(Live recordings & ephemera) The Stooges, 1970s

'The kids don't seem to mind this at all, they watch it all and listen to the tune-up and listen to them check the speakers ...'

So says a red-faced man of about 50, in a suit and perfectly pressed white shirt, describing how the Stooges used to walk on to the stage and do a kind of soundcheck for ten or twenty minutes at the start of a show in this great clip from the Cincinnati Pop Festival in 1970, just moments before the Stooges hack into 'TV Eye'.

Just listen to that guitar sound - that sea of noise, matched by the snappy drum-beat so light in the mix. As a teenager, discovering the Stooges opened up some kind of psychic space for me. Though now I recognise that this teen-adoration, which latched onto the scrawny singer and led me to learn 'Dirt' on the guitar and read I need more repeatedly, as if trawling for clues, had as much to do with the guitar of James Williamson as anything else.  

Even now, when feeling that kind of blurry nothing state, it'll probably be the Stooges that I reach for; as everything (of interest in terms of guitar music) begins with this band.

Okay Iggy's vocals are frequently off-key and out of tune, but just listen to the way the band works together - with the swagger and soul-additions, the laidback guitar-line and then harmonica (of all things)

Or keeping the best to last, this totally magical version of 'Johanna' from 1973. Whereas the original is the echt-example of male self-annihilation - or desperation, this bluesy version with its driving bassline, contains within it a kind of ironic counterpoint, as if Iggy is offering some kind of commentary the entire while. I think it's the best thing.