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Music Review: Darrell Bath – Love And Hurt Angel Air Expanded Re-Issue

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Like a town crier I bring you good tidings. Angel Air Records has re-released Love And Hurt, the somewhat lost 2001 album, from Darrell Bath. Not only that but the album, which was his first solo release, arrives with two bonus tracks, new artwork, and informative sleeve notes.

The original release was by the small but enthusiastic label ChangesOne. Sadly, as far as I know, it no longer exists and when it died Love And Hurt all but went with it. However, we can now play catch up and believe me it’s well worth the effort.

Once again we are indebted to Angel Air for reviving the album when it ran the risk of slipping off the turntable altogether. What an inexcusable shame that would have been. 

So please let me indulge in some very brief Darrell Bath history. He is a South London boy having been born in Croydon. He grew up on a healthy diet of The Faces, The Stones, and The Yardbirds who all left their mark as did the ever present blues and the punk explosion.

In 1986 he joined Charlie Harper’s UK Subs for the first of several stays. Next came spells at various times with Arturo’s Tower Block Rockers, The Yobs, Dogs D’Amour, the much missed Nikki Sudden, and The Crybabys.

It was the latter who were often being compared to The New York Dolls and, significantly, Mott The Hoople. It is little surprise then that through the Crybabys Darrell came to the attention of one Ian Hunter.

Working with Hunter on his album Dirty Laundry, Darrell stepped into the democratic writing set up and came up with “Never Trust A Blonde.” The following year he was back with the former Mott front man on the The Artful Dodger Collection.

With ideas for a solo album taking shape Darrell  gathered together a collection of muso’s that included fellow UK Subs drummer Icen Killen, Paul Francis from Ian Hunter’s band, and Hugh McKenna the keys man from the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Darrell, played just about everything else.

The result of the initial two day sessions underlines Darrell’s need for a “loose and let it happen style”. Love And Hurt is all the stronger for it.

Ian Hunter is, of course, along with countless others, a life long Dylan admirer.  Darrell Bath clearly draws on some inspiration too and this highly enjoyable album has the feel of a mid to late Dylan recording. It is played 'live' in the studio with an honest air of unpredictability and immediacy.

The sleeve notes explain this as “a definite Memphis attitude”, “vintage”, with “a spindly ’63 guitar sound.” Several of the vocals are first takes resulting in an irresistible ‘played live in your front room’ atmosphere throughout.

Lyrically Darrell is always worth listening to as his Dylanesque skill in scene setting locks you in. His character shines out from his words, and has me agreeing with the notes who describe him as reminiscent of another of my lost heroes, Ronnie Lane. Its  strength is its “easy groove, sublime bluesy slide, with odd Dylan-y paradoxes.”

“So Young So Wise” opens and has Darrell in full swing latter day Dylan inspired mode. The steel fuelled “Bit Of Your Pride”, a track that took a full 15 years to evolve, follows with a trademark genuine, honesty and a vaguely Lennonesque air.

The title track has a touching warmth with its genuine pain and passion, or, should I say,  Love And Hurt. “Still Learning” has a solid strength enriched further by chiming guitar.

“Stop Talkin’ ‘Bout Money” with its Faces bar room swagger is worth the entrance alone. Meanwhile, “Sweet Warm Lover” and “Don’t Go Waistin’ My Heart” ooze tenderness. The driving “Gimme A Choice” and the Stones styled “To Die For” and the country twang of “Tumbleweed” keep the levels high.

Two bonus tracks appear. The Merle Haggard inspired “All The Good Times”, a track whose lyrics I can identify with for a London pub full of reasons, comes from his time with the late Nikki Sudden. “Flight 505” a Stones track from the Aftermath era features the underrated Stevie Klasson, reviewed here a while back.

If you love your Dylan, splashed with a raunchy slice of bar room Faces or Stones, then don’t miss this. It’s another excellent find by Angel Air.

About Jeff Perkins