All the Children Are Drunk

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The Blondie bootlegs that surfaced in the 1990s ranged from performances from the band's late-'90s reunion tour to recordings from its late-'70s/early-'80s heyday. A rewarding example of the latter, All the Children Are Drunk boasts generally excellent live performances from 1977 and 1978 -- all of them high-quality soundboard recordings that would please an audiophile. Over half of the CD is devoted to a September 21, 1977, appearance at San Francisco's Old Waldorf, where Deborah Harry and friends embrace "I Love Playin' With Fire" (a gem that Joan Jett wrote when she was with the Runaways) and "Kidnapper" during a soundcheck before live sets that include "In the Sun," "X Offender," "Rip Her to Shreds," "Detroit 442," and other classics from Plastic Letters or Blondie's self-titled debut album. The other live material was recorded at Max's Kansas City in New York in 1977, My Father's Place on New York's Long Island in June 1978, and the New York Palladium in November 1978 (when King Crimson's Robert Fripp joins the new wavers on "Sister Midnight"). Although original songs dominated Blondie's live shows in the late-'70s, this bootleg is full of enjoyable covers. Obsessive Blondie collectors will be thrilled to know that All the Children Are Drunk offers a rare chance to hear Harry putting her spin on David Bowie's "Heroes," the Doors' "Moonlight Drive," and the Rolling Stones' "My Obsession" as well as Iggy Pop's "Funtime" and the New York Dolls' "Jet Boy." Deep Six, the bootlegger that assembled this collection, also lists the Yardbirds' "For Your Love" as one of the covers, but, in fact, the Yardbirds gem that Blondie embraces is "Heart Full of Soul" -- not "For Your Love." Is All the Children Are Drunk essential? Definitely not. No casual listener needs to hear all those covers, but then casual listeners are never the target audience of bootleggers. This CD is strictly for Blondie's more devoted fans, who will find that All the Children Are Drunk has a lot to offer.

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