Sunday, February 19, 2012

MC5 - High Time [1971]

In honor of the passing of MC5 bassman Michael Davis, I give you their third and final 'regular' album, High Time.  I won't say too much about it, but this is the Five so you should be getting this regardless. It's probably their best overall, though obviously Kick Out the Jams gets points for being a live thing. But the production on this record is so good and full, I think I have to say it's my favorite. 'Future/Now' gets pretty psyched-out, but mostly they've got some real strong, turned-to-11 r&b sounds going on here; I honestly have a hard time seeing how High Time, judged on its actual merits (the sound and the songs, and ignoring the commercial hindrances presented by saying "motherfuckers" on a record and the whole White Panther Party thing), could not have been successful. These songs are a perfect fit for the radio sounds of 1971, and they'd been pioneering this stuff, yet success eluded them. The Man had it in for them I tell ya.

I prefer side 2 on this record but the whole thing is good.

By the way, does anybody know if the Five's performance at the 1968 DNC in Chicago (everyone else scheduled to play, besides the Five and Phil Ochs, chickened out) was properly recorded? All I have ever seen from their show is this (soundless) clip supposedly taken by the Department of Defense:

Discogs link for CDs and LPs
They don't know 'coz they're stuck in the past


  1. Yes, yes, yes! Of their three proper albums it's the most overlooked but their definitive statement to my ear. Ask Lemmy, he'll tell you. And Lemmy is god.

  2. Definitely overlooked. Glad you agree.

  3. It's their best, but everybody likes that Kick out the Jams because Rob T. said MF on the intro(BFD) and because the lyrical tome on this album was positive. This album really shows their chops, especially with a guitar "woman tone" that makes Clapton realize what a boring wanker he became in the 1970's. The free jazz influence and skillful production makes this their masterpiece. This is a the band in their prime.