City Slang: “Rev Up!!” revisited

Back when I was living in England and obsessing over the Stooges, Iggy Pop, the MC5, Alice Cooper and Bob Seger, I remembering hearing the name Mitch Ryder and that of his Detroit Wheels again and again. By all accounts, he was the golden boy of Detroit rock ’n’ roll, the soulful voice with the sharp suits and the killer band.

I have a few Mitch compilations now, but Rev Up!! is usually the one that I reach for (even though the Detroit Breakout: An Ultimate Anthology comp has some great stuff on it). Every single song on Rev Up!! is magnificent, finely executed rock ’n’ soul with Jim McCarty’s awesome fret work and Johnny Bee’s spot-on tub thumping.

This is Detroit, so most of you will know the quality of these tunes, from “Jenny Take a Ride” and “Little Latin Lupe Lu” to “Shake a Tail Feather” and “Sock it to Me Baby”. The songs just keep coming.

When I moved to Detroit and saw Mitch live for the first time, I was delighted to see that his voice is still great. Maybe a genuine Detroit Wheels reformation is too much to ask for, but who knows?

Mitch Ryder is an honest-to-goodness Detroit legend. A gem. And this music is timeless.

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