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Johnny, Walter, Billy and Needles - All You Need To Know,
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This review is from: LAMF - Definitive Edition (Audio CD)
In considering this excellent boxed package - four pin badges, an excellent booklet with good liner notes, and, let us not forget, a whopping FOUR CDs of recordings, including a disc of demo tracks cut with original bass player Richard Hell (all housed in a smart flip-top box) you can't help but feel a tinge of sadness; the band's main protagonist, Johnny Thunders, has been dead for over twenty years at the November 2012 time of writing this review, and drummer Jerry 'Needles' (he earned the sobriquet not because of his love for knitting) Nolan likewise. The Heartbreakers were Thunders' project that he put together immediately after splitting from the New York Dolls - imagine, if you can, The Rolling Stones fronted by Keith Richards - and for a brief period, looked like they could actually make the kind of commercial headway that was denied to The Dolls. However, Thunders' uncanny knack for being able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory clicked into gear, and the band disintegrated into a messy morass of substance abuse, internecine warfare and the release of one studio album (LAMF) the impact of which was hamstrung because of a sludgy mix which left them, on record at least, sounding unfocused and vapid. It was a travesty that brilliant songs such as 'Pirate Love', 'Get Off The Phone' and 'It's Not Enough' were presented as lumpen, listless trash, when lurking under the layers of grungy topsoil was a feral rock and roll beast. Jungle Records have performed yeoman service to Thunders cause in recent years by having the LAMF album remixed into something like the ferocious rock and roll animal it always should have been, and this four CD set stands as a vivid and more than suitable epitaph to their ragged glory. Thunders was undoubtedly talented - he had an instantly-recognisable (if somewhat limited) guitar style, and, as he said at the time, his songs were 'Love songs to objects' - ie his addictions - but at the core was a perhaps naive belief that rock and roll was some kind of saving grace in itself - and as such, there is an undoubted charm and appeal to these recordings - innocence and nonsense at the same time. Ian Dury once described Gene Vincent in song as "young and old and gone" - this could also apply to Thunders and Nolan - and to which I'll add that they are gone, but not forgotten. LAMF is now the album we - Thunders fans - always hoped it would be. Vibrant, exciting edgy rock and roll that has not dated.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Dec 2012 09:02:14 GMT
Rockaway Beach says:
Fantastic review. Many thanks.
I have the original 1977 vinyl version of LAMF. Just as you stated, spoilt by the muddy mix
Based on your review & just what important figures Thunders, Hell & Nolan were in 1970's RnR history ... I'm going to order this box set immediately.
A small price to pay for an important jigsaw piece in music!
Thanks again for such an inspiring review.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2012 19:07:51 GMT
Richard C. Button says:
excellent, well written review, am going to order this asap.
Posted on 29 May 2013 21:18:38 BDT
Good review, adore the 2CD version, prob wont shell out for 2 more discs of extras but good to see quality JT products being released.
Posted on 27 Oct 2013 13:58:54 GMT
Mr. L. Streicher says:
Fantastic review - saw The Heartbreakers twice and Thunders 6 times in total. Hve bought it - can't wait!
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