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- Released: June 18, 1996
- Originally Released: 1996
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
- 1.Ask The Angels
- 2.Ain't It Strange
- 4.Pissing In A River
- 5.Pumping (My Heart)
- 6.Distant Fingers
- 7.Radio Ethiopia
- 9.Chiklets (Bonus Track)
Patti Smith Group: Patti Smith (vocals, guitar); Lenny Kaye (guitar, bass, background vocals); Ivan Kral (guitar, bass); Richard Sohl (keyboards, synthesizer); Jay Dee Daugherty (drums, percussion).
Engineers: Jay Messina, Brian Sperber.
Recorded at The Record Plant East, New York, New York.
Personnel: Patti Smith (vocals, guitar); Lenny Kaye (vocals, guitar); Ivan Kr l (guitar); Richard Sohl (piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Jay Dee Daugherty (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixers: Jay Dee Daugherty; Jay Messina; Lenny Kaye.
Recording information: Record Plant East; The Record Plant East.
Photographer: Lynn Goldsmith.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Ivan Kr l; Andi Ostrowe.
1976's RADIO ETHIOPIA, the follow-up to HORSES, turned out to be both more conventional in some ways and more challenging in others. A deciding factor was Jack 'Aerosmith' Douglas replacement of John Cale as producer--the songs were more succinct (for the most part) this time around. The group continued to strive for the perfect balance between thought-provoking poetry and rough rock n' roll, and while RADIO ETHIOPIA contains it's share of highlights, many Smith fans consider it a transitional album not quite up to par with either HORSES or EASTER.
The opening "Ask the Angels" was perhaps The Patti Smith Group's most straight-ahead rocker up to that point, while the exploratory reggae-tinged "Ain't It Strange" would be extended concert staple. The tempo is brought down a notch or two on the cool "Poppies," "Abyssinia," and "Chiklets" (the latter a bonus track on the '96 CD remaster), but soon returns to furious rock with "Pumping (My Heart)." Also included is the album's best track, the haunting and heartbroken "Distant Fingers," while the 10-minute title cut features a repetitive heavy metal riff amongst a backdrop of sonic experimentation and a frantic recitation by Smith.