Johnny Thunders

Gang War [Jungle]

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Supergroups are usually synonymous with prog rockers, not punk rockers. But in 1979, ex-New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders and ex-MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer decided to unite (with Kramer fresh out of jail), as they began gigging under the name Gang War. Although the group never issued a proper studio album (drug use and mismanagement prevented it), several live Gang War sets have seen the light of day over the years -- one of the better being 2004's Gang War. Instead of working up a whole new set of original songs, the duo focused almost entirely on tracks from their past catalogs, as well as cover tunes of rock & roll standards -- another reason probably why Gang War was never signed by a label. But it's interesting to hear Thunders playing on the MC5's "Ramblin' Rose" and Kramer on the Dolls' instrumental cover, "Courageous Cat," as well as such obscurities as a David Johansen-Thunders collaboration, "Endless Party," and a Kramer original, "Hey Thanks." Of the multitude of covers, you get the expected, such as Chuck Berry's "Around and Around" and the Motown classic "Do You Love Me," as well as the unexpected, tops being a reading of Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come." As longtime fans will attest, Johnny Thunders live recordings are a mixed bag. But thanks to this fleeting collaboration (Kramer supposedly split due to Thunders' unruly monetary demands), Gang War is one of the better ones out there.

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