If you’re looking for a high-energy, soulful, punk/R&B record, this is your ticket. Get ready to clap along: Singer/guitarist Mick Collins is a 20-year veteran of underground bands and cut his teeth on the eclectic ‘80s mod scene of Detroit.
Collins has been known to switch band line-ups with each record in order to capture a different classic sound. Called by some critics “the most important black man in rock,” th guy has an amazing palette of influences, from New York No Wave to Motown, or from Sun Ra to the Selector. His rough-hewn voice is a garage mix of the Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks and Jimi Hendrix.
Here, on the Dirtbombs’ sophomore album, the group drops fuzzed-out, fired-up covers, ranging from Curtis Mayfield’s “Kung Fu” to Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” and a funky, acid rock version of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up,” as well as others from Barry White and Jr. Walker. They get a retro-heavy sound all their own through the use of a dual-bass, dual-drum attack led by Collins’ soul-strained voice.
Among the many great songs here is the head-rocking “Ode to a Black Man” where Collins calls out to Stevie Wonder, Robert Johnson and Hendrix between blowing some gritty harp. In one verse, he sings, “If you see the Doctor, tell him he’s king/if you see the Doctor, tell him he’s still king/But this bad, black boy/won’t be blown away by anything." Gets my vote for party record of the year.