Patti Smith this week surprise-released a new EP, the latest in the Spotify-backed Live at Electric Lady series.
The New York punk icon, poet and author’s own Live at Electric Lady set features seven songs, stretched over 35 minutes, and recorded at the same, storied facility as her Horses and Banga albums.
Electric Lady is, Smith said in a statement, “our favourite recording studio”, with her the EP presenting “a live performance with all its possibilities of risk and revelation”.
Her landmark first album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in 1975, with its Birdland featured on the new EP. Horses would become a touchstone for New York punk, fitting into a diverse scene that was home to the likes of Ramones, Television, Blondie and Talking Heads.
The first of Live at Electric Lady’s two covers is a version of Stevie Wonder’s Blame It on the Sun, taken from his album Talking Book, which was also recorded at Electric Lady Studios.
A long-time admirer of Bob Dylan, Smith’s EP includes her favourite Dylan song – One Too Many Mornings from his third studio album, 1964’s The Times They Are a-Changin’.
She recorded another of his songs – Changing of the Guards – on her 2007 covers album Twelve, a disc that also included versions of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. and Are You Experienced? by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Electric Lady Studios was itself commissioned by Jimi Hendrix and opened its doors in 1970. Since then, its many visitors have included Rancid, Bad Religion, Green Day, Weezer, The Clash, Richard Hell & the Voidoids and David Bowie.
Smith’s most recent visit to the studio was for her last full length recorded outing – 2012’s Banga, which was recorded with the same personnel as Horses. Banga’s April Fool is one of two tracks on the EP from her post-2000 albums, with her ’70s albums Horses, Easter and Wave each contributing one track.
She’s currently touring, with a run of California dates from 31 August and a smattering of UK and French gigs booked for October.
Live At Electric Lady tracklisting
Blame It on the Sun
One Too Many Mornings
Main Photo: Patti Smith (1978), photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe.
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I’m a punk rock aficionado, martial arts pupil and fair-to-middling student of the Bengali language. I’m also a journalist, writer and editor, specialising in medicine and technology.
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