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Early Steppenwolf

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Average Rating
★★★★☆
(6 Reviews)

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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: jac.polsgrove@yahoo.com. 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!)

    Posted on February 20, 2010