Patti Smith Group – Radio Ethiopia (1976)

Artist Credit
Vic Anesini Mastering
Jay Dee Daugherty Composer, Consultant, Drums, Mixing, Percussion
Jack Douglas Producer
Sam Ginsberg Assistant Engineer
Lynn Goldsmith Photography
Nancy Greenberg Design
Bob Irwin Mastering
Lenny Kaye Bass, Composer, Guitar, Mixing, Vocals
Ivan Král Bass, Composer, Guitar
Ivan Kral-Gibson Bass
Allen Lanier Composer
George Marino Mastering
Jay Messina Engineer, Mixing
Rod O’Brien Assistant Engineer
Andi Ostrowe Amharic
Les Paul Bass
Patti Smith Composer, Design, Guitar, Performer, Primary Artist, Vocals
Patti Smith Group Performer, Primary Artist
Richard Sohl Composer, Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer
Brian Sperber Engineer
Sherri Whitmarsh Reissue Design

After the success of Horses, Patti Smith had something to prove to reviewers and to the industry, and Radio Ethiopia aimed at both. Producer Jack Douglas gave “the Patti Smith Group,” as it was now billed, a hard rock sound, notably on the side-opening “Ask the Angels” and “Pumping (My Heart),” songs that seemed aimed at album-oriented rock radio. But the title track was a ten-minute guitar extravaganza that pushed the group’s deliberate primitivism closer to amateurish thrashing. Elsewhere, Smith repeated the reggae excursions and vocal overlaying that had paced Horses on “Ain’t It Strange” and “Poppies,” but these efforts were less effective than they had been the first time around, perhaps because they were less inspired, perhaps because they were more familiar. A schizophrenic album in which the many elements that had worked so well together on Horses now seemed jarringly incompatible, with Radio Ethiopia Smith and her band encountered the same development problem the punks would — as they learned their craft and competence set in, they lost some of the unself-consciousness that had made their music so appealing.

 

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