Johnny Thunders

Have Faith

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Having sat through so many dull Thunders live solo LPs, Have Faith is the exceptional surprise. Guess that when the late Johnny went to Japan, he'd finally put together a serious band, 'cause this 1988 Tokyo show (three years before his expected yet untimely death) sounds tight, hard, and focused. Even the Heartbreakers standards "Too Much Junkie Business," "Chinese Rocks," and "Born to Lose" aren't embarrassing compared to his better older band's versions (the New York Dolls' "Personality Crisis" is also credible). And the best cut is the raucous opening cover of the Chantays' 1963 surf classic, "Pipeline," from his first solo LP, So Alone (another hot live Heartbreakers' staple). Some of the other covers of Bo Diddley ("I Can Tell" and "Who Do You Love"), Willie Dixon ("Spoonful"), Bob Dylan ("Joey, Joey"), and the Rolling Stones ("Play With Fire") are only decent, but that's OK. Newcomers are better directed to the reissue of the Heartbreakers' eye-opening Live at Max's (or even the Dolls' Paris le Trash), but a fan will find this a delight.

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