New York Dolls

Heroin is "Hot, Hot, Hot!" (doodoo-dootee, doodoo-dootee, doodoo-dootee) "Hot, Hot, Hot!" (etc.)
*special introductory paragraph!
*Actress: Birth Of The New York Dolls
*Lipstick Killers: The Mercer Street Sessions 1972
*Seven Day Weekend
*New York Dolls
*Too Much Too Soon
*Live In NYC-1975 Red Patent Leather
*All Dolled Up DVD
*One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This
*Cause I Sez So
*Dancing Backward in High Heels

Some bands only have one great album in them. The Beatles were one. Led Zeppelin another. But creativity is difficult, and there are very few bands like Supertramp and .38 Special who can whip out a legendary timeless classic every time. One such unlucky band was Chicago's New York Dolls. These cross-dressing hunks of man relied so heavily on Chuck Berry/Rolling Stones choogle-chuggle blues-influenced rock and roll that when they ran out of intriguing melodic ideas (immediately after recording their first album), nothing was left but drug addiction and directionless choogle-chuggle. And too much choogle-chuggle in the absence of idiosyncracy is enough to drive a man to boredom. But wait! Two of them reunited later!


Too many rock stars and musicians never got any heroin recovery help, and they paid dearly for it.


Actress: Birth Of The New York Dolls - Get Back 2000
Rating = 3

The New York Dolls weren't really from Chicago, so don't be a lie-missing dumbass and send me a reader comment about that. This CD is a 1971 rehearsal recording by Actress, a band featuring future New York Dolls Johnny Thunders, Arthur Kane and Billy Murcia.

I hereby declare David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain "the geniuses behind the New York Dolls."

The first problem is the performance. I realize that drugs were a popular form of sports in the early '70s, but how is it possible that at no point during this 53-minute session did even one member of the band notice that all the guitars were out of tune with each other? Add in Johnny Thunders' flat, high-pitched vocals and you've got four different melodic elements that do nothing but clash sickeningly against each other through song after song.

The second problem is the songwriting. Though already demonstrating a love of early rock'n'roll, Thunders and Kane were only just beginning to develop the awesome hook-writing skills that would later help the Dolls breathe new life into the old Chuck Berry formula. Furthermore, there is not yet any chooglin' Stones dirty-rock in their sound (probably because Exile On Main Street hadn't been released yet!), and in its stead is a combination of slow balladry and long lousy jams in the middle of every song.

Only two of these songs - "That's Poison" ("Subway Train") and "It's Too Late" - survived to become part of the New York Dolls' repertoire. And it's not difficult to understand why! Whether alternating between two basic chords for 5 1/2 minutes ("I Am Confronted," "Oh, Dot"), sleepwalking through standard early '60s chord changes ("Coconut Grove," "Take Me To Your Party") or grinding the entire evening to a halt with a deathly paced ballad ("We've Been Through This Before," "Why Am I Alone"), Actress demonstrates time and again that... well, that all great bands have to start somewhere, I suppose. And judging from early recordings by The Beatles, REM and The Ramones, it is indeed quite clear that The Beatles and REM weren't very good when they started out.

There is one other song that probably should have been re-recorded as a New York Dolls track, perhaps in place of one of the five billion covers on Too Much Too Soon. Though yet another slow ballad, "I'm A Boy, I'm A Girl" is a particularly strong one, filled with descending arpeggios, gentleness and melancholy. And transsexual lyrics, probably.

Also, the original rhythm guitarist's name was "Rick Rivets"! As such, he totally should have gone into gay porn when he quit the band, but apparently he kept playing guitar LIKE A FOOL and is still playing today LIKE A FOOL instead of doing gay porn LIKE A GENIUS.

Add your thoughts?


Lipstick Killers: The Mercer Street Sessions 1972 – ROIR 1981
Rating = 4

Here’s a little song I wrote for you entitled “The Slowest Band in the World.”

They were slow slow slow
With drummer Billy Murcia, they just didn’t go
They were slow slow slow
No confidence and no jibbidy joe

Pokey as a turtle
Slothful as a slother
Sluggish as a slug
So I went and fucked your mother

They were slow slow slow
With guitars out of tune and a young David Jo
They were slow slow slow
They would’ve benefitted from a plate full of snow (blow?) (gold?) (toes?)

Six were bound for debut
Two for Too Soon, Late
They dumped “Don’t Mess with Cupid”
It’s ‘National Women’s Day’; fellate!

They were slow slow slow
None of the cover tunes made my penis grow
They were slow slow slow
I was so embarrassed to be limp with that ho

Once I lost my boner
I couldn’t get another
She left with all my money
So I fucked your baby brother

(*fuckin’ solo*)

Everything was torpid
Johansen had no sass
When I fucked your pregnant sister,
I also fucked the foetus in the ass

They were slow slow slow
Nothing on here would make it on radio
They were slow slow slow
I wrote this song and my name’s Al Jarreau

Best,
Al Jarreau
Author of Theme From "Moonlighting": The Book and I Like Fucking People Related to You

Add your thoughts?


Seven Day Weekend - Receiver 1992
Rating = 7

More like SEVEN POINT RATING, if you ask me!

We can all thank God in Heaven that 21-year-old Billy Murcia passed out from a drug overdose and was force fed coffee until he drowned in a bathtub, because new drummer Jerry Nolan kicks some high-speed enthusiastic ass!

This CD features a young confident band of spirited transvestite youths performing seven songs that would end up on New York Dolls, another seven that would end up on Too Much Too Soon, and five that would end up on the cutting room floor collecting dust and baseball cards. These songs were ready to go, and it’s a gasahol to hear Johansen introduce each number in his inimical New York way. Still, let’s be honest: the cover songs are a bunch of interchangeable bags of dog shit.

Aside from the aptly titled but not very interesting “Endless Party,” all the rarities are oldies covers, and only one rises above sheer mediocrity: a super-goodtime cover of the Shangri-Las’ “Great Big Kiss.” Of the others, Gary ‘U.S.’ Bonds’ “Seven Day Weekend” has the energy of a great party song but little else; Chuck Berry’s “Back in the USA” is performed with gusto and fun backing vocals, but has never been one of Berry’s hookiest songs; and Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” is a disaster. Add in three more covers that would wind up on Too Much Too Soon, and you’ve got a Seven Cover Tune Weekend!

As evidenced by the fine work of The Punkles, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a cover tune. Unfortunately, the Dolls have a bad habit of picking second-rate songs and turning them into fifth-rate bores. Come on, “There’s Gonna Be A Showdown”!? I could write a better song with both of my fists inside a box shark.

Upon further research, I’ve discovered that I made up the species “box shark.” Another of my notable talents!

Bottom line: if you have the first two studio albums (see below), you’re pretty much covered as far as Seven Day Weekend goes. Still, if you have the money and interest, it’s a fun, frantic and friendly little joyride through the lipstick stubble of the early ‘70s underground.

Now here are some jokes:

What were Billy Murcia’s last words?
“The best part of waking up is… no, hang on I’m drowning.”

What caused Billy Murcia’s accidental overdose?
Somebody secretly replaced his heroin with Folgers crystals.

What did Billy Murcia’s drug dealer say during his eulogy?
That he was good to the last cop.

Man A: “Wha’ happen? Billy Murcia’s dead!”
Man B: “You nitwit! When I said ‘Fill it to the rim,’ I meant the bathtub!”
Man A: “Oh, I thought you meant to pour coffee down his throat until he drowned.”
Man B: “Don’t worry about it. He sucked anyway.”

Add your thoughts?


* New York Dolls - Polygram 1973 *
Rating = 10

The New York Dolls were at the heart of the glam movement, gussied up in make-up, sleazy women's clothing and big high heels to bring you catchy tales of drugs, sex and the urban life. Have you heard of Johnny Thunders? No no, not the Kinks song! ha ha1 Johnny Thunders was the heroin-addicted lead guitarist for the New York Dolls before forming the Heartbreakers and changing his name to Tom Pe

Have you heard of Johnny Thunders? He was the influence for the Replacements' "Johnny's Gonna Die" song -- and he DID die! Not for years later, but still. Johnny liked to dick around lead-wise with his bluesy solos taken probably from Faces records or some old blues guy. Going "doo-deedeeedeee doo-deedeedee doo-deedeedee" on those high notes and what-have-you. Rhythm guitarist Sylvain Sylvain was a real gasser too, and loved to play that choogle-chuggle thing that must certainly have a name. What do you call it, that way of playing bluesy rock where you create, say, a D-chord and then just move one finger up two slots and back down while strumming? Like in "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" or "Roll Over Beethoven"? Is that just considered to be blues format or is there an actual name for it? Anyway, Sylvain played that way constantly, but thankfully the Dolls (at least on THIS record) did NOT stick to 12-bar blues format. They created interesting chord changes, but played in that choogle-chuggle manner as they did so.

Then there was the rhythm section.

And finally the singer, legendary Saturday Night Live lounge lizard Buster Poindexter, operating under his early nom de plume "David Johansen." He may have dressed like a Long Island whore, but he sang with the luggish fighting attitude of a Brooklyn Bruiser. Good thing too, because these guys clearly influenced '80s hair metal (Poison, Motley Crue, Skid Row) in more ways than one, so his cool manly voice helps to differentiate the Dolls from their high wailing successor/inferiors.

The case for this album basically lies in the melodies, both vocal and musical. The songs are just catchy, plain and simple. Some are super-happy with goodtime rollicking piano backdrop, others are intense, obsessed and dark, and still others are plaintive and wistful. But they all just "work"! Especially if you play it loud and let yourself get into their jivey boogie rock and roll mood. The guitar tones are neither heavy nor tinny, but just raw, distorted and good to go -- and David is one hell of a singer right from the getgo, throwing in fun campy asides ("Aww, how you call your lover boy?," "When I say I'm in love, you'd best believe I'm in love - L.U.V.") and screaming with passion as the songs get more and more energetic and hypnotic (check out how pissed off he sounds at the end of "Vietnamese Baby" - "I'M TALKIN' 'BOUT YOUR OVERKILL!!!!"). Some of the songs are terribly repetitive, with chorus and verse sharing the same music, but the double-guitar attack and non-stop barrage of (again) just really, really catchy, singalongable tunes of various moods raise this debut LP to the level of "underground hitless classic."

Look. I know it's only rock and roll, but I like you. If I didn't like you, I'd recommend a Helen Reddy album. Instead, I know you like timeless pop melody and hot pre-punk energy. As such, I'm hoping you already own this record. But if you don't, this is my top, top recommendation of it. Let me say a few words about each song now, because I honestly do love every single song on this record, and want to make sure that this enthusiasm shows through.

"Personality Crisis" - hey, it's Poison! Thirteen years early! And they're GOOD! Catchy pop hooks, bouncy piano and guitars, and David screaming up a storm! Sonic Youth later covered this. Shockingly, their cover sucked.

"Looking For A Kiss" - A bit darker. And whose heart ISN'T broken by the vision, "Your friends all come to your house to shoot up in your room/All of them are beautiful, but so obsessed with gloom." You can picture it, can't you? Beautiful girls ruining your image of them by shooting heroin? My heart's broken. Look, half of it just fell down my torso and landed in my foot.

"Vietnamese Baby" - a GONG! even more malevolent than the last song. One stinging fuzz guitar. Dark chords and vocal melody. Dave and the drummer go nuts at the end

lonely planet boy - great acoustic ballad! Such light, sensitive vocalizing.

frankenstein - very very very repetitive but awesomely menacing round robin riff.

trash - THE song! Uptempo, happy, manic drums, the greatest backup vocals EVER! "Traaaaayish! Ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo!" SO AWESOME!!! This is one of my favorite songs of all time. You MUST hear it. "TRAAAAAYISH! Pick it up! Take it all away! TRAAAAYISH! Pick it up! Take your life away! TRAAAAYISH! Gonna pick it up! Don't try to take my knife away.... And please don't ya ask me if I love you... 'Cuz I don't know if I do, all I know is TRAAAAYISH!" I'm not kidding here. Everything about this song just SCREAMS "Mark Prindle." Except for the lyrics, which scream 'TRAAAAAYISH!" Alice Cooper later recorded a vomitous song with the same title.

bad girl - sleazy exile on main st rock and roller. that 12-bar-blues finger thing again. Killer Khords in Khorus. Goodtime greatness. Beats Prince's "1999" sentiments by a full decade: "A nuclear bomb is gonna blow us away! So I gotta get myself some lovin' today!"

subway train - Probably less exciting than the others, but still good! kind of a half-ballad. Gets more catchy and energetic as it goes though. A lesser tune but relaxed and easy to like.

pills - a cover. AWESOME rock and roll song! "Rock and roll nurse goin' to my head - 'Cuz I was lyin' in a hospital bed!"

private world - great catchy almost girl groupy 60s stomp stomp poppy piano and guitar. Great! Uses a "louie louie" style rhythm and Sesame Street-style Big Obvious Chord Changes. Wonderful tune!

jet boy - speedy mean ass-kicker! The recurring riff is so awesome!!!! Mean, Mean, Ben Vereen! Not sure about the chorus though - appears to rhyme "baby" with "baby."

The rock record collection without New York Dolls is simply not right. Not right at all. They may have only been able to pull it together one time, but they pulled the HELL out of it together! A more colorful Exile-era Stones.... A poppier Aerosmith.... A big brash mess of underproduced guitar trash rock'n'roll! Like Rick Dees' "Eat My Shorts"!

(*room goes silent; a shotgun is fired*)

And speaking of "Frankenstein," here are the Boris Karloff films I've seen:

Frankenstein
The Old Dark House
The Mask of Fu Manchu
The Mummy
The Ghoul
The Black Cat
The Bride of Frankenstein
The Black Room
The Invisible Ray
The Walking Dead
Son of Frankenstein
The Man They Could Not Hang
The Man with Nine Lives
The Devil Commands
The Body Snatcher
Isle of the Dead
Bedlam
The Raven (1963)
Black Sabbath
The Sorcerers
Targets

Reader Comments

bladeystyle@yahoo.com
The New York Dolls' self-titled debut is a very good album, even a great one. Not a 10, though. The best songs ("Personality Crisis", "Jet Boy", "Looking for a Kiss", "Pills") are deservedly classics, but the lesser songs ("Frankenstein", "Private World") suffer from uncreative melodies, and as Prindle mentioned, repetitiveness. I'd give it an 8.5.

lube1@umbc.edu
This is the best goddamned rock and roll record, PERIOD. You're a fucking poseur and should go jerk off to korn or whatever if you don't own this shit!!!!

j_fahey@mail.plymouth.edu (Jack)
Most of the people who comment on your site are fucking retarded. They make me sick. I also make me sick. Maybe you should review the Rentals.

uglytruth@hotmail.com
I like "Frankenstein"... It's gloomy, it stands out that way, and/because of the awesome lead thing. But my main favourites would be "Personality Crisis", "Looking For A Kiss" (the intro is too cool for words, and the whole song is playful and provocative in a nice way) and "Jet Boy", which probably is the most impressive one of all, with a KILLER riff, hand-clappings that makes it even catchier, and the "twin-guitar attack" after about a minute into the song... It's a classic.

I don't really have anything to add to the review or the comments... If it deserves a 10? Maybe put in a historical context, sure, but song-by-song there are some that are really not good... And some that don't make much of an impact (isn't that the case with all the songs after "Bad Girl" up to Jet Boy?).

worldsgreatestsinner@gmail.com
I pretty much agree with your review. By the way, have you heard "LAMF" by Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers? Check out the fuckin' awesome remix, which is in my opinion as good as the Dolls' self-titled.

prince55chu@hotmail.com
I read your stuff about New York Dolls/New York Dolls. I writes about movies in my blog, http://princesschu.blog23.fc2.com/, and I saw the movie New York Doll and since then, I'm totally hookewith the Dolls. I agree 100% with you on their beyond-awesome first album, and I love your writing style! I'm going back and check what you write about the second album because I haven't bought it yet. Did you hear the reunion album? I really don't know if I should buy it. Japanese fans all say it's good, though.

david.clarke1@sympatico.ca
Dear Mark Prindle,

Right on the money with the review, but did you know that "When I say I'm in love, you best believe I'm in love ... L.U.V." is a quote, not a campy aside (or, it's both a quote and a campy aside)? David Johanson took it from the spoken-word intro of The Shangri-Las' classic ode-to-juvenile-deliquent-love "Give Him A Great Big Kiss." That makes 2 legendary punk bands that quote the Shangri-Las: the Damned open "New Rose" with the line "Is she really going out with him?" -- that's an homage to "Leader Of The Pack." Of course, the Shangri-Las svengali/producer Shadow Morton was brought in to produce "Too Much Too Soon." The Shangri-Las are right up there with the Dolls as one of rock's coolest ever bands.

ddickso2@uccs.edu
Ermm. . . Personally, I like the second album better. At least there they show more of a commercial edge--aw fuck. I'll admit it! I prefer certain bands to sound more. . . well, sellout! Consider what happens when the New York Dolls DON'T sell out, and concentrate more on rocking, dancing, and boogalooing than writing a damn song. They sound like this album--a well-intentioned, moderately exciting rave-up--where half the songs sound exactly the same and the other half merely recycle every '50's rhythm n' blues melodic and guitar-riff cliche in a more off-key setting. Christ, I'm starting to sound like Starostin. Now that I think about it, I think his website, massive and well-constructed as it is, is essentially one giant self-justification for Not Listening To Anything After 1977 Unless Absolutely Forced To Out Of Extremely Grudging Respect For Equal Time.

"I AM EQUAL TIME!" --Rush Starostin, 1988

Yeah, it's all very pleasant to listen to and all, but not a single song stands out as a classic upon first or second listen. Of course, then there's the old "WELL! That's your PROBLEM. You have to listen many MORE times. And then you will get its GENIUS." Well, fuck that. I have about 900 other "classic" albums to listen to, and possess neither the time nor the inclination to hear a bunch of mildly entertaining '50's ripoff artists give Robert Christgau an orgasm more times than I absolutely need to. You know what album I managed to convince myself was good after listening to it more times than I wanted to? You know what album???

METALLICA'S FUCKING LOAD. LOAD, I tell you. (of SHIT!)

That says it all.

And dammit, it's not loud enough. That said, they sure rip off them '50's well and with energy. I give them a 7.4937255.

On a completely not-related subject, you know how Timothy Leary was searching for the "oneness" that would unite the brotherhood of man? How Pete Townshend was looking for the One Song that would Join [people] Together With The Band? How the Moody Blues were, in fact, "In Search of the Lost Chord?"

In 1972, Klaus Schulze, a German Berliner from Deutschland, found that Lost Chord.

It's called Irrlicht, and it beats the, as they say, "ever-loving shit" out of Brian Eno's entire discography. AND this album.

Not sure you will like it, Mark, but it WAS pretty much the entire inspiration for the soundtrack to The Matrix. So that counts for something.

(bad)

(or not)

(eh, you make the call)

johnny.mangafan@gmail.com
Yeah, the bluesy rock choogle-chuggle is called...(get ready for this one, Prindle) the Chuck Berry riff. Not kidding, it's in a rock guitar instruction book I have.

Add your thoughts?


Too Much Too Soon - Polygram 1974
Rating = 6

Some folk refer to this album as In Too Much Too Soon, because on the cover it reads "New York Dolls in Too Much Too Soon," but I'm fairly certain that they're just treating it as if it's a motion picture - like the New York Dolls STARRING in "Too Much Too Soon." You know, like Led Zeppelin in Through The Out Door or The 1910 Fruitgum Company in Dian Giver. They're set up to resemble a movie poster, like Katherine Hepburn on Golden Pond. If the album were meant to be called In Too Much Too Soon, then the album cover would have said "New York Dolls in In Too Much Too Soon." But then all the record purchasers would suspect that they were experiencing D.T.s and double vision what with all these similar words and repetition. As such, they shortened the title to Too Much Soon, and accidentally put an extra "Too" on the cover because they were a bunch of drug-addicted David Bowie people. That's my thesis and I'm sticking to my theory.

There's a popular saying in the music bus (short for "business," or "biz" as we say in the bus) that goes something like this: You have your whole life to write your first album, but only 45 seconds to write your second. And it's true. The day David Johansen was born, he began drafting the lyrics to "Personality Crisis" and had the first 55 years of his life to make it just perfect for the band's debut. Such was not the case when '60s girl group producer Shadow Morton picked up the band with a promise to go to "K-Mart" and instead dropped them off at a recording studio and said, "I'm pressing 'record' in one half-minute." The band gave it their all, trying to write some hot new licks for Shadow to enjoy, but it just didn't wirk, werk or wurk. As such, the second NYPD (New York "Party!" Dolls) LP is overrun by generic early rock and roll riffs, novelty songs and covers galore. Did you enjoy all those perfect expressions of rockness on their debut? Good because there are only four of them on the follow-up. :7( That was a very, very sad face I just typed, and I hope you treat it as such.

Four great songs: "Babylon" drives like a sick rat-a-tat off-the-tracks locomotive with a weirdo guitar riff, "It's Too Late" drugs you up with four dark garage spy guitar chords, "Puss 'N' Boots" warns of the dangers of cross-dressing atop a catchy beat later stolen by the Sex Pistols for "Liar Li-Li-Li," and "Chatterbox" is a cool sleazyass number populated by guitarist and newly-crowned vocalist John Thunderly! The rest of the songs can all go jump in a lake.

Oh okay, some are okay, but come on - "Stranded In The Jungle"? "There's Gonna Be A Showdown"? "Bad Detective"? "Don't Start Me Talkin'"? There's a difference between a campy cover tune and a shitty Dr. Demento retard, and all four of these embarrassments cross that differentiation (line). Not even their other two originals can save the record because they're just too BASIC! Seriously, hadn't they already written "Human Being" about ten times already? The same Chuck Berry playing, the same happy chord sequence, the same fuzzed-out lead licks. Or am I supposed to be all excited and shit because there's a saxophone? Well, I'm not. In fact, the only "saxophone" I need is the kind where I pick up the "phone" and have "sax" with it until I have an "O".

You have to admit that would have been quite a hot passage had it been written by a girl. I apologize for leaving you with the image of me ramming the receiver in and out of my greased-up poopy asshole.

No wait! I AM a girl!!! Just a very hairy, ugly one with my breasts rolled up into a tube and located on my crotch!

You gettin' off yet?

No no, I'm a bus driver! And I asked you a perfectly sensible question!

Moral: Too Much Too Soon is not too good.

Reader Comments

ddickson@rice.edu
Goddammit all to hell, you're funny.

But you underrate this album. And what the heck, you didn't even mention "Who Are the Mystery Girls"--probably the Doll's best pure pop song. Still, I go for "Human Being" as the best on the album; anthemic is anthemic, no matter how you swing your Def Leppard.

I give it a 9. Because novelty songs or no novelty songs--there really isn't a bad tune on the album. Is David Johansen Mick Jagger in disguise? I'd really like to know.

hull5@charter.net
"The 1910 Fruitgum Company in Dian Giver..."

*snorts with glee*

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
A man whistles and shouts "come on boys", then the drums and guitars join in for the opening cut "Babylon" a number that compares Babylon, NY and the Babylon written about in the Old Testament. "Stranded in the Jungle" changes tempo with verses and the chorus that takes on the 50's sound, "And now you're talking, Just like you're ten feet tall", I hope you don't fall", lyrics from one of my favorites on this album, which is entitled "Puss-n-Boots", a straight ahead rocker that doesn't let up until the gun goes off in the end. My second favorite is probrably the cut "Bad Detective" with it's clever guitar riff that opens the song and continues in spots throughout the song.

"I love the track "Who are the mystery girls?" and there's this cut on here that features a harmonica and contains a verse like this "I told you a thousand times,Baby, it's too late, it's too late", but I can't remember the title. Anyway, this album is pretty decent and I find myself playing tit alongside other glam artist like Mott the Hoople, T.Rex, Sweet, and Bowie.

Johansan tries to copy a lot of Jagger mannerisms and vocal sounds on this release but minimally succeeds. I give it an "8" on the scale because it's a fun record too listen too.

rkay1@rogers.com
No no no, you're right about this one. It's Too Late was a cover from Thunders' first band Actress and Human Being was reject from NYD #1. Too Much Too Soon is a bad record, wrongly produced and does not reflect what the Dolls could have been, except for rampant heroin and alcohol addiction. L.A.M.F. had the Dolls true potential sound (i.e. Pirate Love, which is very Jet-Boy-esque) and Get Off the Phone, which would have been way better sung by D. Jo instead of Walter Lure. And to all you Thunders' fans who can't take a joke..."FUCK YOU IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT..."

prince55chu@hotmail.com
I read about Too Much Too Soon/New York Dolls. That's what exactly I imagined about the album. It might have a couple of good songs, but as a whole, it sucks. OK I won't buy it.

Aren't you kidding about the Zeppelin's "In" Through the Out Door? I thought that was funny because in Japan, apparently nobody understood ehat the f**k it means by "in through the out door" and they gave up to translate it, so we had the album title in English!

Add your thoughts?


Live In NYC-1975 Red Patent Leather - Receiver 1993
Rating = 6

Say! Did I ever tell you about the time in high school when I announced over the intercom that I had a big fuckin' boner? Oh yes, it's true! Certainly I didn't use those words indeed, but my cinnamons (sentiments - ZING!) were exactly such. Unfortunately, I didn't actually have a hard fuckin' pisslog at the time, and was merely tricked by some decadent Sadean beast of trickery - Fie on it! Here, let me tell you my tale.

It was a cold wintry day perhaps on that fine 1990-1991 morning, I a child with hair growing wild was one of the two "Announcement Boys" that you hear about in fancy Cadillacs and newspapers. We, he and I were a witty, whimsical, droll pair, and if memory serves, we told jokes and such, though I can't recall what any might have been. At first, we were beloved. By the end of our run, we were despised. At any rate, somewhere in the middle, a wacky young crazy-go-round stuck a fake announcement into the announcement card stack. I SHOULD have realized it was fake, because it spelled the word "thespians" with a "b" instead of a "p," but you know youth and time -- there's never enough of either! Heh heh. Ah me. Those were the days. But wait, the anecdote.

"All members of the Thesbian Club please report to room 325 at 2:30 for a special showing of 'My Dixie Wrecked.'"

That's all it took. Somehow I'd gone my whole 17 years of life without ever having heard that joke. Same for my announcement partner. So I read it straight as an arrow. Next thing I know, I shows up in Drama Class and Clay whatsisname with the hair was laughing up a billy goat -- "Did you say that on purpose???" I pleaded ignorance, for I indeed was -- and am -- ignorant. And the rest is jizztory. That's my anecdote! We've all enjoyed it here today. So what do you say - would you like to buy a time share? You'll get a free AM radio!

In George Orwell's 1984, some record company issued an alblubm called Red Patent Leather by the New York Dolls. It was a live show from 1975. I'm not reviewing that album here today. The one I'm reviewing is a CD reissue of that album, which includes the live show from 1975 PLUS an additional track from the same show PLUS three live tracks from a 1973 show. That original album would only get a 5, so don't buy that one. This one? Man, a 6 all the way! You see, I feel that music is best appreciated through numbers.

If Sesame Street's "The Count" were an actual human being and he were here today, he'd appreciate the fact that this live CD features FOUR (4) songs from the debut, THREE (3) songs from 2 Much 2 Soon, FOUR (7) new covers and SIX (1,000,003) new originals -- NOT A SINGLE ONE OF WHICH IS ANY GODDAMNED GOOD. Oh, but there I go hyperbolatin' and hyperventilatin' again. They're okay, some of them. But none of them advance the NY Dolls sound a single bit. Trust me - their third studio album, if completed, would probably have been Weird Al Yankovic's Even Worse than 2 Tough 2 Die. Just more of the same old Chuck Berry fuzzy r'n'r chooglin'. Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeng.

About the sound quality now is of which I speak: Nice thick guitar sound in attendance, but Johansen is utilizing the world's worst microphone, which converts his voice into a murky echoey sludge that muddies up the music around it whenever he sings. There's also a ton of Johansen harmonica and Sylvain electric piano for some reason. Electric piano!? Like the Stooges did when they decided to ruin their band at the end!? Must have been a running gag to ruin your guitar band with an electric piano back then. Do you realize how much ass Stevie Wonder kicked before he started bringing that shit into his music? Ah, he kicked FUCK ass, he did!

The reason it's called Red Patent Leather is pretty hilarious though. You should totally hear about this. Malcolm McDowell, fresh off of I Am Clockwork (Orange) and before founding the Sex Pistols, got his ass all up the NY Dolls with this dipshit idea of dressing 'em up in red leather and surrounding them with Communist logos and such. Dumb? AND HOW! When America went to see the New York Dolls perform, they expected men in tights, not red pants and shirts. Why not just make 'em wear a tie? How dumb would THAT be? Pretty dumb, I'LL say! Look at The Knack - they wore ties. Look at people who go to work every day.

Two pieces of stage patter stand out. One is before "Pills," when blues harpman David Johansen announces, "Tastes like somebody ate a Zagnut bar and then played this harmonica." The other is from the 1973 show. Because the band was playing in France, David promoted global unity by using a ridiculous French accent while announcing "Chatterbox": "Zee fantastique Jhanny Thun-dairs!" That's my opinion.

The rair original trax include "Red Patent Leather," which wastes an awesome descending opening riff on by-the-numbers Stonesy generica; "On Fire," which, far from the kickass Van Halen song of the same title, combines by-the-numbers Stonesy generica with a New Orleans chorus; the cutesy "Girls Girls Girls," which later wound up on a David Johansen solo album (where I STILL didn't like it); the Stonesy blues-rock "Down, Down Downtown"; the almost-great "Pirate Love," which is only ruined by its use of the EXACT SAME CHORUS that was featured one song earlier in "Down, Down Downtown"; and yet another by-the-numbers throwaway generic Stonesy choogler called "Teenage News." The rair cover trax unclude "That Girl's Fine Looking Man, Wow She's Somethin' Else," "Daddy Rolling Stone," "Ain't Got No Home" and "You Make Me Dizzy Miss Lizzy, The Way You Rock And Roll."

What's that? You hate my writing style? Well, I hate MY writing style too, asshole!!! But we can't all be J.K. Rowling now, can we? Ooo look at me, look at me - then the sorcerer took a shit and his broom went flying through the air. Ooo, then the kid with the glasses went, "Cor blimey, jolly old chap!" and the evil monster villain thing popped him in the kipper with a magical green billiard cue. PBBBBLLLLL. UP YOUR NOSE, RETARDED RICH LADY WHO WRITES LIKE A FOUR YEAR OLD.

That's my new theory. People who write children's books do so only because they are developmentally disabled. They're actually trying to write dramatic spy novels for adults, but then shit like "The Cat In The Hat" comes out because that's all they can do. Believe me, that guy never went to medical school. He's LYING.

As opposed to Dr. Hook of The Medicine Band fame, who was logging 60 hours a week as a cardiovascular surgeon when they recorded "The Cover Of The Rolling Stone." Can't you tell by his beard? All that lice is MEDICAL lice!

Reader Comments

ClayNeely@aol.com
Have you heard Hard Nights Day by the Dolls yet? That is one smoking album. I like it better than anything they have released in the past. Didnt know if you knew about it or cared to review it.

cabinetryb@bellsouth.net
Your synopsis of the Dolls sux. One of the bad things about the internet is it gives a dumbass like yourself a forum.

OSLANE@student.gvsu.edu
Somebody takes music a little too seriously, eh? I Agree with your review of Red Patent Leather. Have you heard Seven Day Weekend? It's a collection of live in the studio demo recordings but still includes non album originals and covers including "Seven Day Weekend" and "Great Big Kiss"

The double disc set Great Big Kiss has them both and it's only $16.

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All Dolled Up DVD - MVD 2005
Rating = 7

'Cuz it's a DVD -- it's dynamite! A DVD - it'll win that fight! A DVD - it's a powerload! A DVD - smell my commode!

Yes, when AC/DC sat down to record their new DVD All Dolled Up by the New York Dolls, the last thing they expected was to be completely left out of the final product, but that's exactly what happened. Brian Johnson was all cryin' and shit, with his little cap bouncing up and down on his head. Angus self-loathingly duckwalked himself in the face over and over until his nose 'twas nought but a concave bloody hole. And don't even get me STARTED about Phil Rudd!

However, once AC/DC calmed down for a moment and watched - I mean really watched - the DVD, even crotchety old Malcolm had to admit that it was pretty fascinating. Luckily our camera crew was there to capture it all....

Then we lost the tapes. But luckily one guy remembered everything that was said....

Angus Young: "This DVD is 'top o' the pops,' mate. However, due to years of playing loud rock and roll music such as that featured on our best-selling LPs Back In Black and Who Made Who, my ears are faulty and I can't hear it."

Brian Johnson: "Yes. I agree. However, because we are all very short, we cannot reach the volume knob on the TV."

Cliff Williams: "Wait. I have an idea. I'm the bass player."

(*all five members stand on each others' shoulders, allowing the person on top to reach up and turn the volume knob*)

Phil Rudd: "That ruled so much ass, I shit myself."

Malcolm Young: "Ha ha! Phil, you're so bawdy! You make this band a fun group to play in, for the past 25 years. On another topic, the first thing I noticed about this DVD is that it was culled together from 40 hours of footage by Bob Gruen and Nadya Beck."

Simon Wright: "I know. It's all in black and white, and includes live footage from the earliest shows at Kenny's Castaways and Max's Kansas City up through their tour of the West Coast, including footage from the Whisky A Go Go, the Real Don Steele Show and Rodney Bingenheimer's E Club."

Brian Johnson: "Did you just read that off the back of the box?"

Simon Wright: "Come on, I play with Dio; I can't read."

Chris Slade: "I'll be honest here. Maybe I'm just being bald again, but it kinda pisses me off that they're billing this as a 'documentary' when it's really just a bunch of old concert footage and directionless interview and behind-the-scenes snippets. I was hoping there would be a narrator kinda leading us through their ill-fated career - how they got started, why the second album was so weak, how they got involved with Malcolm McLaren and the red leather suits, and how drugs and death finally tore them apart. Instead, what I got was a bunch of old onstage footage interspersed with the idiot band members saying stupid things into the camera. Nobody even MENTIONS Buster Poindexter!"

Bon Scott: "I know, but the footage is really cool. How many of us are old enough to have had a chance to see this band during their heyday? Believe me, it somehow just wasn't the same to see the Morrissey-arranged 2-member reunion in 2005. I think this disc is worth it just for the opportunity to see the REAL New York Dolls."

John Lennon: "Also, don't forget the bonus footage of 12 complete song performances (including the otherwise unavailable 'I'm Your Hoochie Koochie Man') plus an interview with Bob Gruen by Handsome Dick Manitoba and commentary tracks by David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain and Bob Gruen."

President Richard M. Nixon: "I think it's hilarious when they show them putting on make-up backstage. Also, I'm sorry the cupcakes are so dry. 'I am not a cook!' Heh heh."

An Emperor Penguin: "I agree with Chris Slade that the lack of narrative structure is a definite disappointment. However, having been a fan since the early '70s, I wouldn't hesitate to walk 70 miles, mate with a female penguin, wait in the cold for the egg to be lain, stand hungry in the freezing winter cold for two months keeping the egg warm between my feet and my belly (plus an extra month keeping my newborn warm and safe), walk 70 miles back to the feeding ground and risk being eaten by a leopard seal, then walk 70 miles back again to my family before finally separating from them and never seeing them again, if I could find this DVD in the snow on my way back."

Tom Cruise: "The New York Dolls are like The Rolling Stones gone rogue! Heh heh! Rogue!"

Angus Young: "I know, but why are their guitars so out of tune?"

Brian Johnson: "Well, because they used a lot of drugs, little friend. Also, they probably couldn't afford very good equipment, tiny little elf man."

Malcolm Young: "Yes, my brother Angus, whom I love dearly. Brian is telling you the truth. Plus, you have to keep in mind that not every band takes their sound as seriously as we, AC/DC, do."

Mark Evans: "What's the name of the company that put out this DVD again?"

Martin Fry: "They're called MVD - They're dynamite! MVD - They'll win the fight! MVD - They're a powerload! MVD - one Cream song is "Toad"!

Dave Evans: "'Ello mate, cheerio then. Er... wot band are you in, Bob's your uncle?"

Martin Fry: "I'm in ABC - We're dynamite! ABC - We'll win the fight! ABC - We're a powerload! ABC - We sang 'Poison Arrow'-ed!"

Bon Scott: "Holy cows! I just rubbed the graveyard dirt from my eyes and noticed the deluxe 16-page photo booklet and extensive Bob Gruen Photo Gallery with Narrative!"

Brian Johnson: "I know; they really are a fantastic value. It's also neat how the back of the box has the word 'document' separated onto two lines as 'docu' and 'ment' due to a proofreader's error."

John Joh: "Hey, fuck you!"

Ronnie Montrose: "Yes, Brian. Leave John alone. We can't all be perfect like you, Mr. 'Six Octave Range.'"

Brian Johnson: "I studied vocal technique for 15 years at the Oxford School of Music; if I'm perfect (as many will argue), it's through hard work - not 'luck.'

Phil Rudd: "He's right. Also, I wear glasses now."

Angus Young: "I still wear a school uniform even though my hairline has receded down to the middle of my back."

Malcolm Young: "I know; it's a great gimmick. People love it."

Neil Young: "My gimmick is to record a bunch of shitty albums and create physically disabled children with my faulty sperm."

A Naked Man: "It's neat to see how the New York Dolls looked and moved in concert. What's with David Johansen dropping below head level at the beginning of every song, as if the rock and roll guitars are hitting him with such incredible force that they're knocking him off his feet? But don't take my word for it - ask my soup!"

Bowl of Tomato Soup: "I noticed that too! And both guitar players just look so wonderfully SLEAZY and DECADENT!"

Stephen Hawking: "Did you notice that there's 230 minutes of footage on this thing? That's a longass time!"

Yul Brynner: "That's funny that you would call that a 'long time' considering that you wrote a book called A Brief History Of Time!"

All: "Ha ha!" (laughs) "Ha ha!"

Stephen Hawking: "Don't laugh at me. I was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease in early 1963."

The Army: "I know, but you didn't lose your voice until you got a tracheotomy in 1985."

Stephen Hawking: "Yeah, that's true. Plus I'm smart as shit for a retard!"

All: "Yeah! Hurrah!"

David Johansen: "So in conclusion, I think we all really enjoyed the neat vintage footage of the New York Dolls during their creative heyday, and bigtime Dolls fans will go nuts over this amazing time capsule of one of the glam rock era's truly great bands. However, less fanatical fans will likely find it a bit disappointing that All Dolled Up isn't a true documentary in the sense of the actual definition of the word 'documentary'."

Sylvain Sylvain: "I think there's a book out about the New York Dolls though, so you can read that if you want the whole story."

John Bonham: "Is this the toilet?" (*urinates on entire room*)

Carroll O'Connor: "I once recorded an album called For Old PFARTS. Look it up! It's true! I saw it in a store yesterday."

Reader Comments

Browningub40@aol.com
ok now THAT was funny. that's the funniest shit ever. sorry to state the obvious, but it was.

robert.hellewell@atg.se
LAMF is the greatest album of all time!!!

prince55chu@hotmail.com
I'm thinking of buying this DVD becuase I liked the live footage. One thing, though, I 'd love to see Arthur "Killer" Kane playing but his dumbass girlfriend at that time tried to cut of his finger, so he was n't playing!! But in this DVD, Johnney Thunders is f**kin awesome. I think Nikki Sixx was total Thunders rip-off (not that I hate it, though!)

By the way, I saw the re-union DVD (2004 Meltdown Fes), so I knew Johanson's finished. Not only his voice, but I HATE TO SEE HIS BELLY! He just liked soooooooo much to take off his shirt and shit, but I didn't really wanna see his *wrinkled* nipples and pot belly. Sylvain looked just like Joe Pesi, but I thought he is very cool as a musician. Syl sung "Lonely Planet Boy" and that was kick-ass. And in the reharsal (included in the bonus track), Syl sung your favorite, Trash, just repeatedly shouting "Trash! pick it up!!" but that sounded really good!! He can really sing. I hope Johanson passes away next, so the next re-union album will have Syl as a singer (but it won't be re-union anymore.....)

(about a month later)

I bought this and watched this many many many many times, and realized this *is* the documentary of the NEW YORK DOLLS. I think you said somewhere in your review that you expected this to be more like rockumentary style (I'm so discouraged to find where you said it in the fabulous conversational style writing). Well, most of the information you can get from the book "Too Much Too Soon" is talked in the commentary of Sylvain, David Jo and Bob Gruen, and the rest of the stuff is talked in Bob Gruen's comment on the bonus photo gallery, and the rest is talked in the film itself by the interview with the band members. They existed so short, so the live footage here covers alsomt every major songs, plus the notorious Ped Patent Leather Tour. Oh, and the legendary Lipstick Killers film is used at the opening and the ending. It doesn't seem much, but actually this is all for the Dolls, I figured.

Shit, I forgot to say the most important thing about this DVD. Watch Human Being full performance in the bonus track. It's the first one in the list, so you wouldn't miss it. Watch Jerry Nolan going nuts on that song!!! That blew me away!!!! If he was still alive, I don't care if he's already 60 years old, I'd go find him and fuck him! Yes, I'll suck his dick!!

chrischahfer@yahoo.com
That was about the funniest thing you've ever done! (other than, you know, the two dozen other "funniest things you've ever done"). Seriously, I didn't stop laughing as I was reading it. The bowl of tomato soup and the emperor penguin were great touches.

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One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This - Roadrunner 2006
Rating = 5

In 1978 and 1979, David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain collaborated on two albums called David Johansen and In Style. Neither were released under the band moniker "New York Dolls." And why?

BECAUSE YOU'D HAVE TO BE A FUCKING RETARDED CRIPPLE PIECE OF SHIT BLIND DEAF DOUCHEBAG FUCKING ASSHOLE WITH TITS AND AIDS TO THINK THAT "DAVID JOHANSEN AND SYLVAIN SYLVAIN" EQUAL "THE NEW YORK DOLLS"!!!!!!!!!

You know what I'd like to do? I'd like to walk up to the homes of Steve Conte, Sami Yaffa, Brian Delaney and Brian Koonin, knock on the door, wait for a reply, and scream, "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING, YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT??? DO YOU HONESTLY THINK YOU ARE AN ADEQUATE REPLACEMENT FOR FUCKING JOHNNY THUNDERS, ARTHUR KANE, JERRY NOLAN AND/OR BILLY MURCIA??? BECAUSE YOU'RE FUCKING NOT, YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT!!!! IF THE SURVIVING MEMBERS OF LOVE SAID TO ME, "DUDE, ARTHUR LEE DIED. CAN YOU REPLACE HIM?," I'D FUCKING REPLY, "NO! NO, I CANNOT!!!" SAME FOR PINK FLOYD AND SYD BARRETT, LED ZEPPELIN AND JOHN BONHAM, AND THE RAMONES AND JOHNNY RAMONE, JOEY RAMONE AND DEE DEE RAMONE. YOU CAN'T REPLACE DEAD LEGENDS, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE PRICK COCK-SUCKING WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?????"

Having said that, it could be worse. It's actually not much worse than Too Much Too Soon. But be warned - David "Buster Poindexter" Johansen's voice has gotten much lower and tone-deafer over the years. It'll freak you out. But the music is a nice mix of great ballads, American rock, punk rock, a few bad Stones imitations, oen yucky country song, and '60s girl group music. Strong distorted-guitar-focused production, good drumming - the guy plays little rockin' cliched asides like Johnny Thunders woulda - it's all retro of course. It's more of a New York Dolls tribute band, really. Good energy and loud - just not that consistently interesting riff-wise. Strangely, a lot of it sounds like Soul Asylum - American midtempo harmless rock. TOO MANY MUSICAL CLICHES'S.

I'm drunk. But that's it. Soul Aslum boredom, some fast generic punkers, John Cougary things, "Lust For Life" Bo Diddley beats, pretty ballads, saxophone. But it COULD be so much worse, considering! Don't spend money on it - steal it from the Internet and you'll see what I mean about how some of hte songs are honestly really fun and/or pretty. Others are vomitaciousagle though. I mean, totally Vomitaciousagleymaniacle. I mean, you look at it and think, "Dude, this is Vomitaciousagleymaniaclebacheefaglemorastible." And the guy at the Poop Store replies, "Did you say that it's Vomitaciousagleymaniaclebacheefaglemorastiblegonnorheapudsuckinglyassfuckinglydouche?" And you say, "What's the point of this? Just to make a new album cover that looks like the ones from over 30 years ago?" Seriously - WHAT IS THE POINT??? Just to be asshooles? David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain know goddamned well that they aren't the New York Dolls. It's funny that they just replaced the dead guys, but that doesn't make the album any better. It's okay, but nobody who took part in it is at the top of their game, and the songs are just generic. Buy the first album and tell All-Music Guide, "You guys are fucking morons, especially Stephen Thomas Erlewine, who got the job because his uncle founded the site, and raves about how great Pink is."

Pink is horrible. What the fuck is WRONG with Stephen Thomas "Bearded Fat Asshole Whose Uncle Founded The Site" Erlewine?

For that matter, why are all my reviews so bitter? I don't care about any of this. Fuck you, everything!!!!

Reader Comments

prince55chu@hotmail.com
I was thinking the exactly same thing, "stealing this albun from the Internet"jusr to check it out because I just can't accept this as worse spending my hard-earned money on. As you said, Syl and Johanson are not the Dolls. And other back-up dudes are definitely not the Dolls, so this album should not have been released under the New York Dolls. As I said, my Japanese friends like this album. They say the band plays well and we don't hear this type of music anymore. BUT IT'S NOT THE DOLLS!!!!! My favorite dolls are all dead, why should I bother buying this album? I'd rather listening to the first album over and over(which I really do everyday).

(the next day)

Hi, me again. Bear with me, none of my friend is interested in the Dolls, so I have noone to talk to. I went to their official site and checked out a couple of songs from the latest album which arre...Gotta Get Away from Tommy and Dance Like A Monkey, and..... Who exactly is the target audience of these pieces of shit? 13 year-olds? Well, the original Dolls was for 13 year-olds, but... to corrupt them, right?! The PV of Dance Like A Monkey is ANIMATION!!!!! It's not rock at all and sounds like a song made for a Disney movie. Mr. Prindle, thanks for your advise to check it in the net instead of wasting money on it, now I've got the clear picture.

PS: I finally owned New York Doll the movie and All Dolled Up and I'm so happy ; ) I found Jerry Nolan was the great, kick-ass beyond awesome drummer. I was fascinated a lot of stories about the Dolls I can find in the net, such as that the Sex Pistols wrote a song about the Dolls basically saying they sucked, and Johnney Thunders wrote a song to tell them to fuck off. Or, Malcom Mclaren tried to talk Sylvain into forming the band called Sex Pistols in London, and Steve Jones' white Les Paul was originally owned by Sylvain and so on.

jonesworthy@gmail.com
I don't know...I felt pretty much the same way as you when I first got this, but its been growing on me. OK its not the Dolls, but hey, Misters Poindexter and Sylvain are entiled to one last big bang before they're too old to do it anymore. I'm starting to really like this album. "Punishing World" is a great song that would have fit right in on ITMTS, "Tommy" and "Dance Like A Monkey" are fun songs that aren't any dumber than "Bad Detective", and Monkey's a better Iggy rippoff than "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" In fact, the worst song on this album is a millionbazillion times better then anything Jet has ever done.

Gotta say though, the best pre-punk reunion album of all time would have to be The Dictators DFFD. That doesn't really count though, since the 'Tators never really went away.

prince55chu@hotmail.com
Mr. Prindle,

I finally bought this album (I went to Best Buy. didn't use amazon) becuase I read that the young, stupid Dolls sign away their royalities to their management back in the day meaning!! even if I buys their old albums, they won't get any money. I just wanted to show a little bit of appreciation to the band, that their music made me happy. What do I care, my favorite Dolls are dead, but still.... But I couldn't fuckin' stand the CD!!!! I thought I might be going to have a few songs I like or something, but it was just unbearable. I hate the flat digital sound!!!! And I respect they can play these kind of music, but it's like, FAKE! They composed songs what they are "supposed to" play as New York Dolls in 2004?!?! I listened to it for two days and I threw it to the back seat.

craig.regan@optusnet.com.au
Not fake, just the best David Johansen solo album he ever made.

You're on the money, Mark. Have a drink on me.

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Cause I Sez So - Atco 2009
Rating = 6

The New York Dolls have thrown us a curve ball! Regardless of the facts that (a) seven of the twelve songs were written solely by original Dolls Johansen and Sylvain, and (b) their original producer Todd Rundgren is back on staff, Cause I Sez So sounds about as much like a New York Dolls album as my dick sounds like Frank Sinatra! Sure, it may look exactly like a New York Dolls album, just as my dick looks exactly like Frank Sinatra, but put it on your turntable and, just like my dick, it will sound nothing like a New York Dolls album, or, in the case of my dick, Frank Sinatra!

In fact, I'll tell you what it sounds like: it sounds like they recorded one generic New York Dolls rock'n'roll choogler (the terrible title track) and then said, "You know what? Fuck this; let's play music that we actually like." As a result, it's a crazy mixed-up bag of folk-rock, country balladry, '50s nostalgia, Bruce Springsteen melodrama, sloppy electric blooze, Spanish Mariachi, '70s AOR, eastern-tinged psych rock, playful soul music, reggae and Seattle fuzz-rock -- where no two songs sound alike! And granted, not every song is an instant classic (ex. the vomitous Chicago blues/Philly soul hybrid "Nobody Got No Bizness" and staggeringly bad Clapton-style reggae rewrite of "Trash"), but it's surprising and heartening to hear this pre-categorized "goodtime Stonesy rock" band find the confidence to ignore its generic constraints and fan expectations, and just concentrate on making strong, melodic music. And half the time, they succeed with flying colons!

In the best songs, the double-guitar attack is mixed to perfection, the musical hooks nearly poke your ears out, and Johansen takes the time to craft melodic vocal lines. "Muddy Bones" could be The Byrds with David Johansen singing! "Better Than" could be John Cougar Mellencamp with David Johansen singing! "Ridiculous" could be Muddy Waters with David Johansen singing! "Temptation To Exist" could be Los Lobos with David Johansen singing! "Exorcism Of Despair" could be Mudhoney with David Johansen singing! Unfortunately, not all of the songs are up to this level of quality. "Lonely So Long" could be Chet Atkins with David Johansen singing! "My World" could be Unrest's "Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl" played at half-speed with David Johansen singing! "Drowning" pairs a haunting Eastern-tinged intertwining-guitar verse with a chorus that could be David Johansen singing! The other three have David Johansen singing! Who's that on the phone? Oh no! It's David Johansen singing!

I know what you're thinking: "Say, Mark. If this band only features one original New York Doll besides David Johansen, and this record sounds nothing like the New York Dolls apart from the presence of David Johansen, what differentiates it from - oh, I don't know - a David Johansen album?" And I'm not going to lie to you: you pose an interesting question. My answer to you is this: David Johansen didn't write the songs by himself. The other band members assisted -- especially original New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain, who helped write eight of the twelve songs.

I know what you're thinking: "Say, Mark. Am I nuts or did David Johansen have songwriting assistance on all of his solo albums -- particularly from original New York Doll Sylvain Sylvain, who co-wrote nine songs on the first three David Johansen records? Also, are any of these musicians actually committed to being New York Dolls? The other guitarist is already in The Contes, Crown Jewels and Company of Wolves; the bassist is already in Mad Juana; and both they and the drummer are constantly recording and touring with artists like Murphy's Law, Joan Jett, Jesse Malin, Peter Wolf, Billy Squier, Eric Burdon & The Animals, and pretty much any other paying job that comes along." And look, I'll be honest: it could certainly be argued that you've made a valid point here. My answer to you is this: on the cover of Cause I Sez So, it says "New York Dolls" in that old lipsticky font.

So kudos to you, The New York Dolls! It's so wonderful that all five original members of The New York Dolls were able to put aside thirty years of differences and come together to create the third and fourth albums by New York's Original The New York Dolls! So kudos to you, New York, NY's All-Original One And Only New York Dolls!

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Dancing Backward in High Heels – Savoy 2011
Rating = 4

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. This is clearly just a David Johansen solo album with a more salable band name slapped on the cover. You can’t hear the guitars AT ALL!!! Wasn’t that one of the key attributes of the New York Dolls!? The fact that you could hear the guitars? Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan, Arthur Kane and Billy Murcia would be blowing around in their urns if they heard this ass-menagerie of organ, sax, horns, strings and piano. (Not to mention Johansen’s increasingly weird and unpleasant voice.)

The album title is intentional; this is very much a backward-thinking record. Nearly every song sounds like it was written prior to The Beatles’ appearance on Ed Sullivan. And I don’t mean like Chuck Berry or some other early rocker; it sounds like third-rate girl group, doowop and ‘50s balladry. Phil Spector without the songs. Dion without the Belmonts. Buster Poindexter without the pompadour.

There is no art here; this is a cliché-riddled Vegas Nostalgia Revue. Johansen references “Murray The K” thirty years after the Ramones did the same (in the most embarrassingly nostalgic song of their career). Another track features the confusing simile “I’m so sweet like the New York Dolls.” The most modern, up-to-date track on the album sounds like Bruce Springsteen. If I weren’t so constipated, I’d literally shit myself in anger right now. Instead, I’ll literally strain until my large intestine shoots out my ass and flies across the room.

Say! That gives me a great idea for a novelty can of peanuts!

Dancing Backward in High Heels isn’t filled wall-to-wall with terrible songs. It’s just bland and pointless, and doesn’t sound a bit like the New York Dolls. But whatevs. If David Johansen wants to wallow in the turgid music of his childhood under the auspices of a band that ceased existence in 1975, fine. It’s not like the New York Dolls had more than one good album in them anyway.

Speaking of which, here are a few ideas I just came up with for future New York Dolls album titles:

Boogieing In Reverse, While Wearing Flip-Flops
Shaking A Groove Thing, But Not in the Correct Direction. And Have You Seen My Feet? These Are Docksiders!
Ignoring About Sixty Years of Musical Progression
Ah Heck! Now Sylvain Sylvain Has Died Too.

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