Week of May 16, 2004

Dirty Tricks

John Lee - Drums
Johnny Fraser-Binnie - Guitar, Keyboards
Terry Horbury - Bass
Kenny Stewart - Vocals
Andy Bierne - Drums

Dirty Tricks (1975, Polydor)
Night Man (1976, Polydor)
Hit & Run (1977, Polydor)
All three reissued on CD by Majestic Rock in 2004: MAJCD029, MAJCD030, MAJCD031

Dirty Tricks made its San Antonio debut at a Southside bar known as Randy's Rodeo late in 1974, to rave reviews. It was there that they debuted songs from the upcoming "Hit and Run" and finished the crowd off with an explosive version of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me", a year before Van Halen released their first album with that same song. The next year Joe Anthony (the Godfather - widely respected in the 'Business', having used his experimental, risk-taking style to break bands such as Judas Priest, Rush and Triumph in the US) gave the same treatment to "Hit and Run", playing both sides in their entirety - sometimes for days on end. Unfortunately, from what I've gathered, other markets did not have 'champions' of new music with the same stature as the Godfather, and Dirty Tricks did not take off as they did in South Texas. What a shame for the others.

This album is the perfect bridge between Classic UK rock and the NWOBHM. The title track, along with "Get Out On The Street" and "The Gambler" (no, not THAT song, Kenny Rogers fans) grind out blues-driven rock to which to punch your fist in the air. On the other side of the coin, "I've Had These Dreams Before" and "Lost In The Past" invoke an air of a certain, shall we say, smoke-filled reverie... This album received massive airplay in Texas and regions beyond. Andy Bierne replaces John Lee on the drum kit for this outing. Interestingly, this incarnation of the band rehearsed with Ozzy Osbourne as the first Blizzard of Ozz before the poor Oz Man had to leave the Motherland due to tax issues. He fled to America, met Randy Rhoads, and the rest, as they say, is history. But we're left to wonder, What Might Have Been?

Which leads us to today. Although the band has a great following in the UK as the Led Zeppelin tribute band, Stairway To Zeppelin, Dirty Tricks has once again found a new champion in Geoff Gillespie and Majestic Rock. Geoff has had a 'thing' for Dirty Tricks, just as I have, for all these years. The difference is that he's in a position to do something about it. I've tried to lend a hand to him as much as I can, with recordings and artwork he may find useful. But it is he who has commandeered the master tapes to breathe new life into this proud, 'vintage' engine of rock’n’roll that is Dirty Tricks. And it is I, along with you reading this, that should offer a thanks and a tip of the hat, if you will, to Geoff and Majestic Rock for making this dream a reality. And with that, I'll end with a heartfelt, if not cliché, "Long Live Dirty Tricks!"

Zach Hammock, www.sanantoniorock.com, March 2004

Taken from the CD reissue of ‘Hit & Run’, Majestic Rock MAJCD031 2004

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