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Fit To Be Tied: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (Bonus Enhanced Footage)

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  • As “Fit To Be Tied” proves clearly, Joan Jett isamong the most quietly influential rockers, male or female, of thelast 20 years. What surprises is how, despite looking and dressing the punk part, how traditional her rock and roll was. She grabbed equally from Darlene Love, the Beach Boys, The Who, and Iggy Pop (all are thanked in the liner notes, along with Charles Bronson and the Baltimore Orioles) and created, with collaborator Kenny Laguna, a sound identitified only with her. Jett had song sense to spare. Her vocal on “Crimson and Clover” (she doesn’t change the gender protagonist) is true to Tommy James’ original but adds excitement and anticipation, paying off in the grinding rock that follows. Her versions of Sly Stone’s “Everyday People” and Wind’s obscure 1969 hit “Make Believe” add some guitar sting to what were pure pop hits. Her version of “Cherry Bomb,” originally done with her band the Runaways, actually outslaps the original. The only trouble with her redoing the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme is that it’s too short. Speaking of originals, her chart anthems are here too: “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” 1982’s #1 “I Love Rock n’ Roll,” the acidic, excellent “Fake Friends,” even Bruce Springsteen’s “Light Of Day” (Scott Litt’s production makes that one of the less effective tracks.) “Fit To Be Tied” is essential listening from a rock and roll survivor who loves,lives and breathes the music. (It can also be interesting viewing; its an enhanced CD that shows a Jett picture collage and links to her Web site.)

    Posted on January 8, 2010