Although the foundation of The Patti Smith Group was formed many years before the band actually formed, their coming together at their assigned time was monumental. At the forefront of the punk movement, Patti Smith gave voice to not only her many concerns and ruminations, but also the thoughts and concerns of the people who would listen to her music and words.
Patti Smith was signed to Arista Records by label head, Clive Davis, as that label began its short-lived run of importance. Their first album, Horses, would become a classic, setting the stage for even those considered to be her peers at the time. With time spent at CBGB’s, the venue that would introduce most of the important bands of that time to the world, and especially to the denizens of beautiful and timeless New York City, Patti Smith supplied a power that was unmatched.
What is important for you to know, is that Patti Smith was at her best at the beginning of her career. Although she produced many albums of power over her career to date, it was the period that begat Horses that made the most impact. Even more fiery were her legendary concert appearances. In NYC, her home of choice, there are many stories of her many shows. One of them is the May 28, 1975 radio broadcast via WBAI (99.5FM).
On that show, the band performed eleven tracks. And while some of those tracks made it onto Horses, there was also “Space Monkey”, a song that didn’t get released until Easter, Patti Smith’s third album from 1978. Nevertheless, the broadcast show is considered one of the best recorded sets in her early career.
On May 12, the UK-based Applebush Records released a fine remembrance of that historic radio broadcast called Depravity. Along with two bonus tracks that include picks from a 1975 Central Park show, “Piss Factory” (a classic independently released pre-Horses b-side single to the excellent “Hey Joe” song ), and “Horses”, Depravity is a well-rounded set of that period. The set is beautifully designed as you can tell by the package photo below, and the brilliant cover art above.
If you’re a fan of Patti Smith, especially during the most fiery point in her career, then Depravity is an ALL CAPITALIZED ‘must-own’ set that Legacy should have issued under their own label.