Johnny Thunders

After the Dolls: 1977-1987
(Cleopatra)

The title of this one's a scam, as the 19-track comp only includes the earliest and latest of Johnny Thunders' post-New York Dolls output, prior to his falling ill of leukemia, which caused complications that led to his death in '91. But it does hit the obvious sweet spots (and some of the hidden ones) of three studio albums, including a dozen remarkably consistent rave-ups, between 1977's Dee Dee Ramone collaboration "Chinese Rocks" and 1985's brilliant kiss-off "Blame It On Mom." Of course, it was the Dolls guitarist's digits that were punk rock stars, but his melting candy voice could lend pathos to anything. It comes through devastatingly on the acoustic ballad "I Only Wrote This Song for You," with words so generous and regretful, they don't sound written, but bled. The bright pop-rocker "Tie Me Up" is missing, but that oversight is redeemed by the inclusion of "Uptown to Harlem," a delirious cover of an old, Latin-ish R&B tune that makes you itch to go to NYC, now.

 
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