Patti Smith is musical Marmite. To devotees, she is the gimlet-eyed North Star for every woman in rock, blazing a radical, intellectual trail for everyone from Courtney to Beth Ditto. For dissenters, she has been a joyless harpie trading on her reputation for a generation. Still, as a poet, performer and radical she was punk before punk was punk. And she played the last ever show in CBGB, her spiritual home. While an album of covers might suggest that the grand dame has nothing left to say, Smith actually makes every track her own. From a reworking of ‘Are You Experienced’ to a bare reading of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ via a loyal gallop through the Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’, she sounds more relevant on these songs than she has in years.
DOWNLOAD CHOICE: ‘Gimme Shelter’