There’s an Elephant in the room. Nah not the fact that this second album from The Dirty Strangers has guest slots from some Rolling Stones and also a tune co-written by Keif Richards but the fact that Alan Clayton has always been a top Rock and Roll songwriter and churned out albeit infrequent albums but they’ve always been a bit bloody good, regardless of who’s playing on them.
Oh, and to be fair most of us did arrive at the party due to the association with a couple of six-string slingers who also have a penchant for churning out the odd decent album Keif and Ronnie or something like that.
Alan Clayton is joined for the last time by this impressive line up consisting of the super talented Paul Fox, ‘Steady’ Ray King on Bass Guitar, Mark Harrison Drums & Backing VOX, Scott Mulvey on Keys & Backing VOX, and the impressive Angie Brown on guest vocals. Now seems like as good a time as any to give this bad boy a re-release and for me to give this album a leg up.
The keyboards swirl and then Clayton’s instantly recognisable drawl enters the fray.’The Biggest Mouth’ is a foot-stomping rock and roller. Of course, it’s not original and it might even be dated with the production and arrangement but hell, it’s only Rock and Roll and I like it.
‘Party 4 2’ is exactly that, it’s a party for two dancing through your speakers. Then a track was co-written by a certain Mr. Richards that Boogie Woogies into the ether has me wondering how 1993 missed this album first time around. I blame the lame music press for only being interested in gazing at its collective shoes whilst wigging out on churned up long solos from Soundgarden or self-harming over Nirvana whilst over there Clayton and his muckers were kicking up a shitstorm in the name of a good time and supplying all the toons it would seem.
It wasn’t all twelve-bar parties you know they were rivalling anything the Quireboys might have had in the locker at the time as ‘High Heels And Hangovers’ is swinging from the chandeliers with style and when the time was right Clayton could slow things down like The Faces did like on the majestic ‘Only For You’ with its false starts and laid back finger work from Fox. It also has some fine vocal arrangments and a killer delivery but the Ian Maclagan like touch on those keys is a game-changer and adds a tonne of class to proceedings. superb song!
No time like after a masterclass in balladeering to smash it up with some good old Rock and Roll as ‘Special Girl’ has a whole bunch of attitude and swagger. Songs like ‘Got To Know Her’ are easily as good as some of the better songs Ian Hunter was rocking up with his ‘Dirty Laundry’ and his Rant Band. Before we finish there’s always time for some acoustic pickings and ‘The Gamblers Song’ provides the service and had this been a Frankie Miller song or dare I say it Stones song it would have been a smash. It could have broken out with the big drum fill but it doesn’t – its more restrained than that and that’s the difference in class you’ve either got it or you ain’t and on this occasion, The Dirty Strangers are dripping in class.
With time for a couple more Rockers before this party gets shut down it seems as good a time as any to pay this a visit. If you are a dreamer always looking for that Rock and Roll fix then you can stop looking because I can point you in the right direction for a good time. The Dirty Strangers ‘Burn The Bubble’ is a long lost classic with variety and class just waiting for you to come along and bring a bottle.
Buy ‘Burn The Bubble’ Here
Author: Dom Daley