Death: For The Whole World To See

By: Dennis Cook

So much amazing music goes unheard. The crooked path from creation to a listener’s ear is full of potholes and diversions. To wit, Death‘s …For The Whole World To See (released February 17 on Drag City). Recorded in 1974 but outside of one legendary, ridiculously collectable 7″ single has remained in the can for 35 years. And what a goddamn pity given the dirty, propulsive rock ‘n’ roll greatness contained in these seven heavy monsters.

Brothers Dennis, David and Bobby Hackney were three African-American boys who’d grown up on soul music but were hit in the spirit by the brutish upheaval of The Stooges, early Alice Cooper and the MC5. The results are the missing link in the Black Rock chain between Funkadelic and Living Colour, laying claim to territory both rugged and imaginatively turned. Unlike many Iggy or Alice acolytes, Death catches the nuance and unexpected drift within all the drums and barely tamed electric chords, resulting in a treasure like “Let The World Turn,” the kind of song cults are built around. Sure, mostly this is muscle and rebellion given lean, tough delivery but again done so with the thuggish eloquence of The Stooges – and really is there a better compliment? It’s a real fruckin’ joy to see work of this caliber finally see the light. …For The Whole World To See can be neatly placed alongside Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death, Mission of Burma’s Vs., The Sonics’ Here Are The Sonics and Funkadelic’s self-titled 1970 debut – works of raw power, rebel gusto and adrenaline urgency. Produced by long-time P-Funk engineer Jim Vitti, there’s the feeling of something real happening throughout, an utter lack of irony and pose, a spinal tap straight into rock that makes you stand and jerk and whirl. Stunning stuff and an early candidate for archival release of 2009.

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