Guitarist/songwriter James Williamson is not an original member of The Stooges, but he will forever be appreciated in the annals of rock history for providing guitar thunder and a songwriting foil to Iggy Pop on the proto-punk masterpiece, Raw Power. With all three of Iggy’s original bandmates now deceased, Williamson has reclaimed his place in what could be America’s greatest cult band. With Pop taking a year off, Williamson, along with the current touring Stooges (including legendary Minutemen/fIREHOSE bassist Mike Watt) decided to re-record some of his and Pop’s unreleased and obscure collaborations with a motley crew of guest vocalists including Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) and psych-punk Ariel Pink.
Williamson’s influential style is ever present, as he leads the second wave Stooges through these riff heavy rockers. This eclectic rolodex of singers includes Mario Cuomo from young garage rockers The Orwells–who takes on the creepy dirge “I’m Sick Of You” convincingly– and Mark Lanegan, who duets with Alison Mosshart (The Kills/The Dead Weather) on the excellent “Wild Love.” In fact, the female vocalists, all less inclined to do an Iggy impression, stand out the most here. Texas blues singer Carolyn Wonderland tears up “Open Up And Bleed” and “Gimme Some Skin” with great fervor, and BellRays singer Lisa Kekula tearing up “I Gotta Right” with a soulful snarl. This material is great rock n’ roll that deserves a second act, and each singer sounds positively joyful as a stand-in for the world’s forgotten boy.
– Jamie Frey