Dancing Backward in High Heels

The New York Dolls

(429 Records)

Producer: Jason Hill

Back in the 1970s, I watched a report on CBS’s 60 Minutes that scared the hell out of the American Midwest.  It was about punk rock.  Trying to remember, I believe it was in honor of the Sex Pistols’ infamous visit to the US.  The report dealt critically of the sex, the drugs and a little of the rock ‘n roll.  Fury, violence, blood, terror – all coming to a venue near you, America!

Here lies the problem: How can a legendary, hard rock band – who were actually one of the influences of those that report was about – live up to an almost 40-year-old mythic reputation of debauchery and mayhem that resembles something closer in reality to GG Allin?

The solution is simple if you’re the New York Dolls: Don’t care about it, and just make great music.  That’s what they’ve done with Dancing Backward in High Heels, their fifth studio album and third since reforming in 2004.  Completing the album’s line-up which includes original members guitarist Sylvain Sylvain and the still eyebrow pencil thin vocalist David Johansen, we have guitarist Frank Infante (Blondie), bassist/producer Jason Hill and drummer Brian Delaney.

Raw, pure and displaying many years of weatherworn experience, the New York Dolls deliver up more inspiration with each influence of theirs they share.  Johansen’s twenty-five second rant (“Fabulous Rant”) right before “I’m So Fabulous” expresses the attitude of their purpose in no uncertain terms.  I listened to the rant five times in a row before proceeding, thinking, There he is!  That’s why we still need David and the Dolls!

Bright, fresh, sardonic, and not a touch of gray here, Dancing Backward in High Heels by the New York Dolls is wonderful music at its most enduring best!  Youngsters, listen up and pay attention!


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