The David Johansen Group – Live (Lemon Recordings)


Although David Johansen is best known for fronting The New York Dolls, and his 1980s lounge-singer alter ego Buster Poindexter, his late-’70s solo work, where he split the difference between those two extremes, produced some noteworthy music too. This well-recorded live album, taken from a 1978 gig at The Bottom Line in New York, has material from Johansen’s then-current solo albums, a batch of R&B covers (including an excellent take on Wilson Pickett’s “I Found A Love”), and of course he rips through some New York Dolls classics. Johansen is in top form, as both a singer and performer – clearly he was pumped up about getting a solo career going after the premature death of The Dolls. While Johansen’s backing band (Dolls rhythm guitarist Sylvain Sylvain and four Staten Island guys) lacks some of the slash’n’burn The Dolls thrived on, they’ve got enough new wave energy to get by (think Blondie or The Attractions) and are also effective on ballads “Donna” and “It’s a Heartache”. The highlight, though, comes during the encore when Johnny Thunders walks (stumbles?) onstage for a ripping rendition of The Dolls’ “Babylon”, which, much like the rest of this disc, is a great reminder of the heady ’70s New York rock scene.

Tracklisting:

 

“Cool Metro” 4:03

“Looking for a Kiss” 3:44

“Not That Much” 3:41

“Funky But Chic” 4:26

“Donna” 4:51

“Build Me Up Buttercup” 3:42

“I’m a Lover” 3:58

“I Found a Love” 4:19

“Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” 4:24

“The Girls Don’t Come” 1:10

“Frenchette” 6:41

“Lonely Tenement” 4:31

“Girls” 4:29

“Personality Crisis” 3:48

“It’s a Heartache” 3:27

“Personality Crisis” 2:03

“Love Child” 5:08

“Babylon” 4:37

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