High Time

High Time

When compared to their amazing 1969 debut LP (Kick Out the Jams) or their 1970 sophomore album (Back in the USA), 1971’s High Time falls a bit short. But weighing these albums against each other isn’t fair—Kick Out the Jams captured MC5’s live lightning in a bottle, and Back in the USA overemphasized the chemistry between guitarists Fred “Sonic” Smith and Wayne Kramer. On its own accord, High Time is loaded with memorable songs, starting with the powerful Smith-penned “Sister Anne,” a tune that perfectly blends the band’s love for '50s rock ‘n’ roll and a penchant for reinventing the genre with towering amps cranked over propulsive rhythms. And the following “Baby Won’t Ya” (another Smith-written gem) balances the heaviness of punk-charged proto-metal with the smooth soul born in the band’s hometown of Detroit. Kramer’s “Poison” is easily one of the best tunes the guitarist brought to the band, while “Skunk (Sonicly Speaking)” bookends with rhythmic pyrotechnics courtesy of wildman drummer Dennis Thompson and five guest percussionists, including a young Bob Seger.

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