Share RISING - The Up (Easy Action/Applebush)
Anything else is impossibly difficult to find or long out-of-print, so students of quasi-revolutionary Michigan rock and roll can stop looking now for aural evidence of The Up's time on the planet (1967-73). Easy Action, through its spin-off label Applebush, have compiled this 19-track set of these Grande Ballroom compadres of the MC5 and the Stooges and it's been worth the wait.

Detroit music obsessives will know The Up as an early home for eventual Sonic's Rendezvous Band bassist Gary Rasmussen, but they're worthy listening in their own right. As Ken Shimamoto's liners point out, Rasmussen and guitarist brother Bob were already vets of the Michigan music scene when The Up came into being. He makes a solid case for The Up to be viewed in the same light as trans-Atlantic noisemakers The Deviants and, by extension, the Pink Faiiries.

The Up played lean, stripped-back blue collar rock, a good deal less bombastic than the Five and not as threatening as Iggy and Co, but nicely rudimentary in its own way. John Sinclair's laughable claim that The Up were a precursor of the Ramones (check the Total Energy release liner notes) doesn't hold up, but that's not to say the three officially released tracks ("Just Like An Aborigine", "Free John Now!" and "Hassan I Sabbah") won't row your boat. "Aborigine" appears four times (there are two alternate studio recordings and a live take) so you sure as hell had better like that one.

The live tracks that make up a third of "Rising" are fantastic quality, derived from desk tapes that sound well-balanced. A version of "Train Kept A Rollin' " especially shows what any fuss was about. Frank Bach didn't have the vocal chops of a Rob Tyner but was more than adequate. Bob Rasmussen mixed buzzsaw rhythm work with incisive lead breaks.

Allen Ginsberg's "Prayer For John Sinclair" was the flip of the "Free John Now!" single and is reproduced here, surely underlining both the ill-affects of acid on some minds and why the acclaimed Beat poet was the real inspiration for William Shatner's ill-advised forays into a recording studio.

This is a two-disc package with the second part a DVD of live performances, shot by Leni Sinclair. While the soundtrack is dubbed, the footage marries really well. A set of reproduction handbills/posters from the archive of Gary Rasmussen is a nice addition to the usual Rolls Royce Easy Action packaging. - The Barman

 

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