Arista Records – 2002 – 144 minutes
Long heralded as the High Priestess of Punk – a title she rejects – Patti Smith has been held up as an icon by distinguished artists both in her own time (the late Joey Ramone) and in the present (REM's Michael Stipe). And listening to CD1 of her first compilation, 'Land', which spans almost three decades of incendiary writing and performance, it's easy to see why.
Sequenced in order of popularity, it's no surprise that 'Dancing Barefoot' opens proceedings. Taken from the 1979 album 'Wave', this is vintage Smith – hypnotic vocals drawing us into an ominous yet tender rock swagger. The spoken-word 'Babelogue' follows before segueing into the explosive 'Rock N Roll Nigger'. It's pointless picking highlights, however, because there are many classics here.
From her famed 'Gloria' interpretation to the inspirational 'Because The Night', co-written with Bruce Springsteen, and the majestic 'Frederick', Smith gives credence, as if it were needed, to Ramone's claim that she was "a groundbreaking act".
The second CD in the lavishly packaged 'Land' is a collection of archive material and live performances. Some are solid, others are pointless, all are for devoted fans only. No matter though, because this compilation proves that Punk Priestess or otherwise, Smith has had some sublime moments. They're all here, on CD1.
Tracklisting: CD 1: Dancing Barefoot – Babelogue – Rock N Roll Nigger – Gloria – Pissing In A River – Free Money – People Have The Power – Because The Night – Frederick – Summer Cannibals – Ghost Dance – Ain't It Strange – 1959 – Beneath The Southern Cross – Glitter In Their Eyes – Paths That Cross – When Doves Cry. CD 2: Piss Factory – Redondo Beach – Distant Fingers – 25th Floor – Come Back Little Sheba – Wander I Go – Dead City – Spell – Wing – Boy Cried Wolf – Birdland – Higher Learning – Notes To The Future