Patti Smith - Trampin'
For a bona fide rock legend, Patti Smith is not exactly prolific - this is just her ninth album in 29 years. With the world in turmoil, however, the godmother of punk has finally returned to add her strident voice to the global debate. Trampin' breathes new life into the protest-song genre, a righteous diatribe against America's so-called war on terror and the erosion of civil liberties. Its centrepiece is the 12-minute 'Radio Baghdad', which rails against the 'shock and awe' visited on a city that was once the cradle of civilisation. On the relatively brief 'Gandhi', meanwhile (a mere 9 minutes), she calls for the return of the non-violent mass protest that worked so well for the Indian leader. It's powerful stuff, and the only real complaint is that the music, mostly made up of country-style blues, doesn't always match the passion and urgency of Smith's vocals. If you don't agree with her politics, you're going to hate this album - but true believers will be happy to know that the revolution is in safe hands.
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