Sunday, November 06, 2011

Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers- Live At Max's Kansas City

The Heartbreakers only recorded one official studio album, so most of their releases were live performances released both officially and through many bootlegs. Many of these live albums suffered from either poor sound quality or inconsistent and incoherent performances from Johnny and his band. These live recordings are lasting documents of the career of Johnny Thunders (he also recorded a couple of studio solo albums), both the good, bad and the ugly. There were also some sweet gems that showcased what a great band they were live or at least give you a glimpse of what a interesting and entertaining performer he was when he wasn't all drugged-up. Among the better sounding live albums I own is D.T.K. Live At the Speakeasy, Live At the Lyceum Ballroom and Live At Max's Kansas City.

The Live At Max's Kansas City album was the first Johnny Thunders And the Heartbreakers I ever heard which immediately led me to become a Johnny enthusiast. If you listen to just one Johnny Thunders record, I strongly recommend Live At Max's because it possesses all the good reasons that I love about the band. It captures the band at their sloppiest best with some excellent guitar-play and amusing on-stage banter between Thunders and Walter Lure. This recording captures the band in fine form and they deliver a powerful and coherent set of great rock music far exceeding the performances of their debut studio album (L.A.M.F.), as the sound quality is amazing.

The album was recorded in 1978 at a series of reunion shows at Max's Kansas City with Johnny Thunders, Walter Lure (vocals, guitar), Billy Rath (bass) and Ty Styx, sitting in for original drummer, Jerry Nolan who at this point hadn't returned to the band. The version of the album that I have posted is the expanded reissue that includes additional tracks from a live recording a year later (with Jerry Nolan). These tracks were intended for a second live recording from Max's that was taken from a 3 night stand that resulted in only 5 usable tracks (4 of these tracks on the reissue) recorded on the third night. Apparently, Thunders suddenly left the stage after the first 5 songs and never returned that night...strange, but true, which is unfortunate because the recording both in sound quality and performance up to that point was quite good. Apart from the bonus tracks, this reissue is a much improvement as it sounds much fresher and crisper than the original vinyl. Another unappreciated classic...if you're a fan of Johnny Thunders and/or The Heartbreakers, this is "must-hear"!!

Live At Max's Kansas City (1979)
  1. (Intro)
  2. Milk Me
  3. Chinese Rocks
  4. Get Off the Phone
  5. London
  6. Take a Chance
  7. One Track Mind
  8. All By Myself
  9. Let Go
  10. I Love You
  11. Can't Keep My Eyes on You
  12. I Wanna Be Love
  13. Do You Love Me?
  14. Pirate Love
  15. Too Much Junkie Business
  16. Don't Mess with Cupid
  17. So Alone


Dave said...

This is an excellent live recording of Thunders with The Hearbreakers. I really love the version of Don't Mess With Cupid and So Alone.


bob said...

nice thank you

Certifiablockhead said...

yes, this's Heartbreakers in top form, let's Rock!!

HeySuchAndSuch said...

Love JT and have only heard this on vinyl, so didn't even know there was a version with 5 extra!

Also pretty encouraged to see that the link is still good 4 years later....impressive!

Really like the site & will be back. Keep up the good work!!

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