New York Dolls ‘Dancing Backward in High Heels’ Mar 20, 2011 11:50:27 GMT -5
Post by on Mar 20, 2011 11:50:27 GMT -5
New York Dolls ‘Dancing Backward in High Heels’
Label: 429 Records
Review by Bucky
The day starts out normal like any other day as I reach for a CD & place it in my player & sit back on the couch. I close my eyes for a second or two & when I reopen my eyes things have changed. I can’t believe my eyes as the whole world is in Black & White!! I notice our TV has a dial & I have to get up to change channels by turning the dial. That’s not all…we only get 3 channels (I have my choice: Gunsmoke, Gilligans Island, or Mr. Ed)!!!! The music from the disc I put in is filling the room with a familiar 1960’s sound & style but there is no CD or CD player… the sound is coming from a 33 rpm vinyl record album spinning on a Hi Fi record changer stereo!
Many bands over the years including the NY Dolls have made albums where it’s easy to figure out where their influences have come from. It’s obvious on those first 2 NY Dolls albums from the 70’s that behind the lipstick, powder, & paint mixed with New York Street trash raunch & roll was a band heavy influenced by blues, doo-wop,60’s soul, & 60’s girl groups. They covered songs by Bo Diddley, the Cadets, Sonnyboy Williamson, Archie Bell & the Drells, & the Shangri La’s & made them their own mixed with their glam style & loud screaming guitars.
The NY Dolls have returned in 2011 with their 3rd studio album (‘Dancing Backward in High Heels’) since reforming in 2004 with the 3 surviving members (although bassist Arthur “Killer” Kane passed away shortly after that 2004 reunion date). Singer David Johansen & guitarist Sylvain Sylvain are the 2 remaining NY Dolls & this time around their band features drummer Brian Delaney (who’s been a Doll since 2005), bassist Jason Hill, & former Blondie guitarist Frank Infante (currently for their tour guitarist Earl Slick has replaced Infante).
Dancing Backward in High Heels has the band stepping back into the 1960’s & I mean stepping back into the 60’s! There is no Lipstick, Powder, & Paint or revved up raunchy guitars here. This album sounds as if it was released back in the 60’s paying homage to the girl groups, soul, & even doo-wop groups. The opening track “I’m a Fool For You Baby” has a typical 60’s beat & backing vocals orchestrated by the sound of a Farfisa organ played by Sylvain Sylvain. “Streetcake” is just an all around “feel good” 60’s style song that makes reference to Mitch Ryder & Marie Antoinette. “I’m So Fabulous” still has a 60’s feel to it but also has a sound & style which could fit onto any NY Dolls album especially with the way David Jo’s harmonica playing blends with Syl’s guitar.”Talk to me Baby” has a definite 60’s girl group feel with its style (complete with Hand claps) & backing vocals. “Kids Like You” is a nice sounding ballad that starts out sounding musically as Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” did featuring Syl once again on the Farfisa organ which is complimented by some beautiful mellow sounding slide guitar by Frank Infante. Syl counts off “Uh 1 uh 2 uh 1234!!!” in typical Sylvain Sylvain fashion & the band bursts into “Round & Round She Goes” featuring Brian Delaney pounding out a jumpy backbeat rhythm mixed with the sound of Syl playing a Vox organ & some great rocking sax by Jamie Toms which will have you jitterbugging at the local malt shop.
“You Don’t Have to Cry” is another ballad which shows hints of Donovan’s “Jennifer Juniper”. Up next is the only cover song on the album “I Sold My Soul to the Junkman” which was a hit for the Blue Belles (featuring Patti Labelle) in 1962 (It was originally titled (I Sold my Heart to the Junkman”). “Baby Tell Me What I’m On” starts out with an almost Gene Krupa style drum beat before turning into a cool sounding western ballad. The next tune “Funky but Chic” is a throwback to David Johansen’s solo career & appeared on David Jo’s s/t debut from 1978. The tune had always been a favorite of mine & is my favorite tune from the new album. “Funky But Chic” is a riot with it’s disco beat & funky sound & it’s a great tune to sing along with & have fun. The album’s closing track is “End of Summer” is another fun mellow song that has a bit of a reggae beat & it’s a great way to close out the album. However ITunes has a bonus track which is titled “Dancing Backward in High Heels” & it’s cool 60’s style instrumental.
Overall, I think it’s a fantastic album but if you’re expecting loud trashy guitars with a rock & roll/punk edge you aren’t going to get it here but I do highly recommend the album as it does give you a better look at where The Dolls come from musically.