Have Some Fun: Live At Ungano's - The Stooges (Rhino Handmade)
Long awaited, here are the first live recordings of the Ron Asheton-era Stooges. (Well, maybe Easy Action got there first with their "Popped" fan pack, the audio portion of which they just released separately as "A Thousand Lights"). And these are damn sure the only commercially available recordings of the lineup with ex-roadies Bill Cheatham on second guitar and Zeke Zettner on bass, recorded in a 200-capacity Manhattan club.
I've written elsewhere that the endless fascination with audience recordings of the James Williamson-era Stooges stems from the fact that none of that repertoire was ever officially recorded. Some folks would argue that even the "Raw Power" songs were never decently recorded. The songs on this release, however, have to stand comparison with what I'd rank as the Greatest Rock Album Of All Ti-i-i-ime, and of course they can't measure up to that.
The disc opens with a recording of fans yakking about the Stooges en route to the show. One of the female fans asks if Iggy wasn't from the MC5. Her friend explains that he's "a baby Mick Jagger" and opines that Funhouse is "about 4500 times better" than The Stooges. The male fans are impressed by the fact that he "puts meat on himself" and "scratches himself."
The Stooges play their set of the time, which is basically the "Fun House" songs in order, except "Down On the Street" and "Loose" switch places. The most prominent audible elements are vocals, lead guitar, and drums, so it's a step forward from a lot of earlier quasi-official releases where Iggy's singing and imprecations were inaudible, or blurred enough to be incomprehensible. Maybe it's a monitor mix. He doesn't do an awful lot of audience-baiting on mic here, though.
When the bass is audible, Zeke (R.I.P.) does a fine job. If there's a second guitar on this, I sure can't hear it, but it doesn't matter. Ron's fuzz-and-wah-laden acid blues genius is present, and as the audio from Goose Lake has shown in the past (you can Youtube it, plus it's on the Easy Action Popped thingy), he and his brother were the greatest two-man band until the Sex Pistols.
An apex is achieved as "1970" lashes the crowd with whipsaw fury, then sax maniac Steve McKay makes his entrance and things get weird. The version of "Funhouse" doesn't really coalesce until about halfway through, and it's only three minutes and change (tape splice?) before the thing melts down into a 10-minute "energy freakout free-form" extravaganza which the compilers have entitled "Have Some Fun/My Dream Is Dead."
If you're partial to things like the 17-minute version of "L.A. Blues" on "The Complete Fun House Sessions", "Asthma Attack" on the Rhino Handmade "collector's edition" of "The Stooges", the MC5 obliterating audience at the Grande Ballroom with a hyperextended, sax-laden "Black To Comm," or Les Rallizes Denudes' "Smoking Cigarette Blues," then "Have Some Fun…" should be right up your alley. Myself, when I'm in the mood for skronk, I'll put on something like Coltrane's Ascension or Meditations instead. But that's just me.
Put it another way: That one track is 25 percent of a 40-minute set, and the smiling folks at Rhino Handmade want $20 American for thisun. Myself, when I want to hear this band, I'm still going to reach for my vinyl copy of "Fun House". I have heard enough to know that I have heard too much.
Tags: iggy, iggy pop, stooges, fun house, rhino, handmade, unganos
Hey there Ken! I just came across this while searching for anything that might have been posted online about Ungano's being released for RSD on vinyl. As the credits show me as Executive Producer on package, I'd like to weigh in. The recording was made by Danny Fields, who we all should know was instrumental in getting them signed to Elektra. I had this recording for over 10 years, although not from the master cassette, which by my insistence was required from the collector Jeff Gold. I had been after Rhino for all those years to release this, it was passed on by one of the powers that be as not being listenable, well of course not to her, she had gold records on her office wall from The Band. Finally after Rhino did the last big house cleaning, Mason Williams contacted me and we put the thing in the works, after reviewing contracts and getting Iggy's blessing. Having recently finished the official Stooges book, I knew who had photos from the gigs, and I personally scanned many previously unpublished images. As far as the set list, they opened with "Loose" (as they had most of the early reunion shows) as it was the band's intention that would be the Fun House album opener, Elektra changed the sequence on the album without consulting the band. The performance of "1970" and "Fun House" were not edited in any way and it was Iggy Pop (not the "compilers" as you suggest) that confirmed the previously unreleased titles 'Have Some Fun/My Dream Is Dead" songs which we saw them play in Detroit the few times they played with this lineup. When I received the first mastered version of this recording, I called Iggy and told him to expect the CD the following day, he asked me the set, I went through it then mentioned those 2 songs and he immediately responded "those would be "Have Some Fun" and a little thing I was working on I liked to call "My Dream Is Dead" Wow, can't wait to hear those!" By the end of October of 1970, Steve Mackay was handed his papers, the others went back to hauling the gear and Ronnie started jamming with James Williamson.
I could have also mentioned that the package design was also my doing. I suggest we dumb it down, go all B&W, as I'd give the performance an "A" and recording quality a very generous "C+" I felt the package should reflect Fun House of course, but let's not make it too good. I was also very pleased that I could get Lenny Kaye to write the liner notes, since he was there and was a huge early champion of the Stooges, I believe he wrote a very positive review for Rolling Stone at the time. As they say, thanks for letting me share...