Purity Accuracy

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This compilation of MC5 rarities is a single-disc digest of highlights from Easy Action's six-CD box set, also titled Purity Accuracy, that was released in 2004. Just as that set brought together a lot of material that had been circulating in one form or another for years, hardcore MC5 fans won't find much in the way of surprises on this album -- six of the 15 tracks here first surfaced on ROIR's Babes in Arms anthology in 1983, and just about everything else has appeared on one of the many semi-authorized collections that Alive Records issued in the 1990s. So this disc is clearly redundant for the faithful, and folks first dipping their toes into the MC5's great music would be better served with Babes in Arms, the 2007 rarities set I Can Only Give You Everything, Rhino's excellent "greatest-hits" CD The Big Bang: The Best of the MC5, or their landmark debut, Kick Out the Jams. But having said that, there is still some great music on Purity Accuracy that ranks with the MC5's best moments -- a potent if technically ragged live recording of "Black to Comm" (a concert staple that never made it onto an official album), the original single version of "Looking at You" that lays the re-recording on Back in the USA to waste, and blistering alternate takes of "Sister Ann," "Gotta Keep Moving," and "The Human Being Lawnmower." The trouble with the Purity Accuracy sampler isn't that the music isn't worthwhile -- some of it's damn near essential -- but that it has been distributed before and in more coherent contexts, and though this makes more sense for most folks than buying the full box set, obsessives won't need the short version and neophytes are better off elsewhere.

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