MC5 ‘66 Breakout

Compiled by Wayne Kramer, who has become the default MC5 archivist since the death of his band mates Rob Tyner and more recently Fred “Sonic” Smith, ‘66 Breakout presents the earliest picture of a teenage MC5. Like a hundred other garage bands in their Detroit suburb, MC5 were inspired by the ever present influence of Detroit R&B in the guise of Motown along with British invasion bands like the Who and the Rolling Stones. The most obvious influence, however, was Van Morrison and his band Them from where they drew their first single, “I Can Only Give you Everything,” which closes this collection. This is the pre-political MC5, completely raw and chaotic. But considering these tracks were recorded at high school dances, weddings and at rehearsals in Kramer’s mother’s basement, the flashes of passion are impressive, especially in the soulful vocals of Rob Tyner. Oddities include the MC5-penned “One of the Guys,” which sounds like a slightly unhinged “Love Me Do,” and the James Brown ballad “I Don’t Mind,” which might fool one into thinking the MC5 were gearing up to be the Backstreet Boys of their day. (Alive!)