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Early Steppenwolf/For Ladies Only

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★★★★☆
(5 Reviews)

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  • Due to contractual obligations Steppenwolf had to release 2 albums a year and these 2 came shortly after another but are the least equal. To start with the latter one, “For Ladies Only” has a smooth and polished production, but contains some of the greatest songs of the time, either written/sung by John Kane and/or other bandmembers. The instrumentation is flawless. I like this album as one of their best. No fillers or weak songs, some are really stunning, even 35 years from date. On the contrary the first album is not Steppenwolf at all (!), but the band before that, Sparrow, with some of the members which showcased in the latterday band and offered us the strong first studio album with “Born to Be Wild” (not presented here). Recorded in the Matrix in San Francisco in early 1967 (hey, remember that one from the Doors?) the music is raw, to say the least. Opener “Power Play” ends up on the “Monster” album, together with “Tighten up your Wig” (later also on “Steppenwolf The Second”) the only group originals, Hoyts Axtons dreary doom “The Pusher” closer is an extended version played in that vein (the much lighter studio rendition is on the first album) whilst “Corrina, Corrina” is a not very special popsong. That leaves only two other covers unmentioned, John Lee Hookers “I’m going Upstairs” and Howlin Wolf /Willy Dixons “Howlin’, for my Darlin”. The band had a huge section of smash hits thereafter and offered truely great albums. That makes listening to the beginnings somewhat uneasy (the later “Live” is much much better), so it is strange that BGO combined these two toghether, which in a way is the same as combining the moon and the sun, dark and light, fire and water. These are two complete different bandoutings. Therefore try to find each album solely or at least listen to them individually. In that case they offer the most. Besides that Steppenwolf will always remain one of my everlasting favorites.

    Posted on January 6, 2010