New York Dolls

Paris Le Trash

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Holy moly! To paraphrase a famous late-'70s English band that the New York Dolls had an overwhelming influence on (the Sex Pistols), "Never mind their other live documents, this is the killer diller." The mix favors Jerry Nolan's famous cool drumming and especially the dirty crunch of master guitarist Johnny Thunders. Great as his (and Nolan's) Heartbreakers were, the Dolls were the best place for his power-blues style riffs and ripping, squealing, barking, and screaming power leads, so subversive and nasty that they summed up with every siren blast all that rock & roll could aspire to. He could wander where he pleased since Syl Sylvain was such a smooth rhythm guitarist, and both are truly in sync here. Singer David Johansen is low in the mix but clearly audible where he belongs, and bassist Arthur Kane sounds reasonably sober. All this adds up to the finest quality recording we've heard of a seminal band in their prime; not only were they (from all accounts) a fabulous band on-stage that never really was all that comfortable in studios (much like the Heartbreakers later), but as much as their two studio LPs are as great as they are infamous, both seem muted compared to Raw Power's detonation around the same time, and this disc will correct that. It's not perfect: Some of the backing vocals by Sylvain and Thunders are a little too loud and slightly off, there's too much talking space between songs, and their covers of the Shangri-Las' "Give Him (Her) a Great Big Kiss" and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man" (first-ever Dolls release for both, right?) are both too sloppy to fit with the rest of this greatness. The band also mucks-up completely the start of Bo Diddley's "Pills" without the smarts to just start over. But who the hell cares!? One listen to "Bad Girl" with its sexy swank, and "Vietnamese Baby," "Chatterbox," and "Looking for a Kiss" with this totally loud, totally smokin', totally hot live sound, and you'll be glad this tape was unearthed and released. One caution: you'll have to really turn up the volume; this is one of those rare cases where only blasting it makes it sound hot. Paris Le Trash is definitely the most important album to get after the studio LPs and may even be the best introduction, period!

Track Listing

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