“Radio Ethiopia” by Patti Smith Group - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1976Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Patti Smith has now become the Patti Smith Group; in comparison to “Horses”, “Radio Ethiopia” side-steps from the punk fringes to the rock mainstream, relatively speaking, but only to the slight detriment of the relationship between Patti and I. The key-word here is, of course, relative, for the fire-in-her-belly remains, as does the evocative, intelligent poetry from her soul, and the attitude spat out in her delivery. Her vocal theatrics are a joy; she’s so heart-felt. All of the best action is to be found in the first half with the riff-tastic stadium-rocker “Ask The Angels”, the stoned-dub goodness of “Ain’t It Strange” (God vs Rock n Roll? Bring it on G) and the counterintuitive piano-rock eloquence of “Pissing In A River”. At the close of play, the surprising delve into progressive avant-garde territories for “Radio Ethiopia” and its trail-off, “Abyssinia”, is un-nerving and alienates punks and rockers alike, akin to what the VU did with their “European Son” all those years ago. I’m still very much with her by the end, and looking forward to the next episode.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:07] 8.3.png Patti Smith Group - Ask The Angels (Patti Smith, Ivan Kral) Rock
A2 [06:35] 8.0.png Patti Smith Group - Ain’t It Strange (Patti Smith, Ivan Kral) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
A3 [07:05] 7.8.png Patti Smith Group - Poppies (Patti Smith, Richard Sohl) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
A4 [04:41] 8.4.png Patti Smith Group - Pissing In A River (Patti Smith, Ivan Kral) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
B1 [03:20] 6.9.png Patti Smith Group - Pumping (My Heart) (Patti Smith, Ivan Kral, Jay Dee Daugherty) Proto-Punk
B2 [04:17] 6.6.png Patti Smith Group - Distant Fingers (Patti Smith, Allen Lanier) New Wave
B3 [10:00] 7.0.png Patti Smith Group - Radio Ethiopia (Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye) Prog
B4 [02:10] 6.0.png Patti Smith Group - Abyssinia (Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Richard Sohl) Prog

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