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.
For a more detailed history of the L.A.M.F.
JOHNNY THUNDERS AND THE HEARTBREAKERS
L.A.M.F.: The Lost '77 Mixes (2002)
- Born Too Loose (aka "Born to Lose")
- Baby Talk
- All By Myself (Walter Lure/Jerry Nolan)
- I Wanna Be Loved
- It's Not Enough
- Chinese Rocks (Dee Dee Ramone/Richard Hell)
- Get Off The Phone (Walter Lure/Jerry Nolan)
- Pirate Love
- One Track Mind (Walter Lure/Jerry Nolan)
- I Love You
- Goin' Steady
- Let Go (Johnny Thunders/Jerry Nolan)
- Can't Keep My Eyes On You (Walter Lure/Jerry Nolan)
- Do You Love Me? (Berry Gordy, Jr.)
Disc two: a collection of demos, outtakes, and alternate mixes.
- Born To Lose
- Chinese Rocks
- Let Go
- Tracks 1-3 are from the Essex Studios demo sessions, February 20-22, 1977.
- Goin' Steady (backing track)
- Baby Talk (backing track)
- Pirate Love (backing track)
- Born To Lose (backing track)
- Chinese Rocks (backing track)
- Do You Love Me?
- Tracks 4-9 are outtakes from the Ramport Studio sessions, with studio chatter and false starts indexed as countdown time on the CD.
- Can't Keep My Eyes On You
- Track 10 is a single B-side, recorded live at London's Speakeasy in early 1977.
- Get Off The Phone (alternate mix)
- Mixed at Olympic Studio, May 16, 1977
- All By Myself (alternate mix)
- Mixed at Ramport Studio, date unknown, 1977
- It's Not Enough (alternate mix)
- Mixed at Ramport Studio, June 1, 1977
- One Track Mind (alternate mix)
- Mixed at Ramport Studio, June 27, 1977
- Too Much Junkie Business (Walter Lure/Johnny Thunders)
- London Boys (Johnny Thunders/Walter Lure/Billy Rath)
- Tracks 15-16 are demos done for EMI Records at Riverside Studio, London, December 13, 1977. These two tracks were produced by Mike Thorne.
THE HEARTBREAKERS- L.A.M.F. The Lost '77 Mixes (disc 2). zip