Easy Action LP Reviews by Colin Bryce


Johnny Thunders

In Cold Blood (Easy Action – 2 Disc Set)

I miss Johnny Thunders. I would have loved to have seen him beat it all. I think we all would have liked to have seen that. I imagine those moments when he – and the Heartbreakers, and the Dolls – were at the top of their game. Those gigs when he felt good, was confident and was interacting in positive ways with band mates, family and friends. We know there were times like those. But when it wasn’t like that it was, by all accounts, a challenge to be in the orbit of Mr. Thunders. Things go haywire. Things break for a seemingly endless variety of reasons. Directions change. Necessities change. Addresses change, but eventually something happens. Nothing short of miraculous I suppose.

Easy Action’s new Johnny Thunders double-disc release In Cold Blood is a collection of varying quality sessions with noted producer Jimmy Miller and other regular JT cohorts, with the second disc a live gig at London’s Marquee Club recorded in June 1982.

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The Jimmy Miller session’s material is both acoustic and electric work. The acoustic bits sometimes float and seem unfinished or forced. The electric work while always loud also varies from inspired to, uh, not so much. Fair dues, he was seldom in “great” shape at this point in time.

On disc two we find Mr. Thunders in league with arguably the greatest drummer ever to wear Cuban heels, the late Jerry Nolan. London scenesters and otherwise notable and downright groovy rock’n’roll cool cats (the late, much lauded guitarist) Steve New, and bassist Tony James who fill in and do duty live at this Marquee Club date in June 1982. Little or no rehearsal for the new guys as usual. They needn’t have worried though coz it’s basically the soundman who ruins this gig. I’m guessing some communication issues between Mr. T and the sound person. I’m guessing of course, but when John asks for more echo I think he really meant reverb (which is something an old school guy would more than likely want on his vocal) as opposed to the delay type effect known as echo. It ends up sounding like the Heartbreakers being dubbed by Lee Perry.

Surely to god someone was half ways sober and could have toned it down at least. No rock’n’roll guy ever wanted that kinda “reverb” even if actually got reverb. Whaddya gonna do? You’re gonna listen to it anyway. Warts and all. It is a bit messy of course. I had a challenge the first few attempts to make it through this disc I will admit. It felt like a long night for the crowd. Available time was part of the problem coz you really wanna kind of immerse yourself with Mr. Thunders on recordings like this. It ain’t casual. Claimed or otherwise. Eventually I made it through. Sadly not everybody did. BUY HERE!


The Hydromatics

Powerglide High Octane (Easy Action – Double CD)

The Hydromatics were easily one of the best hard rocking, high-energy bands of the last 30 years.

Fronted by Ann Arbor, Michigan’s finest upstanding rock and roll catalyst, songwriter and vocalist, Scott Morgan, the Hydromatics tone and attitude is pure sonic literature. Scott Morgan wrote the book on this stuff over his multi-decade career of trying to make the rent and do a record. The fact’s are here. Even by the time he was making these recordings and he was in his early 50s, he was still kicking ass and takin’ names.

The original edition of the mighty s/t Powerglide was out for but a brief while. If you blinked? Oh yeah, gone buddy. Thankfully this reissue includes the album, five bonus tracks and a second CD of rehearsals with the band rehearsing and sounding fantastic and ready to ball. These recordings are what had been crowned “The Perry Como” tape. You see the session was the night of his passing. Scott mentions it here on the recording.

The actual Powerglide album has a bit more time for groove than the previous release Parts Unknown. But it has also has some of the same seriously hard time rock and roll numbers and includes a couple of largely under-exposed Sonics Rendezvous Band classics re-told. The hard hitting drums of newcomer and fellow Michigander Andy Frost with Theo Brouwer on bass and Tony Slug on both lead and rhythm guitars make the noise alongside Scott’s own ripping guitar and vocals to do the songs proud.

Big, bold, righteous, and rigorous. Or if need be, smooth, rumbling and soulful. Get your grease on HERE!

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Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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