The third Stooges album has had a strange, combative life—not because it has so much lunging force, though that hasn’t abated in 37 years, but because no one has ever agreed about the versions that made it onto shelves. David Bowie mixed the original (which Iggy Pop famously produced), and mixed it to a rapid screech that many fans of 1969’s The Stooges and (especially) 1970’s Fun House took for a diminishment of the band’s heft. But over time, Bowie’s quicksilver treble and vastly reduced bass became a kind of purist totem for many late-arriving fans, so when Iggy Pop remixed the album to give it more bottom and clarity for its 1997 CD reissue, many (including other members of The Stooges) cried foul.
Raw Power’s new two-CD Legacy Edition restores Bowie’s mix and boosts the low end enough to give it some extra dimension. The songs, of course, are seething, bilious classics: “Search And Destroy,” “Raw Power,” “Shake Appeal,” “Gimme Danger,” and “Death Trip” all more than live up to their titles. The second disc adds a previously unissued 1973 show recorded in Georgia, as well as a couple of snarling outtakes. So many Stooges live sets and outtakes are already available that the bonuses risk redundancy (and there’s an even longer “Deluxe Edition” available via mail-order), but Raw Power itself remains a landmark.