IGGY & THE STOOGES: Ready to Die: CD

There are some subtle differences between this and The Weirdness, the last Stooges record since their reformation. Iggy is front and center on the cover and the back. Way in the back cover photo, and out of focus, are two figures who I can guess are Scott Asheton and James Williamson. Mike Watt? You have to open the insert to see any sign of him. Okay—first, Mike has played in the band for ten years now. Second, this is an ex-Minutemen we are talking about for chrissakes! Okay, I’m calmed down now. The music certainly has more texture than the rough-as-hell Ron Asheton era. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to the fans. Williamson is still on his game, but I’m not hearing a riff as memorable as “Penetration” here. “Dirty Deal” finds Williamson mining old territory to good effect. Sax and backing vocals are more prominent, but the music still has bite. There’s even acoustic guitar on “Unfriendly World.” It all fits together, but it’s not the same band, I guess is what it comes down to. Worth checking out, but you are not going to play this more than Raw Power, that’s for damn sure.

 –koepenick (Fat Possum, fatpossum.com)