- Nirvana: Kurt Cobain (guitar, vocals); Pat Smear (guitar, background vocals); Krist Novoselic (bass); Dave Grohl (drums, background vocals); Chad Channing (drums).
- Compilation producers: Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl.
- Recorded live between 1989 and 1994. Includes liner notes by Krist Novoselic.
- Personnel: Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar); Pat Smear (guitar, background vocals); Dave Grohl (drums, background vocals); Chad Channing (drums).
- Audio Mixer: Andy Wallace.
- Liner Note Author: Krist Novoselic.
- Recording information: Astoria Theatre, London, England (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); Civic Center, Springfield, MA (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); Del Mar Fairgrounds, CA (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, CA (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); ll Castello Vi De PortaCastello 41 Rome (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); Pier 48, Seattle, WA (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); Reading Festival, Reading, England (12/05/1989-01/05/1994); Seattle Center Arena, Seattle, WA (12/05/1989-01/05/1994).
- Photographers: Mark Kates; Lisa Johnson ; Kevin Mazur; Charles Peterson .
- The electric smashes and thrashes compiled on FROM THE MUDDY BANKS OF THE WISHKAH were originally intended as half of a double album; the other half would have been the acoustic show released as MTV UNPLUGGED IN NEW YORK. But after Kurt Cobain's death, UNPLUGGED was released on its own, and the task of putting together a live electric disc was put aside for a couple years.
- Now completed, FROM THE MUDDY BANKS OF THE WISHKAH (named for a river that cuts through Nirvana's hometown, Aberdeen, Washington) serves as a perfect mirror to UNPLUGGED. Where that one offered a recontextualization of Nirvana's oeuvre, this one offers a reaffirmation of the band's raw power. All the elements that made the band a legend are present here: piledriver rhythm section, scabrous guitar work that combines a Neil Young-ish tone with a punk sensibility, and Cobain's anguished, sandpaper vocal delivery.
- Many of Nirvana's best-known songs are included in versions that double the intensity and aggression (and sometimes the speed) of the original recordings. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" finds the band charging at a pace that suggests its life depends on reaching the end of the song. "Scentless Apprentice" is a raging howl that makes the original version sound like a beer commercial.
Rolling Stone (1/23/97, p.44) - Ranked #9 on Rolling Stone's list of the "Ten Best Albums" of 1996.
Rolling Stone (10/17/96, pp.129-130) - 4.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...a proud reclamation of the fury, raw power and incredible songwriting that were all but buried under the crush of analysis that followed Cobain's untimely death....it is riotous and liberating....you want more. Except you can't have it..."
Spin (1/97, p.59) - Ranked #14 on Spin's list of the "20 Best Albums of '96."
Spin (11/96, p.119) - 8 (out of 10) - "...If MTV UNPLUGGED IN NEW YORK offers prescient presence-of-the-martyr awe, WISHKAH wades fists up into a fitful, eternally undecided struggle....They make me violently, intimately angry. I wouldn't have it any other way."
Entertainment Weekly (10/4/96, pp.58-59) - "...Anyone who's ever basked in the sheer joy of anarchic noise will want to crank it--for Kurt, for punk, and for the life-affirming energy this monumental band could generate on a good night." - Rating: B+
Q (11/96, p.131) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...Many, many people will wish to own FROM THE MUDDY BANKS OF THE WISHKAH, and there's it's beauty, right there. It is--because Nirvana were--difficult listening. It does not...-play to the gallery. It is platinum punk rock, and that never happened the first time around..."
Alternative Press (12/96, pp.84-85) - 4 (out of 5) - "...FROM THE MUDDY BANKS OF THE WISHKAH is essential for anyone even remotely interested in what [Nirvana] were really up to..."
Melody Maker (9/28/96, p.51) - "...this is...a self-conscious attempt not to glorify the band as a live act, but to portray its highs and its lows....Thrilling to sinful melody, then desperate to re-baptise themselves in the pure waters of noise. The finest rock band of our times--still."
Musician (12/96, p.87) - "...the guts and gristle of the Nirvana legend are served up smoking: Cobain's pained catarrh and smeary lead guitar, backed by the busy thump of the rhythm section, push along presciently written songs that merge cannily contrived melody with an ardent directness..."
Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #28 in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
NME (Magazine) (9/28/96, p.58) - 9 (out of 10) - "...It all comes together best here, believe it or not, on 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'....a screeching, psychotic hurricane of proclamation to wake up the world. Schizophrenic, impossibly energetic, tragic, comic, melancholic, cathartic and sublime..."