Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Last Exit - Iron Path (1988)

OK, let's get serious again.

Last Exit was an absolute beast of a band. Sonny Sharrock, Peter Brötzmann, Bill Laswell and Ronald Shannon Jackson in an improvising free-jazz/blues/funk/thrash maelstrom. Unfortunately, I never saw them play but I have all their live albums (which are available to buy for download at the usual places) and they are terrific.

Here's a clip of them in action from the YTs.
Great googly moogly!

Here is their sole studio album. It's not quite as awe-inspiring as their live albums, and it seems a bit more arranged than their seat-of-the-pants imrov on the other records, but it does have its moments. 'Sand Dancer' is a Sonny Sharrock piece that's similar to his overdubbed solo Guitar album (another Laswell production). And I'd like to think that 'Devil's Rain' is inspired by the godawful Ernest Borgnine/William Shatner horror movie.

I think Last Exit might have actually done some reunion gigs in late 1993 in New York (or at least I once spoke to someone who claimed to have been to one - not sure whether there were any recordings) but any long-term reunion was, alas, cut short by Sonny Sharrock's early death in 1994.

A1: Prayer (4:38)
A2: Iron Path (3:28)
A3: The Black Bat (for Aki Ikuta) (4:33)
A4: Marked for Death (2:20)
A5: The Fire Drum (4:20)
B1: Detonator (3:47)
B2: Sand Dancer (1:55)
B3: Cut and Run (2:30)
B4: Eye for an Eye (4:54)
B5: Devil's Rain (4:13)

Sonny Sharrock: Guitars
Peter Brötzmann: Saxophones
Bill Laswell: Bass
Ronald Shannon Jackson: Drums

Produced by Last Exit/Bill Laswell
Engineered by Martin Bisi
Recorded and Mixed at B.C. Studio, Brooklyn, New York.
LP Mastered by Howie Weinberg at Masterdisk

Virgin, USA, 1988. Cat # 91015-1

320kbps mp3

[re-up 29/4/12] 


  1. thanks dustin , i bought this when it came out
    but for some reason at the time i was espousing some sort of purist bullshit attitude to'free jazz' guitar sounds , and found sharrocks pumped up bright 'metal' tone irksome so i got rid of it.

  2. I'm finding it slightly spooky (given what they are) that I own both of the last 2 albums you posted. Interested in how it's going with the cartridge / phono stage quest ?
    I'm not much of a true Hifi enthusiast, but have owned (do own, now discarded) a Shure M97xE, an Audio Technica AT440MLa, and a Cambridge Audio 540p pre-amp.
    I don't really want Perfect Sound Forever - just nice sound now. It's not that easy it seems...