L.A.M.F. the lost 77 mixes by Johnny Thunders and the HeartbreakersRelease date: October 27, 2017
Label: Jungle Records
Formed by the New York Dolls Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan after their implosion in 1975, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers cemented their line-up with Billy Ruth and Walter Lure after the initial trio set-up of Richard Hell left to form his Voidoids. Held in high esteem and admiration by many British punk bands, whom were about to unleash a musical and cultural tornado themselves, they were included on the 1976 Anarchy tour alongside Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash.
L.A.M.F. was recorded at several London studios and released on The Who’s Track Records in 1977. It was met with criticism at the time of its original release, mainly due to its still baffling post-production difficulties resulting in a poor vinyl sound quality. There have been re-mixed versions released in 1984 and 1991 but with technological advancements a definitive job could now be successfully carried out.
The 40th anniversary edition re-writes history so now the album can be heard in its full glory as it would have originally been intended. In other words, it bursts forth out of the speakers in glorious ragged, boundless youthful energy. The 4 cds’ box set contains alongside the lost mixes, a restored version, demo sessions, and an alternative mix, which should satisfy the completists. Although the promo I gratefully received is only 14 tracks long and in a different song order to the afore-mentioned extensive box-set version. I’m not complaining; it’s a cracker, but it is this promo I received I am reviewing.
The album contains their two bona-fide punk ‘n’ roll classics ‘Born to lose’ and the largely Dee Dee Ramone penned heroin lifestyle choice anthem ‘Chinese Rocks.’ But the production means they’re re-charged with thick sounding drums, a sharper guitar sound, which injects a vibrant punchiness and gives the whole re-boot a staggering leap in loaded rock ‘n’ roll attitude.
There are other gems which are every bit as good as the said classics in ‘Pirate love’, which swaggers in youthful rebel strutting majesty before exploding into an up-the tempo pogo leaping charge. ‘I wanna be loved’, ‘Baby Talk’, ‘One track mind’ rattle along in a snarly, sleazy, sexualised, and drug fuelled manner.
While Punk may have been a major retaliation against how bloated rock had become L.A.M.F. is a fine example of how early R&B and rock ‘n’ roll was, at the least a small influence, as there are many fine Chuck Berry styled guitar riffs throughout, a key driving force on ‘Can’t keep my eyes on you’ and ‘Let go’. And to confirm the R&B influence there is a rocked-up cover of The Contours 1962 smash hit ‘Do you love me.’
This re-mastered re-issue should come with a warning sticker: this album may induce adrenaline surges. In a nutshell: essential.