tell you that you still need it. Right now.
Any digitally-processed music committed to vinyl needs specialised mastering, but you often have to have an audiophile’s ear to appreciate the difference. “April 4th, 1978” packs a definite punch in its LP format. There’s more fibre in the bottom end it’s punchier.
So, you get 10 songs with Morgan and Smith splitting it 40:60 on vocals. The nearly nine-minute “City Slang” is thunderous. So is the drumming of the late Scott “Rock Action” Asheton.
You won't hear a better rock and roll show any time soon, and is as the nature of these things, it's available in a limited quantity. The five Rolling Rocks below don't lie; the link after that takes you to where you can buy youir copy.