Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Johnny Thunders "Official Tape Archive D.T.K. Live From Zurich 1985"

(ChunkletIn 1985, Johnny's career was on a high note. He'd released a fine solo album, ''Que Sera Sera," and was touring all over the world with it, even Russia. He had a strong rhythm section in Keith Yon and Tony St. Helene (who later played with Keith Richards.) and, on a good night, he still had the spark. This live radio set finds Johnny in solid form, not slurring, with his eyes on the prize. He's rockin' as good as he did with Heartbreakers, even without Walter Lure for a safety net. Set opener, "Blame it on Mom" explodes with righteous fury. "MIA" roars like a lion, and "Personality Crisis" hits the listener with a one-two punch. Johnny sounds focused, but savage as ever. The same goes for "Countdown Love" and the charmingly titled "Little Bit of Whore (In Every Girl)", ''EVEN YER MUTHER, EVEN THE VIRGIN MUTHER, EVEN YEW MUTHAFUCKAS!!" It wouldn't be Johnny without the occasional F-Bomb. The first five songs are killers, but this whole album was not recorded at the same time. The remainder of the LP appears to be circa '89-'90, with The Oddballs, his last backing band, playing at a nightclub in Zurich. Singer Alison Gordy and saxophone player Jamie Heath were not, to my knowledge, working with Johnny as early as 1985. They're good performances, but the band sounds more off the cuff, though. Johnny's vocals show remarkable growth, he was singing with more of a Bluesey growl in the late 80's (the one saving grace of a dismal set in Chicago in '89, where he barely touched his guitar), and his guitar playing still sounds good. The weeper, "Disappointed in You," is considerably rocked up from it's acoustic beginnings. An unrepentant Thunders proclaims, "I'M BACK ON MY FEET, I BEAT THE ODDS ! HA HA HA HA!!". One of my favorite solo Johnny songs, "Just Another Girl," an MC5 Cha-Cha-Cha, isn't the best version I've heard, but it's good. Likewise for the "Too Much Business "/ 'Pills"  medley. I've heard better and I've heard worse. Johnny's Version of "Wipeout" always lacked the personal touch of his iconic version of "Pipeline." It's all right, just nothing to write home about.''Born To Lose" contains some of the best, most fluid lead guitar work on this set. All in all, this album comes recommended to collectors, the sound quality is very good, and it works as a whole. But I'm writing this review under the influence. Of pizza. Johnny would have wanted it that way.

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