New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon 12"

Mercury Records


The New York Dolls didn't look punk. And when they were busy inventing the American version of what would eventually get called punk, it really didn't have a name. Despite being championed by critics from coast to coast, the Dolls had more of a critical than commercial impact. Too Much Too Soon is the band's second album, produced by Shadow Morton, who had the distinction of having worked with both the Shangri-Las and Vanilla Fudge. In some ways, it could be said that this album splits the difference between those two bands, plenty heavy, but with a melodic undercurrent. The Dolls were not only talented writers, they were skilled musical interpreters, covering not only the Cadets' 1956 hit "Stranded In The Jungle," but Gamble & Huff's more contemporary "(There's Gonna Be A) Showdown," which had been a hit for Archie Bell& The Drells in 1968. At thirty years' remove, the album sounds a lot less radical than it did in 1974, but with the thigh-high boots and platform heels, the lipstick, the poodle-on-steroids hair, the snarling vocals, and the slashing guitars, they didn't just push the envelope; the Dolls threw the envelope in a wood chipper and peed on the shreds. This album has just plain been out of print too long. Happy to fax that up for you. Incidentally, a reformed version of the band (only 40% of the lineup on Too Much Too Soon is alive today, and neither of them are original Dolls) is out on tour and is planning a new album, so you may get to hear David Johansen (a/k/a Buster Pointdexter) perform some of these songs live in the not-too-distant future.