Yes, to celebrate the monumental 40th birthday release that is L.A.M.F. by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, the only living member has been persuaded to take part in this all-star live version of the album being released to coincide with said anniversary.
Also out for the same birthday is a new mix of the Lost '77 mixes of the album (see separate W&H review) and an amazing biography of original drummer Jerry Nolan, Stranded In The Jungle both of which I'd recommend over this album which is really aimed strictly as the super hard core fans of the band.
While musically this album is good to great, vocally it's often piss poor no matter who the guest vocalists are. Pick anyone from the band members plus Jesse Malin, Lisa Colby and Cheetah Chrome - almost no one does the songs justice at the mic.
Born To Lose sounds like a bad karaoke vocal over a great backing band it's just not great. It might have been great at the gig but compared to any version of the original album it's miles off and the guy singing sounds just off throughout.
Baby Talk again is cool as can be musically - great guitars and ripping drums - but oh my word the singer is out of tune, off key and just not up to the job. All By Myself improves things as I think either Cheetah or Walter sings some of it, so that at least lifts it above the first two songs.
We then sink into the mire on a really shocking version of I Wanna Be Loved By You: a song I must own over 50 versions of and this is easily in the bottom 5 or 6 for the vocals. Once again, the music is good but not as great as it should be. Please get that singer, who I guess is Jesse Malin, away from the microphone. Sorry my review copy doesn't come with specific information as to who sings what.
It's Not Enough is again played damn near perfectly but is once again pretty much ruined by the half arsed vocals that don't even sound pissed out of their heads or stoned beyond belief. Either of those might get the singer a free pass, but as it stands this is just mediocre.
Chinese Rocks is the first time we hear any talking between songs. I assume all the banter has been edited out and on this reasonably good version it sounds like everyone is joining in on vocals in the chorus only they are not all in time or harmonising. Again for a song of which I possess loads and loads of versions of this would not be one I'd go to as an example of how to really deliver it.
Cheetah thankfully sings Get Off The Phone and while his vocals aren't spot on, they are better than Jesse's vocals and damn, it has a great guitar solo before the gang start on the backing vocals. Pirate Love begins with Jesse Malin being brought back to the microphone and to be honest If I wasn't listening for a review I'd hit the fast forward button for the next song as his vocals aren't up to the job. Ironically, the band are getting looser as you'd expect them to, so it kind of sounds all over the place.
One Track Mind is sung with what sounds like everyone they can get on a microphone for the chorus and has some stunning guitar that ensures it's worth hearing. Lisa Colby sings I Love You and finally they have a vocalist up to the task. She sounds great even if suddenly the band sound a bit thinner, so it's still a real highlight. If only they'd let her sing the whole album this would have been a treat.
Going Steady returns to ropey vocals and an in the pocket band who sound as tight as you'd want for this material with some proper nifty guitar work. Let Go keeps the pace up and if you could just strip out the singing, this would be great.
Can't Keep MY Eyes On You inevitably misses the insouciance the vocals crave which is a shame as it ruins this classic and as always musically this sounds fine. A little slack in places, perhaps, but damn those guitars are kicking. By the time they break it down towards the end for an extended instrumental I'm hoping it's to accompany them leaving the stage, but they come back in to finish the song off in its normal fashion.
The album then finishes with the perfect sing along song, Do You Love Me, which commences a nice slow opening before they rampage through it with just about the best backing vocals of the album, so at least they seem to have left the best for last.
If you were at the show then this is a good souvenir and if you're an absolute die-hard Heartbreakers fan then this is worth getting. But this is not going to convert anyone who doesn't already love L.A.M.F. Also I can't imagine anyone needing to watch the DVD more than once.
So if you do need a copy you can find it at Jungle Records online If you'd prefer a really great live version of the album I'd recommend L.A.M.F. Live at the village Gate 1977 which came out in 2015.