From the Vault...


The MC5
"Back In The USA"

© Atlantic/Rhino Records

Year of Release: 1970

track listing
  • Tutti-Frutti
  • Tonight
  • Teenage Lust
  • Let Me Try
  • Looking At You
  • High School
  • Call Me Animal
  • The American Ruse
  • Shakin' Street
  • The Human Being
  • Back In The USA

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    The MC5 related sites:
    The MC5 Website
    Previous Review: #1005
    Cyndi Thomson--My World
    Next Review: #1007
    The MC5
    "Back In The USA"

    The MC5 -- short for The Motor City Five, a pure sounding band out of the late 1960s into the 1970s. Their philosophy was the power of Rock & Roll to change the world. They only released 3 albums, from 1969 to 1971; Back In The USA (their second album) was their "masterpiece." They were very outspoken, demonstrating their personal views at concerts by wearing American flags and screaming revolutionary slogans. (Their original record label, Elektra dropped them, due to their ad with the "F.U." words. Atlantic Records would later sign them.) The band consisted of Rob Tyner (vocals), Wayne Kramer (guitar), Fred "Sonic" Smith (guitar), Michael Davis (bass), and Dennis Thompson (drums). Named after their home base in 1965, their masterpiece albums defines the beginning stages of Punk Rock, likewise continuing the basics of Rock & Roll.

    The Little Richard remake "Tutti-Frutti" is basic rock & roll, easily making any garage band having their near two minutes of fame. "Tonight" is an original tune (written by The MC5), as it has a definite good late-1960s Rock styled sound. "Teenage Lust" begins the stages of Pre-Punk, especially of a band that would later surface in the 1970s, The Ramones. "Looking For You" is another great rocker, and easily defining Pre-Punk, likewise "The Human Being Lawnmower."

    "Let Me Try" is a ballad, having a definite 1970s Rock sound. The guitarworks is exceptional -- nice, smooth, and easily flows the song along with Rob Tyner's vocals. I could picture Grand Funk Railroad doing this song on one of their early 1970s albums.

    "High School" is another great '70s Rocker, comparing to that of the Brownsville Station's "Leader Of The Gang." in a way. "Call Me Animal" is a song that showcases The MC5 as a true ROCKING band! And speaking of ROCKING -- If Chuck Berry would be a hard rocker, "The American Ruse" would be a great example, it has the simple rocking style Berry always had, yet The MC5 ROCKS once again on this song. "Shakin' Street" might be considered the mellower side of The MC5, comparing the other rockers on this album. This one could also be compared to the pop songs of The Kinks.

    "Back In The USA" -- The Chuck Berry classic; The MC5's version is just in one word -- AWESOME -- it's basic Rock n Roll, that everyone can enjoy. This is a song that can easily be played over and over, and this album overall is a great introduction to The MC5's music.

    The MC5 shaped the sound that would later become Punk music, yet they kept the Rock & Roll style intact. Bandmembers Rob Tyner Fred "Sonic" Smith are probably rocking somewhere in Rock & Roll Heaven now, as Tyner passed away of a heart attack in 1991, and Smith in 1994 of health failure. Wayne Kramer released 4 solo albums in the 1990s. If you're a fan of basic Rock & Roll and/or The Ramones' music, Back In The USA will have this album on for repeated listening. This album is meant to be listened to from the first song to the last. It is that good of an album, and easily recognized as a masterpiece. With only 3 albums, a 1983 cassette, and a 2000 Best Of, it's probably best to listen to their original albums, rather than a Best Of. Back In The USA clearly defines this. Best Of compilations just simply isn't enough.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic/Rhino Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #1005
    Cyndi Thomson--My World
    Next Review: #1007