Dirty Dirty Gets Down to the Nitty Gritty


Mississippi Live & the Dirty Dirty, a four-piece Southern rock band based in East Vancouver, display plenty of variety and talent on their 2016 CD Going Down. The high-powered “Trouble” opens the set, with underlying, rumbling percussion like an unstoppable thunderstorm. In the foreground is a “Wild Horses”-infused slide guitar—I don’t know whether the maestro is Robert Connely Farr or Ben Yardley, since both are listed under guitar and vocal credits. Next up is the title track, “Going Down,” with a vintage Farfisa organ in the background, right out of Country Joe & the Fish. The master hand is organist Jon Wood, who also produced the album. “It’s So Easy” is classic folk rock, with lyrics about how a downward spiral is entirely effortless (“I don’t have any answers / I barely have a plan”). “Hurtin’,” the only song written by drummer Jay Johnson, features a wah-wah pedal that sounds just as at home in this contemporary song as it might in 1969. In both “Hurtin’” and its follow-up, “Bad Bad Feeling,” the vocals seem to emerge from the pain-wracked shadows of one final weekend bender. “Mexico,” a hot climate travelogue (pre-COVID, of course) contains the most rollicking electric guitar solo. “Dead & Gone” is driven by a pounding floor tom, much like Todd Rundgren’s timeless “I Saw the Light.” “Country Boy” could be interpreted as the autobiography of the lead singer, and its pizzicato guitar is the most polished of this band’s guitar styles. The CD’s closeout track is “The Girl Who Never Was,” and you know it won’t end well when the song’s first line is “She said ‘I want out.’” From there the song meanders like a roots ballad from Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece days. Like all worthwhile songs, the tracks on Going Down get down to the actualities of life—because who has time for nonessentials?

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