Record Collector (magazine) - p.844 stars out of 5
-- "[With] Johansen vibrant and in command on robust Dolls-style rockers 'Girls' and 'Funky But Chic,' while emerging a powerful balladeer in the classic New York tradition on the likes of 'Donna' and the glorious 'Frenchette'..."
Personnel: David Johansen (vocals, guitar, castanets, chimes); Dave Nelson (vocals, guitar); Frankie La Rocka (vocals, drums); Gene Leppik, Buz Verno (vocals); Huw Gower (guitar, background vocals); Johnny Rao, Thomas Trask, Joe Perry , Sylvain Sylvain (guitar); Scarlet Rivera (violin); Stan Bronstein (horns); Bobby Blain (piano, organ); Felix Cavaliere (organ); Charlie Giordano (keyboards); Tony Machine (percussion); Sarah Dash, Brett Cartwright (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: John O'Regan.
Recording information: Paradise Theater, Boston, MA (02/??/1978-02/05/1982); The Record Plant, New York, NY (02/??/1978-02/05/1982).
Director: Steven Paul.
Photographers: David Gahr; Benno Friedman.
Great Britain's venerable BGO imprint is one of the big daddies of contemporary reissues. They've been known to do entire retrospectives two albums at a time in either double- or single-CD packages. They've begun their David Johansen set with his wonderful self-titled debut album and his concert recording Live It Up, which was issued fourth. This might initially seem very strange because BGO usually issues in chronological sequence, but this was a best-of-both-worlds pairing: first, because these two recordings are well suited to one another with their rock & roll looseness; and second, the middle two albums, In Style and Here Comes the Night, are excellent as well, but they are slicker and focus on a more period-based rock & roll sound. Here, Johansen's debut sticks close to the trash and roll of his years with the New York Dolls, with tracks like "Funky But Chic," "Girls," and "Cool Metro." The latter album contains a couple of concert versions of these tunes, such as the wonderfully overdramatized "Frenchette," the street love song "Donna," and yes, "Funky But Chic." In addition, there are some terrific covers, including "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," "Build Me Up Buttercup," "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," and the Goffin & King classic "Is That What I Get for Loving You." The set is balanced with a couple of Dolls classics, and the entire thing is a riot. Add these two albums together and you have 20 tracks of pure garbage-strewn gold. ~ Thom Jurek