Album review: DIRTY WHITE BOY – Bad Reputation (Remaster with bonus track)

Bad Reputation Records [Released 16.12.21]

Dirty White Boy originally released Bad Reputation in 1990.

Melodic hard rock had entered the new decade unconvincingly, and was rapidly evolving into a bloated, corporate rock cliché. Bad Reputation was a significant exception.

The fast formed assembly of three seasoned professionals, Earl (Lennon/Bowie) Slick, Keni (Autograph) Richards and ex Giuffria vocalist, David Glen Eisley had talent to burn. They cranked the machine back to a better time, and recorded one of the era’s outstanding albums.

France’s premier rock reissue label is named for this album. Fittingly then, it has given us a remastered version (with bonus track) to remind us of that rich feeling that hard rock has when great musicians are in the room at the same time.
The band’s percolation of robust melodies through seventies’ hard rock produced powerful, punchy songs. Slick’s sleazy riffs and Eisley’s abrasive vocals are a lethal combination on every track here.

The glorious, relentless blues rock of ‘Let’s Spend Momma’s Money’ is unquestionably the album standout. And in fact would have stood tall on most rock albums of the time. It dispenses with the usual lyrical banalities of the genre to tell an amusing short story of luck, big winnings and Hollywood.

Everywhere you look, they’re taking classic seventies’ rock and subjecting it to their own forms, structures and influences.
‘Lazy Crazy’ places AC/DC somewhere south of the Mason Dixon line.
The inevitable ballad, ‘You Give The Night’ is low key torch balladry – a sensual mix of the Beatles, Joe Cocker and G’n'R – a welcome change to the cheesy, by- the-numbers chart fodder that had eventually choked the genre.

Elsewhere, the band’s driving, electrifying energy is impossible to resist. ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Badlands’ are full fat, valve driven rock monsters, surging, uplifting, creating an unstoppable groove.

And yet, nothing is overcooked. Yes, it’s in your face hard rock, but you never want to turn away. Even with the bonus track ‘Back in the Night’ (originally appeared on the vinyl single of ‘Let’s Spend…’ in 1990) taking the running time to around 55 minutes, we’re still left wanting more.
A unique album, in more ways than one. ****1/2

review by Brian McGowan

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