- Personnel: Patti Smith (vocals, acoustic guitar); Jeff Buckley (vocals, essrage); Lenny Kaye (acoustic & electric guitars); Oliver Ray (acoustic & electric guitars, whistle); Tom Verlaine (electric guitar, guitar); Cesar Diaz (electric guitar); Malcolm Burn (guitar, dulcimer); Sperbs, Whit Smith (guitar); Kimberly Smith (mandolin); Eileen Ivers (fiddle); Jane Scarpantoni (cello); Rick Kiernan (saw); John Cale (organ); Luis Resto (keyboards); Tony Shanahan (bass); Jay Dee Daugherty (drums); Hearn Gadbois (percussion).
- Recorded at Electric Lady, New York, New York.
- With her first release since the self-imposed exile that followed 1988's DREAM OF LIFE, Patti Smith reclaims her title as the original punk poet. Though the songs on GONE AGAIN bear little relationship to the punk movement that she helped spawn in the mid-'70s, the defiant, fiercely individualistic spirit of her early recordings remains intact. GONE AGAIN has a moody, elegiac feel, as many of the songs are inspired by Smith's recent encounters with tragedy: the deaths of her husband and collaborator Fred "Sonic" Smith; her longtime friend, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe; and her brother Todd.
- Smith is that rarest of birds, a songwriter whose poetic reach does not exceed her grasp. Even during her eight-year recording hiatus, she never stopped writing poetry, and the raw, vivid imagery of songs like "Beneath The Southern Cross," "The Raven" and the downright Rimbaudesque "Summer Cannibals" are prime examples of her lyrical prowess. The passing of her loved ones has forced Smith to look more deeply into her own heart, and these compositions reveal a deepened, almost transcendent perspective that makes GONE AGAIN sound like hard-won wisdom being whispered in your ear.
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.64) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (6/27/96, pp.53-54) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...GONE AGAIN is Smith's mourning album....[it is] the most focused and direct work Smith has done yet--clear-eyed even when it can't be dry-eyed and remarkably free of even the most excusable kind of self-pity..."
Spin (8/96, p.95) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Nothing in her back catalogue prophesies her current music's hallucinatory strangeness. Though the songs shift from sturdy bar-band vamps to thorny, open-ended art rock and simple folk, the arrangements stay skeletal, the mood gloomy..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/21/96, pp.62-64) - "...she's a pushing-50 widow with two children who has decided to reinvest in the healing power of music and career. Her losses are our gains." - Rating: A-
Q (8/96, p.120) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...The way she delivers a lyric--as Dylan might, if he'd been born a girl and practised his scales--is ofen worth way more than what it says....contemplation is the order of the day....Throughout, there's an undertow of portent, effective because subdued..."
Alternative Press (10/96, p.184) - 4 (out of 5) - "...Smith has, in essence, offered us some intangible gifts-an album's worth of wisdom and strengh in an era of deconstruction and decay..."
Musician (9/96, p.87) - "...Informed by the deaths of her husband, brother, and Kurt Cobain, GONE AGAIN marks a mournful return, as opposed to the triumphantly blasphemous resurrection of EASTER. Patti the Sadder and Occasionally Wiser..."
Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #13 in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
NME (Magazine) (7/13/96, p.46) - 6 (out of 10) - "...Patti Smith comes not to make our heads spin, but to make our hearts bleed....grief set to music....GONE AGAIN...[is] a spectacularly downbeat record...instilled...with...tenacity..."