Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Year:  1977
Country:  US
City:  New York
Label:  Track
Format:  CD
Tracks:  14
Time:  39 min.
Genre:  rock
Style:          Punk  Rock

Even though Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers were a legendary band with many recordings available, the band only recorded one proper studio record. This album, L.A.M.F. (Like A Mother Fucker) was notorious not for it's showcase of the Heartbreaker's classic songs, but instead for it's crappy sound and brutal mix. It's not to say the songs weren't any good, they are great, but instead the mix of the recording caused much grief as the recording went from studio to studio with each mix considered and rejected. Drummer Jerry Nolan threatened to quit the band if the album was released without "a proper mix". It was released anyways with it's inferior sound and Nolan quit during their UK tour.

I must confess I own the original vinyl LP (on the original cover it says, "The Heartbreakers", not "J.T. And the Heartbreakers") that I purchased in Vancouver, I think in 1986 and the first thing I noticed when I played the album was it's flat, muddy sound. The drums on some tracks sounded like Jerry was hitting a cardboard box and the separation of the mix was inconsistent and sloppy. At this time I already had a bunch of Heartbreakers recordings, Live At Max's Kansas City, D.T.K. Live At the Speakeasy and Live At the Lyceum Ballroom and it's pretty bad when the sound is superior on the live records over the studio record.

In 1982, when Track Records went out of business, the band's manager reacquired the band's recordings including the L.A.M.F. sessions and a remix of the tracks was released as, L.A.M.F. Revisited which was sounded somewhat better, but the reviews were mixed. In 1994, an exec from Jungle records reviewed all the mixes (there was 300+ mixes!) which was then narrowed down to a short-list of 50 to be re-reviewed by some friends and colleagues of Thunders. It was discovered that many of the early mixes were actually suited to the band's proto-punk sound and the "rockier and punchier versions" were reissued as yet another re-release known as, L.A.M.F.: The Lost '77 Mixes was released. This version included an extra disc of outtakes, demos and alternative mixes...confusing isn't it? In 2002, a remastered version of the same 2 disc set (plus a video of Chinese rocks) was available. The version I have is the 2 disc set and I must admit it does sound much better. The sound is fresh, the mix is nicely balanced (sounds nice with headphones!) and the songs are essential and classic Heartbreakers. If you're a Johnny Thunders fan you must have a listen!! If you are not familiar with Thunders and the Heartbreakers, this is a good place to start. Enjoy!!  (*this review is an extract from here ).
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"live at the village gate"
Year:  1977
Country:  US
City:  New York
Label:  Cleopatra
Format:  LP
Tracks:  12
Time:  30 min.
Genre:  rock
Style:        Punk  Rock

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