Johnny Thunders – Hurt Me Re-Release (EasyAction 2CD set)
When first released in 1983 Hurt Me highlighted a welcome second side to Johnny Thunders. Entirely accoustic and with a mixture of back catalogue and cover versions here was the Thunders of You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory and It’s Not Enough (both reworked here). Hurt Me predated the MTV Unplugged craze and so felt fresh and alive. The songwriting isn’t 100% – Sad Vacation will always be maudlin and tuneless – but several previously obscure songs such as Diary Of A Lover and Too Much Too Soon are rehabilitated and some of the covers are choice, especially Stones obscurity I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys, done as a duet with the lush-sounding Charlotte. Easy Action boost the original LP by adding a couple of B-sides but record them from scratchy vinyl (even my copy is quieter).
The CD is housed in a newly-designed slip case containing some illuminating sleeve notes from Kris Needs and a second CD from the LP launch gig at Dingwalls on December 6th 1983. The tape sounds as though it was recorded in the midst of a boisterous crowd so sound quality is only reasonable. Thunders spends a lot of time demanding more reverb but still manages to perform most of the Hurt Me LP before retreating to the safety of a string of Stones covers including Play With Fire, As Tears Go By and a rare snippet of Wild Horses. Like many a Thunders acoustic gig the lack of a backing group appears to be an economy drive (more money for dope) rather than an artistic statement. His close proximity to the crowd leaves Thunders sounding uncertain and ill at ease so that the CD really only works as a historical document.
However the strength of the material and the performances on the studio disc plus a cleaner remastered sound makes this a recommended purchase for anyone who has already heard So Alone and LAMF and wishes to delve further into Thunders’ erratic recorded legacy.