LIPSTICK, POWDER AND PAINT! THE NEW YORK DOLLS HEARD THEM HERE FIRST.

LIPSTICK, POWDER AND PAINT! THE NEW YORK DOLLS HEARD THEM HERE FIRST.

It’s no exaggeration to say, that the New York Dolls have been one of the most influential and innovative bands in music history. What people don’t realize, is that the original and classic lineup, only released two albums. They were a tantalizing glimpse of a group whose music had a huge and long-lasting effect on music. Forty-two years later, the New York Dolls are still cited by new bands as an inspiration. None of these bands have the same effect as the New York Dolls did. That’s why Ace Records have released a compilation of music that inspired the New York Dolls. Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First which I’ll tell you about was released by Ace Records recently.

Founded in 1971, the original lineup of the New York Dolls included vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders and Rick Rivets, bassist Arthur Kane and drummer Billy Murcia. A year later, came the first of countless changes in the New York Dolls’ lineup. Out went Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia. Their replacements were drummer Jerry Nolan and Sylvain Sylvain a pianist and guitarist. This would be the lineup the played on their debut album.

Released in 1973 on Mercury, New York Dolls divided opinion. Some critics hailed New York Dolls as a stonewall classic, others deemed it a parody of a rock album. It certainly took the world by storm, spawning a million imitators. Strangely, on its release, sales of New York Dolls were disappointing. It only reached numbeer 167 in the US Billboard 200. Mercury had hoped that the album would be one of their big sellers of 1973. It certainly captured the attention of critics and music lovers, it was voted both the best and worst album of 1973. It seems that New York Dolls was an enigmatic album. Forty years later, history has been rewritten.

Nowadays, New York Dolls is now perceived as a classic album. The New York Dolls fusion of glam rock, proto-punk and hard rock is perceived as Innovative and ahead of the musical curve. The New York Dolls are credited as one of the founding fathers of punk rock. Since then, many groups have imitated the New York Dolls swaggering brand of good time music. Nobody comes close. No ifs, no buts. Having released a career defining album, the New York Dolls never bettered. If ever there’s a case of a band peaking to soon, this was it.  

A year after the release of New York Dolls, the band headed back into the studio. Todd Rungren was replaced as producer by Shadow Morton. Unlike their debut album, Too Much Too Soon comprised mostly cover versions. On its release critics hailed the addition of Shadow Morton. He they thought, had harnessed the raw power and energy of the Dolls and added a sheen of refinement. With backing vocals and a myriad of sound effects featuring on Too Much Too Soon, it wasn’t a commercial success. It stalled at number 167 in the US Billboard 200. Worse was to come.

The New York Dolls headed out on a tour. It was an unmitigated disaster. By now, the band were constantly arguing. Drug and alcohol use was rife on the tour. Performances varied. One night the Dolls were on their game, the next the concert descended into a chaotic shambles. That was part of the charm of the band. It was like a rock ‘n’ circus, with the band unravelling before the audience’s eyes. Mercury watched all this unfold. They felt the band had no future, and dropped them. Then in 1975, the band split. This was only temporary.

Soon, the band were back together and playing some of the best shows of their career. Then later in 1975, Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan left the band. Their replacements were drummer Tony Machine and keyboardist Chris Robinson. This was just the latest change in lineup. It proved to be one of the most successful lineups of the band. They played some of their best concerts and were hailed as one of the hottest bands of the mid-seventies. Nothing lasted long as far as the New York Dolls were concerned. Later, replacement keyboardist Chris Robinson was replaced by Bobbie Blaine, who was a member of the band when they split-up in 1977. 

Although the New York Dolls would reform, and even release three studio albums between 2008 and 2011, the lineup that featured on their first two albums never ever recorded again. That’s why they’ve taken on a mythical status within music. The lineup of vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders, bassist Arthur Kane, drummer Jerry Nolan and Sylvain Sylvain a pianist and guitarist only ever recorded two albums, New York Dolls and the prophetically titled Too Much Too Soon. They’ll forever be remember as the swaggering gunslingers who released two groundbreaking albums. Some of the music that inspired the New York Dolls features on Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First.

Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First is a twenty-four track compilation that’s best described as eclectic. There’s everything from rock ‘n’ roll, blues, doo wop, soul and pop. Among the artists on Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them First are Bo Diddley, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Wilson Pickett, The Kinks, Erma Franklin and Big Joe Turner. Each of these twenty-four tracks, which I’ll pick the highlights of, were recorded by the New York Dolls. 

My first choice from Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First is Bo Diddley’s Pills. This is fitting, as both Bo Diddley and the New York Dolls are musical innovators. Pills which featured on the New York Dolls eponymous debut album, was recorded by Bo in May 1961. One of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll, Bo’s vocal veers between sassy, to surly and heartbroken. 

From the opening bars of Otis Redding’s Don’t Mess With Cupid, Otis’ vocal oozes emotion. This was the B-side to his 1966 single My Lovers Prayer, and featured on The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul-Complete and Unbelievable. It was a favorite o fthe New York Dolls and can be found on New York Dolls’ Evil Dolls (New York Tapes 72-73). The arrangement to Otis’ version has made in Memphis written all over it. From the growling horns to Al Jackson Jr’s drums, you’re transported back nearly fifty years, to when Otis Redding was King of soul.

Classic is an overused word. Not in the case of Muddy Waters’ I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man. From Muddy’s earliest days, this was a staple of his sets. It featured on his 1960 album Live At Newport, which inspired a generation of British musicians. The Rolling Stones, The Animals and Eric Clapton all cite Muddy Waters as one of their inspirations. He also inspired the New York Dolls. I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man became a staple of their sets, and can be heard on various live albums, including Paris Is Burning. Good as their version is, Muddy’s is the definitive version.

Eddie Cochran is one of the most influential musicians in musical history. That’s remarkable, considering he died when he was just twenty-two. One of the songs that he’s synonymous with is Something Else. It’s been covered by numerous artists. Among them are The Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls who covered Something Else on 1084s Red Patent Leather. No-one comes close to Eddie. Released in 1959 on Liberty, it’s two minutes of pop perfection. Two minutes of rebellious, reactionary music, it’s a song that spawned a thousand sneers.

Choosing my favorite Four Tops song isn’t easy. Reach Out I’ll Be There is one of them. Released in 1966, on Motown, it was the title-track to their 1967 album. Laden with emotion, their needy pleas are breathtakingly beautiful and deeply soulful. Later, the New York Dolls and then David Johansen released covers of what is, one of The Four Top’s finest and most soulful moments.

Chuck Berry’s Too Much Monkey Business is delicious reminder of one of a legend of rock ‘n’ roll in his prime. Released as a single in 1958, it features on Chuck’s debut album After School Session. Searing guitar licks accompany his languid, sometimes surly vocal. Here R&B and rock ‘n’ roll meet head on. An explosion of energy, music like this was a game-changer. It shocked a generation and dared another generation to rebel. With that, the teenager was invented. Fifty-five years later, Too Much Monkey Business is truly, a timeless classic.

By 1970, commercial success and Wilson Pickett weren’t on speaking terms. The last few years hadn’t been kind to Wilson. So, as a new decade dawned, Atlantic sent him to Philly, where Gamble and Huff would try to rejuvenate his career. Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia rejuvenated Wilson’s ailing career. A huge improvement on his previous albums, the album featured International Playboy. With M.F.S.B. in the tightest of grooves, a poppy slice of soul which reached number thirty in the US R&B Charts unfolds.

Shadow Morton who produced the New York Dolls sophomore album Too Much Too Soon, produced The Shangri-Las. Out In The Streets. Released in 1976 on Red Bird, it featured on their sophomore album Shangri-Las-65? With haunting lyrics, like he don’t hang around with the gang no more, he don’t smile like he used to…he’s changed…something’s missing” it’s a poignant song that poses questions, but doesn’t answer them. Instead, you supply an ending to this kitchen sink drama.

Quite simply, Erma Franklin’s version of Piece Of My Heart is bristling with emotion and sensuality. It was written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns. Released in 1967 on Shout, this is a true hidden soulful gem. Incredibly, it only reached number sixty-two in the US Billboard 100 and the top ten in the US R&B Charts. Often covered, Erma’s version of this soul classic has never been bettered.

Closing Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First is Joe Turner’s Closing Lipstick, Powder and Paint. Released on Atlantic in 1966, it was the B-side to Rock A While. Why Lipstick, Powder and Paint wasn’t the single, beggars belief. A hook-laden fusion of jump blues tinged with R&B and rock ‘n’ roll, it’s a song guaranteed to get any party started.

So, how would I describe Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First? It’s best described as a compellingly eclectic compilation. I’d go as far as say that Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First is refreshingly eclectic compilation of tracks that inspired the New York Dolls. Classics and hidden gems sit side-by-side. There’s contributions from musical legends, including some leftfield choices. After all, would you have chosen Elvis’ Crawfish or Wilson Pickett’s International Playboy? Or how about Bo Diddley’s Pills or The Kinks’ Alcohol? Compilers Ian Johnston and Mick Patrick do, and it works. Too often compilers are scared to take a chance. Ian and Mick do, and pull it off, producing Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First, a compilation you’ll never tire of.

Then there’s familiar favorites from Otis Redding, Eddie Cochran, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Erma Franklin. Although they’re tracks we’ve heard before, you never tire of music this good. Sometimes, compilers overlook tracks like The Four Tops’ Reach Out I’ll be There and Eddie Cochran’s Something Else. The reason they do this is to be contrary. Not here. Ian and Mick realize that all that matters is the quality of the music. If it’s good, it’s included on Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First. From the opening bars of Gary US Bonds’ Seven Day Weekend, right through to Big Joe Turner’s Lipstick, Powder and Paint, one great track follows another. Not once do you reach for your remote control. No. Every track on Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First is a winner and influenced the New York Dolls.

Forty years after the release of their debut album, the New York Dolls are still seen as one of the most innovative and influential bands of the seventies. They released two classic albums in the space of two years. Then the New York Dolls split for the first time in 1975. By 1977, the New York Dolls were history. The original and greatest lineup of the New York Dolls recorded just two albums in two years. Rather than fade away like the Rolling Stones or The Who, the New York Dolls burnt out. They split up amidst acrimonious circumstances. Arguments, alcohol and drug abuse saw the New York Dolls scattered to the wind. That’s why when anyone mentions the New York Dolls, they’ll forever be remembered as the five swaggering gunslingers that feature on the cover of their debut album New York Dolls and Lipstick, Powder and Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First. Standout Tracks: Muddy Waters I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man, Eddie Cochran Something Else, The Shangri-Las Out In The Streets and Joe Turner’s Closing Lipstick, Powder and Paint.

LIPSTICK, POWDER AND PAINT! THE NEW YORK DOLLS HEARD THEM HERE FIRST.

Lipstick, Powder & Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First

 Lipstick, Powder & Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First
Lipstick, Powder & Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First
Lipstick, Powder & Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First
Lipstick, Powder & Paint! The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First

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