Red Dirt's rebel thang - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #87

Write ‘boutcha own time, son. Sing ‘boutcha own time. I know, I ought to, but this Red Dirt album is such an undiscovered lil’ gem I can’t help but put my big spotlight on it. Because after long deliberation I think that this album really rewrites the rules of music. That ain’t music journo notice me I’m different, here are all my different opinions for ya BS, I genuinely don’t know where this album is going from moment one and it gives me a killer kick each time it drops into something so schizophrenically different from the previous song. To this day, Red Dirt’s self-titled and only album is, as the inimitable Marvin Gaye put it, what’s goin’ on. It was recently limited edition reissued with a buncha live tracks taking it up and over the hour mark and just cementing Red Dirt, the little English band who appeared on the radar and just as quickly vanished again were really on to something. Think of them as the British Mountain, until you hear them, then all bets are off. (The Groundhogs are really the British Blue Cheer, in that they put a Brit-spin on all things blue and cheery; and Mountain were like a less intense country Blue Cheer, but hey, oversimplification has a lot of casualties).

Red Dirt have been at the head of the wave of a mini-revival of obscure old bands from the seventies who were superbly great. Propelled to fame aboard Such Hawks, Such Hounds (not Red Dirt, but a ton of great bands) Sir Lord Baltimore, Groundhogs, Randy Holden, Atomic Rooster, Budgie, Fraction, Leaf Hound, Erna Schmidt, Pink Fairies, May Blitz, Too Much, Shiver, Captain Beyond, Dust, Stray; all these incredible bands who hovered in the back of Zeppelin, Deep Purple’s In Rock, Mountain, the Stooges, the MC5, Black Sabbath, Blue fuckin’ Cheer; and worked the back row, doing things differently, quicker, slower, more blues. All the experiments of these bands were changeable, by no means all successful. But I’ve found most of these typea bands now and I’m always willing to learn more because some of these musical footnotes can be some of the most quickly transcendent fun you’ve ever had. The albums are patchy, too few and empty of many things. The production is universally unremarkable and the entire enterprise has this whole rip off merchant vibe I can’t square, but a few of these guys shooting for the same targets as the big hitters frequently touched something very special, and Red Dirt freakin’ nail that interesting moment a few times on their single eponymous release, more than that though the extent to which this release totally isn’t structured is quite stunning. Ripped apart and just laid down as individual cuts with no thought towards overall form or statement the album really strikes as you pay attention to the individual songs, because when you’re in the midst of this albums sonic fury it’s like being snowblind and trying to figure a way home, you must be running in circles, because Brain Worker is Death Letter… this is like that Henry Flynt album where he just re-uses songs with slightly different lyrics and it’s just as mind-blowing here. There’s no subtlety, no finesse, each song is catapulted into your medieval courtyard where it either collapses or explodes in a flurry of electric blues with genuine anger behind the strings. Like with the MC5 in ruralest motherfuckery, Red Dirt sure don’t have much time for cheer, but their blues are deafening.

Back cover, 'cause I can't find a pic of the band
That’s just sonically, it’s structurally that we’re Saturn five’d into orbit on this adventure; The connection between the first two tracks, Death Letter and Memories, is totally non-existent; like events at an absinthe party, nothing seems to follow on from anything else, all the shit that goes down seems to happen exclusively and without any connection to or need for the rest of the album. But this is such a glaring fault it comes right back around and starts looking like the straight-up genius strike of this album. Supplemental material doesn’t exist in the case of Red Dirt, I’ve looked; you can’t even get their lyrics, so their message may well have been lost to the ages, maybe it was a rebel thang. Certainly the music has more than a lemon twist of rebel dropped in. Most of the songs come and go rapidly, under the three minute mark and y’ don’t need a PhD in music appreciation to understand them. They have the same electric blues feel as Mountain did, and the rebel thang is writ large, many songs with lyrics expressed and almost certainly literally in the vein of “ah last mah cahr on the muthr’fuckin’ rode, an’ ahm cra-yen o-vur yooo!”, lots of talk of bay-bees and good tahms long gone. Hopelessly fake, and maybe all that unstructured shit is just the warning sign of a fucking shoddy album and I’m givin’ Red Dirt waaaaaay too much credit, but they were the most genuine fake I ever heard. This album is probably one of the most generic we’ve ever done, I usually try to make your journeys out to find these rare cuts worth it, even if you aren’t totally plugged into what the band are doing the experience oughta offer enough summin’ summin’ to save you cursin’ my name; but in the case of Red Dirt I gotta be straight and tell you if you aren’t a big blues rock fan you prolly won’t find too much to recommend it. Check it out by all means, but let that stand as a warning. I can’t get enough.

Written under duress by Steven.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...