Dirty Work was probably an album that should not have been made. Mick Jagger was concentrating on his first solo album and placed the Rolling Stones in a secondary position, creating a great deal of animosity between him and Keith Richards. It would take several years for these wounds to heal. Ron Wood and Charlie Watts were both having problems with addictions and Bill Wyman was just plain bored. Watts and Wyman would each only play on about half of the album’s tracks.
Ron Wood would write four of the songs (with Jagger and Richards also receiving writing credits). Keyboardist Chuck Leavell would also create one song leaving only three original Jagger-Richards compositions, which was not a good sign.
The lead single was a cover of the old rhythm & blues song “Harlem Shuffle.” I remember thinking at the time this was a good song played by the wrong group. The Stones would change the tempo toward a pop/dance direction. Soul artists Don Covay and Bobby Womack sang along with Mick and I wish they would have sung alone. The song would be an unlikely hit and reach number five on the national charts.
The second single would be the Ron Wood creation, “One Hit (To The Body).” While this release was less successful, only reaching number 28, it was probably one of the better songs on the album. Jimmy Page played along with Wood and Richards giving the track a three guitar attack. It was one of the few 1980’s songs by The Rolling Stones that would not sound totally dated several years later.
The Jagger-Richard song, “Hold Back,” features a vocal by Mick Jagger who seemed to at least be trying here. “Too Rude” sung by Keith is a competent reggae based slow song that would be a part of his solo act for years.