Johnny Thunders

Live and Unreleased

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This double-LP basically draws from two eras of Johnny Thunders' erratic career: 1977 material (both live and studio) with the Heartbreakers, and mid-'80s solo stuff (mostly live). While the sound quality isn't always top of the line, it's fairly good, and usually just a little below the standards you'd expect from an official release. Of greatest interest to most listeners, probably, will be the Heartbreakers items, with three studio tracks from December 1977, among them the famed "Too Much Junkie Business" and the Shangri-Las cover "Give Her a Great Big Kiss" (which of course the New York Dolls had done in their repertoire). One-time Clash drummer Terry Chimes is, according to the liner notes, "presumably" on those three cuts. The five live Heartbreakers songs are from a live March 1977 show, and while the vocals really waver on "I Love You," his fans might not only give allowances for such raggedness, but value it. The mid-'80s selections draw from various phases of his output, whether back to the New York Dolls days for "Personality Crisis," or covers of Bo Diddley's "I Can Tell," Them's "Gloria," and the surf instrumental "Pipeline." This live material is actually better than the solo acoustic performances (both live and studio) included here, which are not too together, particularly the shambolic live stabs at "Eve of Destruction" and "Like a Rolling Stone." Ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock plays on the six tunes recorded live in Italy in 1986.