By Rob Jones
A few months on from the arrival of her epic Horses album and Patti Smith is on stage in San Francisco. It is February 1976 and a seminal sonic storm is starting to soar. Bicentenary Blues released on Good Ship Funke has Patti display positive elements from her own catalogue but she honours those forces that helped shape this aural assault. That means that this performance CD originally recorded for FM Radio also has Smith cover tunes by the likes of The Who, Velvet Underground and The Rolling Stones.
The sound quality is not always of a superior nature but there is no doubt the intentions are honourable. Smith is spearheading a new breed but these fresh faces are taking their lead from a series of rock n roll rebels in order to carve their own niche for a new generation. There are several highs and of particular impact is the reggae tinged self penned Redondo Beach (later to be covered by Morrissey) and the ferocious Free Money (which also became a Penetration favourite). However, a poetic interlude has the gig take its foot off the pedal before a barnstorming close of Gloria Part 1 & 2 plus My Generation.
To capture the mood of a potent past influencing a powerful present this work is a fine representation of a changing sonic landscape. Punk and its urban cry is a developing genre and on either side of the Atlantic there is major movement in the direction of dissent towards the establishment. This is a warts and all example of a spirit that was to alter the balance of order and send shockwaves amongst the hierarchy.