Sky Saxon and the Seeds were an aggregation who, at their peak, understood how to unleash the unbridled cathartic power of rock’n’roll in their live performances. Their swansong album “Raw & Alive: The Seeds In Concert” is a remarkable encapsulation of this gift. Its contents were not recorded “live” on location, although that had been the original intention and, apart from added crowd noise, there is no studio trickery or editing of the performances. The record really is the Seeds “raw” and it delivers the sense of chaotic excitement their audiences have long enthused about. It remains a fitting tribute to the power of the original Seeds quartet.
At the start of 1968, the Seeds needed help, especially after the disappointing reaction to their “Future” and “Seedy Blues” albums. They had fired voluble manager Lord Tim Hudson and were playing fewer and fewer dates, as Sky now preferred to hold stoned court at his Malibu crash pad. A long-playing record showcasing their strength as a live act was mooted. The original plan was to record in the studio in front of a small invited audience, but the dynamics of a true Seeds show were lacking and the results were scrapped. Disc 2 of our reissue contains this performance as it went down. It is a fascinating document, featuring different arrangements of some Seeds classics and a wholly unreleased song, ‘Hubbly Bubbly Love’.
The band tried again in April 1968, this time without an audience but in the same warts-and-all “live” mode. The selections were a combination of singles, classic album cuts and some new material including the spooky ‘Forest Outside Your Door’ and ‘Mumble And Jumble’. The experimental ‘Night Time Girl’ featured a prototype Vox guitar/organ combination, and the fuzz-tinged rocker ‘Satisfy You’ was a real return to form. Once completed, the tracks were overlaid with the sort of frenzied screaming that might have been heard at the Seeds concerts a year before, but was now in increasingly short supply. Hearing the undubbed original renditions, as presented on Disc 1 for the first time, suggests this fake applause was probably unneccessary, such is the power of Sky, Daryl, Jan and Rick on these essential cuts.
The deluxe remastered reissue of “Raw & Alive: The Seeds In Concert” comes in a gatefold digipak that contains a fat booklet crammed with full details on the making of the album and dozens of photos of the Seeds in action during their heyday.
By Alec Palao