So Alone – Johnny Thunders re-release
Remarquable Records RMQ1
Double Vinyl LP
Pedro and the gang at Remarquable have really pulled out the stops on their latest release. The pressing itself is on really thick vinyl, with a limited number pressed in black/yellow/red splatter.
First disc is a straight repress of the titular ten track LP. Originally released by Real in 1978 this is the first repress from the original master tapes. LP number two tidies up all the other extant tracks from the same sessions – Dead or Alive, Hurtin’, You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory (single version), The Wizard and So Alone (a take allegedly curtailed by Jonny falling off his chair). Sound quality is stunning throughout.
Within a straight reproduction of the original LP sleeve (slightly more yellow?) lurks a 16 page brochure which mimics the original inner printed bag and reproduces contemporary promo material and press releases. It also includes a short piece written by long-time Thunders supporter Nick Kent for Warners in-house mag What’s Happening in which he compares the opening Pipeline to Kick Out The Jams. It would have been good to have Nick’s NME LP review from around this time, but now we’re nitpicking.
And the music? Peerless. The most cohesive LP that Thunders ever made, it’s up there with the first two Dolls LPs and the remastered Heartbreakers LAMF as a career highspot. The title is ironic, as this intoxicating mix of raunch and romance is played by a series of guests (including Phil Lynott, Steve Marriott, Peter Perrett and Mike Kellie) who never outstay their welcome. Making it 75% of the Only Ones was John Perry who played bass on early takes of …Memory but was excluded from the finished version for being too ornate. Full sleeve credits reveal the band on Marc Bolan’s The Wizard to include legendary scenemeister BP ‘ Beep’ Fallon and Traffic’s Chris Wood. It is difficult to imagine what these three have in common, beyond the obvious. Barrie Masters (of Eddie and the Hot Rods) now receives a vocal credit for Downtown.
So stick on Chatterbox, crank up the volume and be amazed by the almost total lack of commercial success and recognition received by So Alone at the time of release. Well done Remarquable for shining a light on this record, a towering achievement and a template for many, lesser talents that followed.