Yeah that there fella Clayton, He’s keifs mate innit and he’s shared a stage with the likes of Spike, Tyla, Brian James, Jim Jones and a whole lot of Rock n Rollas and punk rockers over the years and as it goes his recording output is pretty bloody spectacular to be fair from top to bottom Them Dirty Strangers don’t bother recording duff tracks and if you were to cut em they’d bleed Rock n Roll no question about that.

‘Hunters Moon’ Started life during lockdown, the Dirty Strangers’ triumphant sixth studio album has been a long time coming, and what a vibrant, joyful, exciting, and life affirming record it is too. Quite how Alan Clayton has kept his chin up and been so positive and enthusiastic is a mystery considering he’s been at this for forty years.

I do love me a genuine bonafide 100% unadulterated, nonpretentious slice of Rock n Roll, and its easy to say that this here record contains Clayton’s strongest bunch of songs to date, bolstered by a new bunch of Dirties whilst saying farewell to long-time keyboard legend Scott Mulvey, who passed away in 2021 and features on four of the tracks herein.

Clayton attributes the records quality and the unique southern cheeky charm of his eloquent lyrics to writing in lockdown seclusion on the 1964 Gibson Hummingbird acoustic gifted to him by Keith Richards over 20 years ago. The record kicks off with the title track a laid-back slide-drenched rocker. Remember that balmy first lockdown when the sun was blazing, well, I can imagine this germinating in those sizzling nights in some dimly lit room with a warm valve amp crackling with ideas and a solo that just oozes class. It’s only rock n roll kids and far more dangerous than any virus.

When genuine Rockers have time on their hands it can lead to mischief and set off all sorts of alarms but for some, it can ignite a fire inside as the creative juices flow and boy were they flowing around at Clayton towers by the sounds of it.

As lockdown eased and against the tragedy of losing Scotty, tracks appeared as a new core Dirties line-up of Cliff Wright, returning drummer Lawrence Fox and original guitarist John Rollason, who’d go to jam and spar with Keith Richards on the band’s 1987 debut.

Clayton’s West One Two Studio in Sussex must have been on the radar as the epicenter of some pretty explosive songwriting was taking seed from the wonderful rework of ‘Gold Cortina’.

‘La La La I Couldn’t Care Less’ is driven by Alan’s then-thirteen-year-old niece Holly Clayton on drums, inspired by, “that sort of arrogant ‘I don’t care’ teenage swagger. Given the seal of approval by none other than Brian James it had to make the cut and on the evidence before us mlord it was a great call.

 If you’re looking for proof that this is the band’s best work thus far then get an earful of the magnificent ‘My Girl’s A Getaway Driver’. it’s a ram-raiding classic from the awesome lyrics to that driving bass and drum combo it’s unbelievably good and don’t you forget it. One minute and forty seconds long it’s a fuckin’ Blitzkrieg of a tune wham bang thank you, mam, If the Stones were to write and record a song this good they’d be taken on an open-top bus parade around shit island and have the keys to the country let alone the getaway car. If you think that’s good wait til you hear the sleazy party dancefloor filler of ‘State of Affair’ from the ole Joanna tinkling to the melody in the vocals never mind about those guitar licks it’s an absolute banger.

It’s as Rock n Roll as it gets, it’s laid back, cool, smoldering, the real deal, it’s the cat’s pajamas it’s the bees knees it’s the most accomplished well written set of Rock n Roll tunes you’ll hear all year. If I’m honest these eleven songs should come with a health warning. Alan should be immensely proud of this album and to sign off with the pallet cleanser that is ‘Anything You Say’ thats stripped down to its primal acoustic, slide, tambourine, and handclaps there is no weak spot, honestly. Any chance of another lockdown in about twelve months so The Dirty Strangers can get locked up to write another record, if it’s half as good as this it’ll still be better than 99% of new albums.


Author: Dom Daley