The Big Bang! Best of the MC5
For a band that only churned out three proper albums, proto-punkers MC5 left us with a good grip of outtakes, demos, b-sides, and live recordings. From these, The Big Bang! Best of the MC5 compiles top-shelf selections. The band kicks off the jams with a hard-hitting cover of Van Morrison and Them’s raunchy staple “I Can Only Give You Everything.” This lo-fi demo pulses with the embryonic kick of the band’s Detroit-steeped beginnings. And it reveals that MC5 started like a lot of bands—by covering their favorite garage-rock tunes. “Looking at You” from the sophomore album Back in the USA breaks chronology, but it’s a great example of how the soul, R&B, and doo-wop of the band's Motor City surroundings seeped into its sound, making for hard-rock songs that you can dance to. Of course the band’s signature song, “Kick Out the Jams,” is here in all its raw glory, with Rob Tyner doing his power soul singing over Wayne Kramer’s gargantuan guitar sound. Fred “Sonic” Smith’s “Baby Won’t Ya” hints at the brilliance of his Sonic’s Rendezvous Band.