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Fred “Sonic” Smith: Sonic’s Rendezvous (Orchide)

Nov. 8, 2016
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Fred “Sonic” Smith made his mark as guitarist with the MC5. High Time, the band’s swan song found Smith writing fully half the album’s cuts. His next project, Sonic Rendezvous Band released exactly one 45 in its lifetime, the legendary “City Slang.” Hindsight has been good to the guitarist who died in 1994. “People have the Power,” the anthem he wrote with his wife Patti Smith, is revived every election cycle and archival SRB material has been released to much acclaim.

Which brings us to Sonic’s Rendezvous, a collection of tracks ranging from acoustic home demos to live recordings. It is all Sonic, all the time. As working ideas, the acoustic numbers are interesting works in progress. On electric tracks, Smith’s serpentine lead breaks recall saxophone players as often as Chuck Berry licks. Only the final cut, “China Fields,” includes other musicians, namely drummer Scott “Rock Action” Asheton and bassist Gary Rasmussen.

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