Stooges – Have Some Fun: Live at Ungano’s

January 01, 1970

(Rhino Handmade)

 

www.rhinohandmade.com

 

Imagine the astonishment experienced by a Stooges fan from
the mid/late ‘80s if he were suddenly transported to 2010 and deposited
directly in front of the “S” section of a well-stocked record store. There he
would confront, among numerous Stoogeoid artifacts of contemporary vintage:

 

**2-CD “Collector’s
Edition” of 1969’s
The Stooges,
packaged in a 7″ x 7″ hardbound book and containing a bonus 7″ single, on
Rhino;

**Oversized 7-CD (w/7″
single) box
Complete Fun House Sessions (Rhino Handmade), a new (November ‘10) re-release of Handmade’s out-of-print,
limited edition box from 1999;

**the sprawling Raw
Power: Deluxe Edition, Columbia/Legacy’s
3-CD/1-DVD/1-7″ single box containing outtakes, alternate mixes, a 1973 live
recording and a documentary on the making of
Raw Power;

**a remastered edition
of Iggy Pop & James Williamson’s 1977 post-Stooges effort
Kill City, on Alive/Bomp!

 

And that’s just the most recent titles; still in print are
the 2-CD expanded versions of the first two Stooges albums, the “Iggy remix” of
Raw Power and the officially
sanctioned Heavy Liquid box of
outtakes and live material – most of which appeared in just the last half-decade
or so. Clearly, somebody out there has ascertained that there is a demand for all
things Iggy & the Stooges, and it’s not just because the band finally got
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, or because Williamson and Iggy
reconnected after the passing of Ron Asheton and resumed touring as the
Stooges.

 

Our friend from the past would indeed be impressed, because
while the ‘80s saw some considerable action in the Stooges archival world, what
with bootleggers cranking out assorted illicit goods and European labels such
as France’s Revenge label issuing semi-legit titles (many of them with
overlapping content culled from heavily-traded tapes of Raw Power and Kill City sessions), there was never much consistency in terms of sonic quality and
attention to annotation. A colored vinyl LP of Raw Power outtakes is nice enough, but serious collectors insist on
also knowing the material’s provenance, details frequently in short supply back
in the ‘80s, as anyone who ever bought one of the platters only to learn it was
a repro of one they’d bought earlier will ruefully tell you.

 

The latest entry into the archival canon is Have Some Fun: Live at Ungano’s, another
smartly-conceived release from Rhino Handmade. (The Complete Fun House Sessions reissue mentioned above was released concurrently
by Handmade, and if you didn’t pick it up the first time around and
subsequently watched prices skyrocket on eBay, now’s your chance.)  Ungano’s is relatively brief, clocking in at just under 40 minutes, and the sound
quality of the audience recording could charitably be described as “bootleg
worthy”; the ’73 show included with the “Deluxe Edition” of Raw Power mentioned above is probably a
“7” compared to this set’s “5” in terms of audio ratings. Stooges collectors,
though, already versed in what’s in circulation, are probably very forgiving in
that respect. Plus, it’s an incendiary performance, by any measure well-worth
dialing in to. Purists will want to know that the lineup at the time was a
unique Stooges ensemble as well, one rarely documented on bootlegs in the past:
Iggy and Ron and Scott Asheton, of course, plus sax man Steve Mackay, new
bassist Zeke Zettner (a former roadie for the band who replaced original
bassist Dave Alexander), and additional guitarist Bill Cheatham.

 

As liner notesman Lenny Kaye, who was in attendance during
the Stooges August 18-20, 1970, residency at tiny NYC dive Ungano’s, points
out, the show was “as uncompromising and adrenalin-drenched a set as the band –
ever a band, especially since this concert docudrama allows the instruments
much time to interplay while the Ig wanders the crowd – had yet delivered.”

 

The disc opens with “Going to Ungano’s,” a couple of
minutes’ worth of rambling testimonials offered, apparently, by fans on the
street headed to the venue. Then it’s headlong into the bulk of Fun House, released a month earlier by
Elektra, performed start-to-finish, with the only real deviation being a
flip-flop of “Loose” and “Down On the Street.” It’s pretty ferocious stuff; the
latter song manifests itself as an early peak, with Scott Asheton’s thuggish
drumming powering the machine and Iggy commanding the stage like the proverbial
streetwalkin’ cheetah. Hold that thought: by the time “Dirt” cues up, Iggy’s veering
from a gasp to a sneer, a croon to a snarl, more animalistic than ever, Ron
Asheton unleashing unholy peals of guitar behind him in an erotic dance of
fretboard and voice. The chaos gene begins to kick in around the time of “1970”
as Mackay enters the fray, his unhinged honking mirrored by Iggy’s unintelligible
shrieks and gurgles. Next is “Funhouse,” which duly segues (possibly due to a
judicious tape edit) into “Have Some Fun”/”My Dream Is Dead,” an 11-minute
freeform orgy of sax/guitar dissonance subbing for the studio-born “L.A.
Blues,” and it’s about as skronkerific as any long-suffering Stooges fan could
ask for, from Scott Asheton’s modified/mangled Bo Diddley beat and the churning
Ron Asheton-Bill Cheatham guitars to Mackay’s squawks and blats (which actually
drown out the guitars in most places) and Iggy’s extemporaneous rants that
finally get snuffed out with about 4 minutes to go.

 

Exhaustion or exhilaration on the part of the vocalist? Who
knows; one imagines Iggy spread eagled and flat on his face in the middle of
the dance floor at this point, patron standing in a circle around him, gaping.

 

Ungano’s comes
housed in a 5″ x 6″ hinged box and includes a fold-out poster with a photo of
Iggy flipping twin birds on one side and Kaye’s colorful liner notes on the
other. Also tucked into the package is a repro of the original August 1970
newspaper ad for the club plus two black and white snapshots of a shirtless,
dog collar-clad, mic-wielding Iggy crawling around in the middle of the
audience. That spread-eagled mental image might not be all that different from
what actually happened…

 

What else is in the vaults? If the past couple of years is
any indication, hopefully plenty.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Down
On the Street,” “Dirt” FRED MILLS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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