A dynamic double-disc's worth of vintage MC5 performances might veer away from the familiar pastures of their official output, but nevertheless reveal just what an almighty noise this band was, at its peak. A 25-song gathering of demos, outtakes, and live performances is annotated, song by song, by Michael Davis and Dennis Thompson, and chases the band from their earliest recordings in 1965, through to the bitter end -- and onwards, to a bonus cut recorded live in London with Lemmy in 2003. There is nothing here that has not seen the light of day before, but it usually appeared on more or less dubious collections that really didn't care for such niceties as date and derivation. Here, the musicians' commentary might not add any concrete details, but they can say whether or not it was a good show that night, or a valid performance -- and most of this set certainly falls into the positive bag, as the band storm through a ferocious "Ramblin' Rose" ("obviously recorded in Saginaw, MI"), an uncensored "Kick Out the Jams," the rare A-Square single of "Looking at You," the High Time outtake "Gotta Keep Moving," and so on. Among the other gems, "Gold" is drawn from the movie of the same name to mark one of the last recordings the MC5 ever made. The result is a package that defiantly states the case for the MC5's status as legends, at the same time reminding us just what a hard and heavy working band they were. Strip away the politics and they could still change your world.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2