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MC5 ‘Are You Ready To Testify - The Live Bootleg Anthology’ (3CD Box) Castle CMETD1040 (2004)

MC5 won the 2004 Kerrang! Icon Award - and rightly deserved too. Influential with a massive live reputation too. Classic energetic hard rock with a proto punk edge. So this 3-CD well annotated live set will please many.

Until you hear it. Live Bootleg is the key. The quality is appalling. Murky, muffled and sludgy. Worse than those old tapes you could buy in the 80s.

That said, disc 1 (from June 1968) is pretty much a complete concert with lots of energy and volume.

Opener 'Ramblin Rose' is a classic and the epic 'Kick Out The James' goes down well - they probably never realised at the time what a signature it would be for them. The rockíníroll of 'Tutti Frutti' blends in nicely.

Over a year later and January 1970 is a much better recording and performance. Itís still pretty bad but infinitely better than the first disc. The band are tighter too. Vocalist Rob Tyner controls things well, and Wayne Crammerís guitar is in places a masterpiece.

Again opening with 'Ramblin Rose', we also get 'Kick Out The Jams' and many an MC5 classic.

The 3rd disc is a bonus 4 track EP with more tracks from September 68.

For the casual fan it may be a bit too much but if youíre seriously into them this is a great package. Well annotated. Three card sleeves and a booklet in a box. A 5* item with points off for the poor sound quality.


Review by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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