Dirty Streets | Rough and Tumble | (Naturalsound)
3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Memphis’ Dirty Streets follows the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” route on this, the power trio’s sixth release. The appropriately titled Rough and Tumble finds the three-piece bringing its raw, rocking power blues grind to life in the studio setting. That’s the group’s natural habitat so this overdub-free set that reprises eight previously released tunes and adds two crackling Joe South covers, finds the three-piece in gutsy spirited form.
Those waiting for a return to the earliest albums of Grand Funk Railroad will think they have died and gone to heaven as Dirty Streets runs through their boogie rock paces. Justin Toland takes the Mark Farner frontman status, cranking out crisp guitar licks and howling about such tried and true topics of love gone good and bad, expressed in the somewhat clichéd backbones of tunes like “Can’t Go Back,” “Tell the Truth,” “Think Twice” and “Try to Remember.” Bob Dylan won’t lose sleep over these lyrics.
But no one looks to a Dirty Streets album expecting poetic revelations on life, reflective musings, or even the two closing selections of acoustic strumming that seem to exist to prove that Dirty Streets can go tender should they want to. Rather, you come for the sweat-soaked licks which Toland brings without aiming for any higher ground than providing a taut, punchy, party-ready soundtrack.
While the basic sound of Dirty Streets borders on crude, there is nothing amateurish about its delivery. These guys have been pounding out this music for over a decade and like AC/DC, another collective that follows the above philosophy, they have the arrangements and meat and potatoes pocket locked down tight. Toland is also a better than average singer, bringing blue-eyed soul to his bluster. OK, so he’s no Paul Rodgers or Steve Marriott. Fans of Free and Humble Pie back in the day, will find this slots perfectly into your collection. Include the Dirty Streets to a playlist of similar 70s acts and be prepared for friends to ask about this band they don’t recognize from 40 some years ago.
That’s likely the biggest compliment anyone could pay Dirty Streets who churn out this blue-jeans, retro-tinged, unapologetically nasty rawk as if they invented it.
Crack open some cold ones, twist the volume to 11, throw your fists in the air and let fly.