Underrated album: Rolling Stones' "Dirty Work"

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Does anyone think critics and fans are full of shit when they completely dismiss "Dirty Work"? I wrote a reappraisal for Stylus and friends wouldn't talk to me for days. The other day at a bar I played "Harlem Shuffle" and half the joint walked out! (true story)

I would be more understanding if people didn't share the same received opinions: "Oh, it's so '80s sounding" or "Mick and Keith hated each other" or "Bill and Charlie don't even play on it" We're familiar with the lore. But this underrated album, like the underrated "Emotional Rescue" is more fun song for song than "Steel Lounge" or "Voodoo Bridge."

But has anyone stopped to listen to Mick's vocals: the rawest, most unhinged singing in his career, as if for once he forgot about what the Queen might think of him. I'm thinking about tracks like "Hold Back" (it even has great lyrics!), the title track, and, yes, even "Winning Ugly." Ignore the synth ooze and you'll hear a remarkably eloquent self-indictment: he finally owns up to being the selfish millionaire asshole we always suspected he was.

I also love throwaways like "One Hit To the Body" (the most striking opening riff in the Stones' career) and "Had it With You."

And then there's "Sleep Tonight," after "All About You" probably Keith's best ballad: the "closure" an album this violent demands.

Anyone else agree?

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:05 (fourteen years ago) link

i've had people tell me this before and never ever believed them, though it does nag at me when i think about checking out lps that might potentially be the last decent stones album (eventually i will get around to listening to undercover). "one hit to the body" is great. to be honest your mentioning there's synth ooze on this is the first thing to make me curious about hearing this album (no charlie though????).

j blount (papa la bas), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:10 (fourteen years ago) link

once i was at this party and some people were dissing the stones and i was like 'no way dudes, the stones were great' and this other guy backed me up and i was all 'this guy knows what i'm talking about' and then he started talking about how dirty work and steel wheels were great albums and people didn't understand what they were trying to do with bridges to babylon and all i could think was 'o great, now people think i'm like this asshole'.

j blount (papa la bas), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:13 (fourteen years ago) link

Several tracks feature drum fills that don't sound at all like the work of Charlie Watts. Ronnie Wood drums on "Sleep Tonight" and "Too Rude." I've read that Watts was strung out on horse for most of the sessions.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:14 (fourteen years ago) link

I think it's a good album. I don't own any Stones album made after it. I think Xgau gave it an 'A' when it came out.

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Man, I don't know. I've always thought it was far and away their worst album, and I've heard them all. I think what came before - Undercover - and after - Steel Wheels - are much, much stronger. "Harlem Shuffle" was just a bum move, releasing that as the single. I mean, shit, everything about this album - the crappy cover, the awful synths on "Winning Ugly" and "Back to Zero"...

I do love "Had It With You" and "Fight" is actually pretty good too. And "Sleep Tonight", that's good, but not as good as the next album's absolutely GREAT "Slipping Away." Oh and of course those 30 seconds of Ian Stewart playing piano at the end.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:16 (fourteen years ago) link

man when we were kids we used to just stare at the cover to undercover

j blount (papa la bas), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:18 (fourteen years ago) link

I read his review. Xgau probably took (takes) a lot of shit for it.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:19 (fourteen years ago) link

Kudos to ver Dean for being able to recuperate/rehabilitate unfairly dissed Steve Lilllywhite productions (cf. Marshall Crenshaw's Field Day)

Ken L (Ken L), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:22 (fourteen years ago) link

also, people didn't understand what they were trying to with Bridges to Babylon!! dude was right!

Stormy Davis (diamond), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 02:25 (fourteen years ago) link

yeah, i guess that's true!

j blount (papa la bas), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 03:22 (fourteen years ago) link

"One Hit To the Body" (the most striking opening riff in the Stones' career)

err...Satisfaction, Honky Tonk, Jumpin' Jack Flash...

You can say that the album is better than people give it credit for, but that statement is just silly.

Garibaldianne (Garibaldianne), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:01 (fourteen years ago) link

"Fight", "Had It With You", "Sleep Tonight", that's it. I really like those ones though.

dave q (listerine), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:06 (fourteen years ago) link

"You can say that the album is better than people give it credit for, but that statement is just silly."

Not really. Satisfaction, HO\onky Tonk, etc are pretty striking, but the acoustic, slightly off-the-beat guitar on "One Hit" gets me off these days more than the hoary chestnuts.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:10 (fourteen years ago) link

yay, dave and I agree on the exact same three songs. But dave tell me that you also like the 30 seconds of Ian Stewart piano at the end.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:12 (fourteen years ago) link

i just wish that went on longer

dave q (listerine), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:14 (fourteen years ago) link

yeah, me too.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Man I LOVE Harlem SHuffle...

Bryan Moore (Bryan Moore), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 04:56 (fourteen years ago) link

more fun song for song than "Steel Lounge" or "Voodoo Bridge."

Woah there! Let's not get carried away now!

bugged out, Wednesday, 2 February 2005 05:03 (fourteen years ago) link

The last great Stones album.

briania (briania), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 05:30 (fourteen years ago) link

...was Black and Blue

Mark (MarkR), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 05:31 (fourteen years ago) link

I bet a million dollars the two of you never even listened to Bridges to Babylon.

Stormy Davis (diamond), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 05:35 (fourteen years ago) link

You lose. I listen to every Stones album, even the live ones, god help me.

And yes, actually, BtoB is a very nice album.

briania (briania), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 05:54 (fourteen years ago) link

I too own "Babylon," and I prefer the Stones when they hated each other's guts ("Dirty Work").

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 12:11 (fourteen years ago) link

just thought "Dirty Wok" would be a cool album title (sorry, haven't slept much...).

AleXTC (AleXTC), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 13:23 (fourteen years ago) link

Chrisgau went on at length to justify this album. I think he just wanted to make a statement about the Stones at This Point in History or something, as he likes to do as a journalist? As he did with Crenshaw's "Field Day," which he happened to be totally right about. But it's a fine piece of work and I have no problem saying it's the last great Stones album

es hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 2 February 2005 20:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Is there a thread devoted to Steve Lillywhite, producer of "Dirty Work," "Field Day," the P-furs, early U2, Peter Gabriel, and countless others? What a resume. And except for his early interest in booming drums, he's an anonymous producer as opposed to one who leaves his stamp (a la Eno). He's like the William Wyler or Edward Dymytrk of rock.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:16 (fourteen years ago) link

It's their best album since *Emotional Rescue* (which may their most underrated album ever, by the way).

chuck, Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:21 (fourteen years ago) link

I agree, Chuck. Just for "Summer Romance" and "She's So Cold"

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:24 (fourteen years ago) link

Lillywhite's best productions = THE POGUES

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 3 February 2005 00:28 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Listening to "Sleep Tonight" now after a long bout of writing is just the tonic.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Monday, 10 July 2006 23:47 (thirteen years ago) link

as always, dave q. cuts to the heart of the question at hand:

Special comedy award for "Fight", from 'Dirty Work'. "Gonna pulp you to a mass of bruises...there's a hole where your face used to be...gonna smash your face in, slash you with my razor". Not only did it remind one of the grumpy pensioners at the bingo hall even then, but Jagger wasn't exactly built like a tank even as a young 'un.
-- dave q (scrape10...), October 21st, 2001.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 11 July 2006 01:47 (thirteen years ago) link

five years pass...

Several tracks feature drum fills that don't sound at all like the work of Charlie Watts. Ronnie Wood drums on "Sleep Tonight" and "Too Rude." I've read that Watts was strung out on horse for most of the sessions.

Steve Jordan and Anton Fig play on some tracks. Don't know exactly which ones. My hunch is that it's Fig on "Winning Ugly." But Jordan does such a brilliant Watts imitation (see Keith Richards' "Struggle") that it's impossible to tell which songs he's on.

Let A Man Come In And Do The Cop Porn (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 03:25 (seven years ago) link

Instrumental credits here.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 03:29 (seven years ago) link

Interesting. Even though Wikipedia sez Jordan & Fig, they're not in those credits. I still say it's Fig on "Winning Ugly," because (even without the absurdly gated snare) it's so utterly uncharacteristic of Watts.

Let A Man Come In And Do The Cop Porn (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 03:41 (seven years ago) link

The other day at a bar I played "Harlem Shuffle" and half the joint walked out! (true story)

lol

Fonz Hour (Eazy), Wednesday, 29 February 2012 03:45 (seven years ago) link

I've read that Watts was strung out on horse for most of the sessions.

Watts otm

buzza, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 03:59 (seven years ago) link

Watts has spoken openly about a period in the mid-1980s when his previously-moderate use of alcohol and drugs became problematic: "[My drug and alcohol problems were] my way of dealing with [family problems]... Looking back on it, I think it was a mid-life crisis. All I know is that I became totally another person around 1983 and came out of it about 1986. I nearly lost my wife and everything over my behaviour."[7] A famous anecdote relates that during the mid-1980s, an intoxicated Jagger phoned Watts' hotel room in the middle of the night asking "Where's my drummer?". Watts reportedly got up, shaved, dressed in a suit, put on a tie and freshly shined shoes, descended the stairs, and punched Jagger in the face, saying: "Don't ever call me your drummer again. You're my fucking singer!"

omar little, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 04:10 (seven years ago) link

Watts is noted for his personal wardrobe: the British newspaper The Telegraph has named him one of the World's Best Dressed Men. In 2006 Vanity Fair elected Watts into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame, joining his style icon, Fred Astaire.[8]

omar little, Wednesday, 29 February 2012 04:11 (seven years ago) link

three years pass...

three months to its 30th anniversary -- alfred better be pitching whiney

mookieproof, Saturday, 12 December 2015 00:47 (three years ago) link

Man, I don't know. I've always thought it was far and away their worst album, and I've heard them all. I think what came before - Undercover - and after - Steel Wheels - are much, much stronger.
― Stormy Davis (diamond), Tuesday, February 1, 2005 9:16 PM (10 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

^^^

btw the most underrated Stones album is Tattoo You, foolz

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Saturday, 12 December 2015 01:25 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

idk why I decided to listen to this album today but Mick is crazy on it

I think this album would've been better received if "One Hit" was the first single... "Harlem Shuffle" isn't so good

flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 9 September 2019 04:28 (six days ago) link

Probably should have put this in a Jagger solo thread, but I heard "Lucky In Love" out and about this weekend, and how ridic is the poker dialogue over the coda? Easily one of the most embarrassing Mick Moments.

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 9 September 2019 05:24 (six days ago) link

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Mick Jagger - Lucky In Love - Official
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Yes I'm lucky, yes I'm lucky
Yes I'm lucky, yes I'm lucky
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Lucky with the ladies…
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Artist: Mick Jagger
Album: She's the Boss
Released: 1985
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A betting fool
A gambling man
No sooner up
You're down again
Mama said you won't get hurt
Don't play the cards
You won't get burned
But there's a place where I still win
But there's no money in this thing
The game of hearts puts me in spades
The only game I've got it made
Oh I'm lucky in love
Yes I've got the winning touch
Lucky in love
Suddenly I'm dangerous
I'm betting on a filly down at the track
A natural born winner that's a fact
A hundred yards from the winning post
The horse fell down must have seen a ghost
But there's a place where I still win
That is still my sure fire thing
Ooh I will play the Jack of Spades
You play the Queen
I'll play the knave
Oh I'm lucky in love
Yes I've got the winning touch
Lucky in love
Suddenly I'm dangerous
I know it's a mystery
When the numbers come up
Cause mathematics is Greek to me
But I'm lucky, I'm lucky
I'm lucky in love
Yeah Las Vegas at night at the roulette wheel
Yeah Monte Carlo try to cut a deal
Atlantic City I lose at craps
Back in London try to win it back
And late at night I lay in bed
With a pistol to my head
Swear I couldn't take no more
And in she walks right through my door
Oh I'm lucky in love
When I think I've had enough
Lucky in love
Yes I've got the winning touch
Suddenly I'm dangerous
Yes I'm lucky, yes I'm lucky
Yes I'm lucky, yes I'm lucky
Yes I'm lucky, yes I'm lucky
Lucky with the ladies
Thank God for the ladies
Otherwise I'd go, I'd go crazy
How about a line of credit
For say ten thousand dollars
Eighteen on the red
Put me, put me home to bed baby
Yes I'm lucky, yes I'm lucky
Yes I'm lucky, yes I'm lucky
Yes I'm lucky, yes I'm lucky
Lucky with the ladies
I'm sitting here with a full house you know
I just can't just can't lose out on this
Okay, okay your ten thousand
And ten thousand more
"Oh you want to raise me
You want to raise me
How about this
Twenty thousand and twenty thousand more
Okay you want to see me
Well I got, I got a full house
What's that
A royal flush
Well ain't that a bust
I'm broke"

All shouted.

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 9 September 2019 05:25 (six days ago) link

Oops.

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 9 September 2019 05:27 (six days ago) link


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