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Topic: The Dirty Strangers??? Return to archive
October 16th, 2005 04:07 PM
Vinyl kills I read that Keef & Ronnie play on this record. Is it worth seeking out?

October 16th, 2005 04:29 PM
M.O.W.A.T. I picked it up a couple of years ago. Nothing special about it --- listened to it once and haven't put in the CD player since.
October 16th, 2005 11:20 PM
(released by: THE DIRTY STRANGERS)

Year Of Release: 1988
Overall rating = 9

A not uninteresting gritty R'n'B album. It's easy to see what Keith liked in these guys.

Track listing: 1) Thrill Of The Thrill; 2) Baby; 3) Easy To Please; 4) Wide Boys & Slim Pickings; 5) Oh Yeah!; 6) Didn't Want To Be An Angel; 7) Wild One; 8) Bathing Belles; 9) Here She Comes; 10) Little Miss Vanity; 11) Hands Up; 12) Diamonds.

If you ever fall upon a copy of this extremely rare album (distinguished by half a female naked body on the front cover), you might give it a try: The Dirty Strangers obviously modelled themselves after the Stones, at least, a little bit. On the other hand, they certainly weren't just a 'tribute band'. Vocalist Alan Clayton sports a raunchy, low-growlish tone that ain't too special, but at least he can easily stay on key and he's got enough excitement to last us throughout a whole album; the rhythm section is cheerily pounding away a la late Seventies' Stones (with elements of punkish abandon, of course); and the only figure in the band some might be familiar with is their regular guitarist Paul Fox, better known for his later work as producer with bands such as XTC and others.
The band is obscure, indeed: I haven't been able to locate any information about them on the Web. They don't seem to have had any other releases, and in all, this sounds more like a weird side project that ended as quickly as it began. The album itself is long out of print, but some Web stores still offer used LPs of it, and I suppose that rabid Stones fans might as well be interested. Now for the more pleasant stuff. Indeed, the record features both Keith and Ronnie, albeit they never seem to play together. Keith contributes his playing to six of the record's tracks; Ronnie is present on three; and three more don't seem to feature anyone of them. Now I may be a little heretical here, but it's really hard for me sometimes to tell correctly who's playing on what. For instance, the reckless rocker 'Hands Up' could just as well feature Keith and not Paul Fox or any of the other guest guitar players. What the hell, it's even based on a riff ripped off of the Stones' 'If You Can't Rock Me'.
Some of the tracks are unmistakably Keith, though. For instance, on the Clayton-contributed Berry-ish rocker 'Bathing Belles' Keith really comes to his senses and delivers some scorching solos and riffage that he never really managed to deliver on Talk Is Cheap: apparently, this is an excellent example of nostalgia for those early Sixties' days when Keith did everything to outchuck Mr Berry. And near the end of the track he completely gives himself out, ripping into the famous riff from 'It's Only Rock'n'Roll'.
On most of the other tracks, though, Keith's playing is suspiciously similar to the style he'd forvere incorporate into his playing since Steel Wheels - bombastic, arena-loud metallic riffage and dissonant soloing that certainly mars his work up to the present day. Not that I actively dislike this style - I've gotten used to it, but it's really a far cry from the classic Stones' sound we all know and love them for. Even so, the band is in such a euphoric, energetic state, that even such macho arena rockers like 'Thrill Of The Thrill' or 'Wide Boys & Slim Pickings' go off like firecrackers, and they're certainly great to dance to or to bash your head against the wall to. I suppose. I don't give a damn about generic power ballads like 'Didn't Want To Be An Angel', though: I mean, you can dance to the rockers, but what should you do while these ballads are on? A 'power ballad' is a very fishy thing - it's either offensive and grossly pretentious, or heartbreaking, there's definitely no middle ground. This one's certainly NOT heartbreaking, so it gotsta be offensive. Likewise, I hate 'Diamonds', the track that closes the album: it's written in the grand 'sleepy' Keith tradition ('Sleep Tonight', all that dreck), and the female backup voices, that were corny, but tolerable, on 'Bathing Belles', closely approach unlistenable on here ('wipe those diamonds of your e-e-e-e-e-eyes', they bleat like professional goats).
As for Ronnie, he probably takes on lead playing on a couple of rockers ('Baby', 'Here She Comes') and a 'soul' ballad ('Easy To Please'); not that he's pretty distinguishable on there, either, but well, what could you expect? Ronnie's always pretty lowkey when he's backing up somebody.
In all, I'd say that for people collecting Stones' guest appearances, this should be a good place to start, as both Keith and Ronnie are here and they're here for the most part of the album. Still, I wouldn't want to give it any more than a nine, as it never really elevates high above 'acceptable background music'. The riffs are shamelessly 'borrowed' off various R'n'B and rock'n'roll classics, and Clayton's vocals really start getting tedious after a while. See, this album is much too formulaic. Now if the popular rumours were correct and the Stones' own music were 'formulaic', as well, most of their albums would probably look like this. As such, Dirty Strangers is a perfect proof to the contrary: the Rolling Stones are not a formula. The Dirty Strangers are: a pretty solid formula, too, but ultimately toothless and, well, it's easy to see that the project died as soon as it was born.
October 17th, 2005 03:33 AM
z I think they had some good songs. it's the production that really sucks. horrible sound. horrible mix.
October 21st, 2005 12:47 PM
no night together really nothing special
October 21st, 2005 03:44 PM
T&A it's undoubtedly one of the WORST albums I own. Even R & K can't save - utter crap.
October 21st, 2005 04:28 PM
T&A wrote:
it's undoubtedly one of the WORST albums I own. Even R & K can't save - utter crap.

I gave mine away years ago, not very good in my opinion.
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