Patti Smith – Horses (1975)

AllMusic Review: It isn’t hard to make the case for Patti Smith as a punk rock progenitor based on her debut album, which anticipated the new wave by a year or so: the simple, crudely played rock & roll, featuring Lenny Kaye’s rudimentary guitar work, the anarchic spirit of Smith’s vocals, and the emotional and imaginative nature of her lyrics — all prefigure the coming movement as it evolved on both sides of the Atlantic. Smith is a rock critic’s dream, a poet as steeped in ’60s garage rock as she is in French Symbolism; “Land” carries on from the Doors’ “The End,” marking her as a successor to Jim Morrison, while the borrowed choruses of “Gloria” and “Land of a Thousand Dances” are more in tune with the era of sampling than they were in the ’70s. Producer John Cale respected Smith’s primitivism in a way that later producers did not, and the loose, improvisatory song structures worked with her free verse to create something like a new spoken word/musical art form: Horses was a hybrid, the sound of a post-Beat poet, as she put it, “dancing around to the simple rock & roll song.” — William Ruhlmann

Track Listing:

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Gloria” (Part I: “In Excelsis Deo” / Part II: “Gloria (Version)”)
  • Patti Smith (Part I)
  • Van Morrison (Part II)
2. “Redondo Beach”
  • Smith
  • Lenny Kaye
  • Richard Sohl
3. “Birdland”
  • Smith
  • Kaye
  • Sohl
  • Ivan Král
4. “Free Money”
  • Smith
  • Kaye
Total length: 22:21
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Kimberly”
  • Smith
  • Král
  • Allen Lanier
2. “Break It Up”
  • Smith
  • Tom Verlaine
3. “Land” (Part I: “Horses” / Part II: “Land of a Thousand Dances” / Part III: “La Mer(de)”)
  • Smith (Parts I and III)
  • Chris Kenner (Part II)
  • Fats Domino (Part II)
4. “Elegie”
  • Smith
  • Lanier
Total length: 20:49


Schill Score: 8/10


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