Following on from 60s Stones 45 rpm glories, I was reminded of this absolute dog of an Lp from the 80s for which, out of perversity I guess, I still retain a smidgen of affection.
First of all, there’s that ghastly day-glo/mullets pervading cover, surely the Stones’ worst. Special face-palm mention must go to the lead singer’s awkwardly craning pose and Woody’s very silly socks. And look, poor Charlie’s about to be junk sick!
With half these songs interchangeable punky rave-ups and almost all of them burdened with hollow macho posturing, I’m supposing this was meant as a return to the Stones rockist roots after a decade of flirting with disco. But Dirty Work is filled with astonishingly undistinguished song-craft, ill-served by Jagger’s alarmingly tuneless growling, that no ratcheting up of the BPMs can disguise. Singles “One Hit” and “Harlem Shuffle” more or less succeed, and the album is eventually put to bed with one of the few decent tracks, Keith’s last-one-barely-standing piano ballad “Sleep Tonight”, which lurches along amiably red-eyed and lopsidedly grinning. In marked contrast to Mick’s annoying bark and solo aspirations, Keith’s perpetual typecasting as a careworn party animal/bandmate served to permanently solidify his status as everyone’s favorite Stone around this time. Fairly adventurous production-wise is a dubbed-up Keith-led cover of Half Pint’s “Winsome”, which the band prosaically (but logically) retitled “Too Rude”.
Magnify to read National Lampoon‘s Mark Marek’s un-PC (and not very funny) comic entitled “Dirty Work Out” from the inner sleeve which, erm, makes light of obesity.
Maybe the most interesting thing about Dirty Work: Check out the inside of the cover–it’s purply pink!
I bought Dirty Work on cassette when it came out, so I pretty much knew what I was getting in to when I got this one recently from a chaz in Whitstable.