Patti Smith

iTunes Originals

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On her edition of the iTunes exclusive, digital download-only release iTunes Originals, Patti Smith spends 92 minutes talking about 13 songs from her catalog and performing them in mostly new recordings. (The only exception, also previously unreleased, is a live take of "Gloria" played as part of a 30th anniversary concert of her 1975 debut album, Horses, at the Meltdown Festival in London, with Flea sitting in.) Smith may have undertaken the recording as a promotion of her most recent album, Twelve, dedicated to cover versions, since she discusses it extensively and includes versions of "Midnight Rider," "Soul Kitchen," and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (the last with Steve Earle on banjo), songs also featured on that album. But she ranges across her repertoire, dipping back into her early days early on with such selections as "Pissing in a River," "Ghost Dance," and her only Top 40 hit, "Because the Night." From there, the songs tend to be from later albums. Smith is highly referential in her introductions, mentioning a wide variety of friends, relatives, and influences including her late husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith of the MC5 (the subject of her song "Frederick" and also the inspiration for her lyric to "Because the Night"); her late brother Todd Smith; the Allman Brothers Band; Kurt Cobain; Mother Theresa; and William Blake. The arrangements are similar to those on her regular studio albums. The recording is neither a greatest-hits set nor a rarities collection, but is akin to, say, a radio show or an audio version of a VH1 Storytellers program.