Not really a Steppenwolf album; but a live recording from The Matrix in San Francisco of Sparrow, the band that later evolved into Steppenwolf from May of 1967. ABC/Dunhill, Steppenwolf’s label, bought the tapes of the show, while it was waiting for the group’s next album (Monster) and released it in 1969. No matter, this live recording features the blues roots that later became one of the conerstones of the unique sound of Steppenwolf and illustrates that a number of the songs featured here, would become part of the Steppenwolf (The Pusher, Power Play, & Tighten Up Your Wig) catalogue throughout their career.
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(Added later: I noticed this had “been discontinued by manufacturer.” It’s too bad it’s out of print, since it’s a good example of Steppenwolf before they hit the “big time.” If this is something you really, really want, drop me an email and you can send me a blank CD, a SASE mailer envelope, and I’ll burn you a copy. This offer only applies while the CD is no longer available. Once it’s available again — and I hope it will be — then please buy the CD. My e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org. I get a lot of e-mail, so be sure to tell me why you’re writing. I’ll give you my address and you can mail me the blank CD and the SASE mailer envelope. Please don’t send generic, crappy CDRs, please. OK, on with the review…)
I had this on vinyl and would love to own it on CD. But the prices charged here (37 bucks and up!) are crazy. There’s an import two-fer with this and “For Ladies Only” on one CD, and it’s just a bit over $20. Spend your money the way you wish, but these prices are preposterous! (But, yes, I bought the one with this and For Ladies Only on it. It’s a European import, great sound quality!)
This album/CD captures Steppenwolf at the tiny Matrix, a club where the Airplane, Grateful Dead and other bands honed their performances. It was TINY. I have a couple of soundboards of The Doors performing at the Matrix in March 1967 (two months before this May ‘67 recording) and the quality is just awesome. You can hear a smattering of audience clapping. Few realized that in just a couple of months “Light My Fire” would forever change the lives of Morrison, Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore…
It’s a shame that Steppenwolf hasn’t received the “remastered, with bonus tracks” treatment. C’mon, if Grand Funk deserves to get the remaster/bonus tracks treatment, CERTAINLY Steppenwolf merits the same treatment. I guess John Kay didn’t hold onto his songwriting rights and some unappreciative corporate monkey is making decisions about the band’s releases.
It’s too bad, if that’s the case. These guys were truly on fire with their debut, The Second, and Monster. (Their third release, At Your Birthday Party, was a hodge-podge of tunes and didn’t have the coherence the other albums did). This was a seminal band in the formation of the “hard rock” genre, and it’s a shame their legacy is being treated so poorly by the record companies.
So, skip these overly expensive used CDs and buy the brand-new two-fer import for 15 or more dollars less. If you, like me, don’t care much for “For Ladies Only,” you can always convert Early Steppenwolf to 320 kbs mp3 and then burn it to CDR!
(UPDATE: I did order this two-fer and I must say it’s worth the money. It’s been remastered, and the audio quality is excellent. BGO Records has released most of Steppenwolf’s catalog as remastered two-fers, so even though I own everything, I may just buy BGO’s CDs for the enhanced audio quality. By the way, this comes as TWO CDs: one is Early Steppenwolf (actually, they were still Sparrow at the time), and the other is For Ladies Only. Despite what I said earlier about For Ladies Only being non-essential owning, I confess the quality here is so good that I’d recommend this CD if you were a fan of For Ladies Only. Listening to F.L.O. in remastered audio, it blows away the sorry first-generation CD I have of the LP. I wanted to update this and say, YES, this is something I now own and highly, highly recommend!)
Nice early rock/blues album with a cover song of howlin’ Wolf’s “Howlin’ For My Darlin” and John Lee Hooker’s “I’m Goin’ Upstairs.” The sound quality on this album is very good, and surprising for an early live album.
8/2/04 Item is being sold on ebay.
Listen to this CD, and hear history in the making. While this CD has a rough, garage-band sound, it also has undeniable power. The talent behind the music is obvious. Here is a chance to listen to some early versions of later classics (Power Play, Tighten Up Your Wig, Corinna, Corinna and The Pusher). The CD starts out with a slower, blusier version of Power Play than the one on Monster. Howling Wolf’s Howling for My Baby is guaranteed to make you want to move, or at least to tap your foot. Another standout is a beautiful version of Corinna, Corinna that I believe is far superior to the version on Steppenwolf Live. It starts with an amazing guitar riff and also has a nice guitar break. The CD winds up with an extremely extended version of The Pusher, which is mostly just improvisation. Get this CD and here the beginnings of one of the most influential bands in rock. I have to admit to having a soft spot for this band – they were the first band I ever saw live.
I have been waiting patiently to see a rerelease of this excellent testiment of early Steppenwolf…LIVE in action…but I refuse to pay an assinine amount of cash for a cd. For all the insignificant garbage that sees its way into being released and rereleased….this is definitely one that DESERVES to be reissued.
GET OFF YOUR ASSES AND DO IT!!!!