I'm not sure what I'm getting into here. I don't mean the music reviewing part; I used to to it for a living. What I mean is, I've jumped aboard Eric Olsen's blogcritics.com wheeze, without any clear idea of where it's heading. After reading his and other people's posts on the subject, I'm not that convinced that anyone else has much more of an idea than I do, either, but let's roll with it. I've assured Eric that I'd put up some kind of music review by Friday, and Friday it is. Why not start with an album that did more than any other to broaden my musical (and intellectual, and possibly political) horizons?
"Her influence today is undeniable," said Michael Stipe of REM, "There' s not anybody I know in a band anywhere who not revere the records that she put out. There was a rawness and energy to Horses that I had not heard in any other music. From then on, my life was changed."
My introduction to Patti Smith was Charles Shaar Murray's review of Horses in the NME, November 1975. That would have made me, ooh, sixteen and a half at the time. I probably had no more than a couple of dozen albums to my name back then, and a third of those would have been Bowie (so the sexual ambiguity - such an important part of what made Bowie so striking in the early 70s - was already a feature in the landscape).
It took two months for copies of Horses to appear in the shops in Liverpool, and when I got it home and played Gloria for the first time, I was anxious, first of all, that I hadn't put too much faith in CSM's persuasion. This was the first time I'd ever bought a record by an artist I'd never heard, simply on the basis of a piece of rock journalism, and a brand new release at that. I probably paid what, two and a half quid for it, which was money in those days...