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11 Jul 2017

The Dirty Blues Band Featuring Rod "Gingerman" Piazza "Stone Dirt" 1968 US Blues Rock Electric Blues






The Dirty Blues Band Featuring Rod "Gingerman" Piazza "Stone Dirt" 1968 US Blues Rock Electric Blues

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Part of a relatively obscure West Coast blues scene based in Riverdale, California, in the late 1960s, the Dirty Blues Band played straightforward, lovingly attentive, and competently rendered electric blues. This twofer collects the band's first two albums, both released in 1968, and finds them riffing on a mix of stinging originals and well-known Willie Dixon standards such as "Spoonful," "Bring It on Home," and "I Can't Quit You, Baby." Of particular note to collectors is the presence of Glenn Ross Campbell, who, following a move to the U.K., would found the Misunderstood and later Juicy Lucy.....allmusic.......

Digitally remastered and slipcased. Both album releases from young US group Dirty Blues Band; not long after 'Stone Dirt', the band disintegrated. Featuring Rod Piazza on vocals, later to have a successful career with the Mighty Flyers and as a solo artist. Glen Ross Campbell appears on 'Stone Dirt'; he later went onto the Misunderstood and Juicy Lucy. Extensive new notes by David Wells.....

I came to the DIRTY BLUES BAND via Led Zeppelin. I was trawling the racks of some dusty record shack back in the murky 70ts when I stumbled on the rather cool-looking "Stone Dirt" LP for a couple of nicker - sat there in the small 'Blues' section - forlorn, unloved and without a prom date. I was on a massive Zeppelin tip at the time (probably "Physical Graffiti") and noticed the first track "Bring It On Home" and then "I Can't Quit You Baby". The Zepsters had of course 'adapted' both for 1969's "Zeppelin II" and "Led Zeppelin" respectively.

Written by Chess Records in-house genius Willie Dixon and made a hit by Sonny Boy Williamson – "Bring It On Home" had always been a favourite Blues-Rock poison of mine. So I bought the LP anyway (back when you could afford to experiment with titles) – got it home - slapped it onto my trusty Garrard SP25 - and to my utter amazement - out pops an almost identikit rendition of the Zeppelin 'adapted' version. And given that the album received its UK release on Liberty Records in February 1969 - this is where they lifted the idea from (naughty boys).

In 2016 few remember the six California White Boys of the DIRTY BLUES BAND - but this fantastic Blues-Rock CD is a stone-winner if you dig Paul Butterfield, Jellybread, Bacon Fat and Johnny Winter's early career with Columbia in the late Sixties. Featuring the combined talents of singer and Blues Harmonica player ROD "Gingerman" PIAZZA (see my review for 'The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions' for Bacon Fat and George Smith which featured Piazza) and ace guitarist GLENN ROSS CAMPBELL (The Misunderstood, Juicy Lucy and Joe Cocker's Grease Band) – the debut was recorded September 1967 and like it’s follow up offers up a straightforward diet of hard-hitting Blues-Rock that channels the Paul Butterfield Blues Band on every song. Here are the murky details.
It comes with a tasty looking card slipcase - a 12-page booklet with affectionate and very informative liner notes from DAVID WELLS (with acknowledgments to Mike Stax and the Ugly Things magazine). There are recording credits and a few repro photos. But the big news is a fabulous new Remaster from ANDREW THOMPSON using original tapes. This CD Boogies, Blues and generally wants to start a fight with your Stereo. And it has a near 80-minute playing time. Really great stuff and a blast to listen too...

LEE MAGID produced both albums – but in different ways. While the second benefitted from a polished audio – he went for a loose 'live and raw as a wound' sound on the first record. The band was reportedly unhappy with the sonic results but I'd argue that its 'miked up raw ands real dirty' sound actually produced an exciting uncluttered feel. This sucker Rocks. What you have here is hard-hitting Chicago Blues with Glenn Ross Campbell blistering away on the Guitar while Piazza blasts that deep 'Blues' Harmonica into the microphone like he’s literally tapping into the Delta. The first album sounds like Jeff Beck's "Truth" - huge and rocking. Drummer John Milliken had seen the Paul Butterfield Blues Band supporting The Byrds a year prior to recording the album in September 1967 and was duly blown away. And you can 'so' hear that Elektra artist’s influence all over the album – especially in the covers of Roy Brown's "New Orleans Woman" and the loud and bluesy opener “Don’t Start Me Talking”. It’s a bit like a crude version of Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack in your living room.

But even more impressive is the emergence of Piazza as a Blues songwriter. His "I'll Do Anything Babe" is probably the best thing on the first LP and you wish he'd penned more. And what can you say about the Mike Bloomfield meets Ritchie Blackmore guitar genius of Glenn Ross Campbell. He left after the first album but was the axeman who did that staggering slide guitar on Juicy Lucy’s wild debut 7” single “Who Do You Love?” on Vertigo VO 1 in February 1970 – surely one of ‘the’ great Rock singles of the decade. His playing on the debut is the same – unbelievable for a kid under 20...

The accomplishment on the second album is startling and it's a more even-handed affair with five covers sided by five cracking originals. The opener is my poison - a cover of "Bring it On Home" - the arrangement of which Zeppelin lifted wholesale for their version on 1969's "Zeppelin II". I've played this song on CD-Rs to people and they're jaws drop - don't I know that tune from somewhere? Magid didn't mess around for the production of the "Stone Dirt" - more polished and therefore in many ways more punchy. While Bluesway in America tried "Hound Dog" b/w "New Orleans Woman" as a 45 way back in April 1968 (Bluesway 61016) for the debut LP - neither they nor Stateside in the UK put out a 45 for "Stone Dirt". Shame really as the punchy Piazza original "Six Sides" at three-minutes with its Little Walter fun-time vibe would have been a good choice (with the superb Blues cover of Hooker's "It's My Own Fault Baby" on the flip-side). Replacing Campbell Ross it was the turn of Rick Lunetta to shine on guitar for the slow and powerful "You Got To Love Her With A Feeling" - a rare case of it being better than the Freddie King original. The LP ends on the R&B boogie of "Gone Too Long" and you're reminded of Johnny Winter meets Spencer Davis Group (guitar and organ). The whole record is just 'so' enjoyable - in fact - top marks to all at Beat Goes On of the UK for making these forgotten nuggets available again.............By Mark Barry............

The Dirty Blues Band recorded two albums for ABC/Bluesway -- an eponymous debut in 1967 and 1968's Stone Dirty. A very young Rod Piazza on lead vocals and Pat Maloney on organ and piano, were members of the band.

Traditional electric blues albums, dominated by Piazza's fiery vocals and harmonica. Piazza later formed the Southside Blues Band with George "Harmonica" Smith, who were subsequently re-named Bacon Fat by Mike Vernon of Blue Horizon. The band was based in Southern California. This band is the pre-Bacon Fat. Featuring Rod Piazza on harp...................

This is an interesting album...if you like blues! Rest assured, their name is NOT a misnomer, and this album is all blues. Some, though not all tracks, have rock added to the mix. But the majority are slow and heavy, rather traditional style blues not unlike what you might expect from some of the early, pre-rock blues legends. These guys are highly talented, and most, if not all of these tracks are live. Present are great guitar, harmonica, some mild horns (that are thankfully left down in the mix), some organ and an especially good vocalist. As I listened to this again for my review, I at first thought, "IMG, there's no rock on this! It's all just heavy blues, and not particularly exciting at that". But that just seems to be the way they laid out the sequencing on this album, sticking to (what I feel) is too many similarly sounding cuts in a row. But by the middle of side two, they've won you over, finally hitting an up-tempo stride that pumps some life into the performance. Again, blues lovers will love this. Blues/rock lovers will enjoy it. Rock lovers may be a little ambivalent, but it's worth looking into for your own opinion.........by....tymeshifter...........

Credits

Baritone Saxophone – Willie Green*
Bass – Gregg Anderson
Drums – Dave Miter
Engineer – Tom Hidley
Guitar – Rick Lunetta
Liner Notes – Leonard J. Feather*
Organ, Piano – Pat Maloney
Producer – Lee Magid
Tenor Saxophone – Jimmy Forrest
Trumpet – Freddie Hill
Vocals, Harmonica [Blues Harp] – Rod "Gingerman" Piazza*

Tracklist
Bring It On Home 2:54
It's My Own Fault 5:11
I Can't Quit You Baby 5:37
Tell Me 4:20
She's The One 2:46
My Babe 4:37
Sittin' Down Wonderin' 5:37
Six Sides 2:53
You've Got To Love Her With A Feeling 4:34
Gone Too Long 3:08

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