Personnel: Wendy James (vocals, piano); Lenny Kaye (guitar); Glen Matlock (bass guitar); James Sclavunos (drums).
It's possible to think of the title of The Price of the Ticket, Wendy James' first album in five years, as an offhand reference to how she partially funded the release of the album through Kickstarter: the audience paid the price of admission for this record. From another angle, the cost in the title could be what James ponied up to have a career in music. Certainly, The Price of the Ticket carries a slight air of autobiography, containing songs that feel reflective, perhaps even confessional, not to mention covers of Fred "Sonic" Smith ("You're So Great," from Sonic's Rendezvous Band) and Bob Dylan ("It's Alright Ma [I'm Only Bleeding]"), both performed with a different member of the Stooges (James Williamson and Steve MacKay, respectively). James surrounds herself with other punk survivors, notably Patti Smith's guitarist Lenny Kaye and Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, and they lend a fleet versatility to the record, creating suitably muscular and elastic beds for song-poems while also conjuring a bit of a garagey pop kick to "Why Oh Why Do You Hurt Me Still." Where other James records often carry a faint sense of stridency, this combination of reflection and weathered musicality gives The Price of the Ticket weary resonance. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine