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CD Review: James Williamson – Re-Licked

| 3 December 2014 | 1 Reply

CD Review: James Williamson – Re-Licked
Leopard Lady Records
October 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

James Williamson - Re-Licked cover

James Williamson and lggy Pop wrote the follow-up to The Stooges’ seminal Raw Power in ’73 and ‘74, honing many of the tracks in their drug-chaos-fuelled live
Shows, but they never got the chance to record them, with the band unable to find a record deal and imploding in February of ‘74.

You should know all this, already – including the fact that Williamson had always harboured a desire to do the songs justice in a recording studio, rather than leave them existing solely on bootlegs of varying quality from Stooges shows of the era.

He’s finally manage to fulfil that dream with Re-Licked – and it is a behemoth of a record.

We know some will take to the higher ground and dispute the relevance of Stooges songs played with most of The Stooges now passed, and Iggy nowhere to be seen, but Williamson suggested this project when The Stooges went in to record Ready To Die a couple of years ago, and Pop nixed the idea. Re-Licked is a James Williamson album, and a great one at that.

With Iggy unwilling to relive the past (and invite the inevitable comparisons with their former work) Williamson re-worked the songs with some of the modern-day Stooges and a few other friends, then inviting an array of singers to lay their vocals onto the tracks.

Williamson’s fiery guitars are always at the fore, underpinning everything, and despite having fourteen singers across the albums ten tracks and six ‘b-sides and bonus alternate tracks’, Re-Licked manages to avoid sounding like a collection of disparate contributions (like some tribute albums) and instead delivers a riotous record that’s an essential purchase for any serious rock fan.

Jello Biafra opens the show on Head On The Curve, his unique vocals making the song sound like a head on collision of the Dead Kennedys & The Stooges. Carolyn Wonderland’s gorgeously honeyed blues vocals transform Open Up And Bleed into a chills-up-the-spine masterpiece. Bobby Gillespie is probably the closest to lggy on Scene Of The Crime while Williamson oozes feral jungle vibes throughout She Creatures Of The Hollywood Hills, Ariel Pink channelling The Stooges inimitable style

Alison Mossheart flew from London to The States specially to record her songs, and makes ‘Til The End Of The Night her own with a broody, moody performance. Lisa Kekaula she-cat-growls through I Got A Right – perhaps the most garagey tirade present, and it’s a two-and-a-third-minute shot of adrenalin direct to the heart.

Mossheart duets with Mark Lanagan on the smouldering Wild Love, while cult soul rocker Ron Young shakes his Rubber Leg to great effect. As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s the bonus tracks – Wonderland nails Gimme Some Skin, Nicke Andersson and Gary Floyd both tackle Cock in Pocket with very different gusto, and Kekaula does
a similarly wild take on Heavy Liquid, amongst others.

Re-Licked feels like a Rosetta Stone of rock n’ roll – a historical document of sorts that combines the very foundations of modern rock with some of the most relevant of it’s more recent progenators, and Williamson has well & truly delivered the goods.

Category: CD Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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  1. SHANE’S 2014 ROUNDUP | 100% ROCK MAGAZINE | 1 January 2015

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