Dirty Streets – Blades Of Grass (Alive Records)

Classic rock is sounding real tired these days – the thrill of those great songs killed by endless radio overplay –  but once in a while there’s a new band with youthful energy who make it sound exciting again. Memphis trio Dirty Streets are one such group, and their third album Blades of Grass is the perfect remedy for people who love the harder-edged side of classic rock but are sick of hearing the same few Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and James Gang songs over and over on whatever corporate station rules your local airwaves. Drenching boulder-heavy riffs in southern soul grease isn’t a particularly revolutionary idea, but combining these elements into short punchy tracks at a time when few bands are making straight-ahead rock records make Dirty Streets something of a revelation. Opener “Stay Thirsty” is the band in a nutshell, with a durable riff (from Justin Toland), a funky rhythm and pleading vocals (also from Toland) all well recorded at their hometown’s famed Ardent Studios. Elsewhere, “No Need To Rest” is “Funk #49,” “Mississippi Queen,” and “Over The Hills and Far Away” blended into a tasty rock smoothie, “Movements #2” is their previous album’s title track reworked, and “Keep An Eye Out” has some crackin’ Meters influences lurking beneath the hard surface. It’s a strong record, but there’s room for improvement, liked the clichéd “world-gone-wrong” lyrics that make “Talk” an awkward foray into Sly and The Family Stone-style “message rock”. Even flawed, I’ll take a well-executed album of long-haired rock’n’roll over forgettable flavor-of-the-month records any day.


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