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David Migden And The Dirty Words Second Hand Tattoo Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Listen to this now. See him when you can.

Susie Goldring 2008

Southern American roots are written all over this colourful second album. Despite David Migden’s classical musician father trying to insist that he pursue a career in his footsteps, he’s emerging as a contemporary fusion of blue-eyed soul shouter and Beefheartian swamp growler, with a voice to reckon with and a pocket full of voodoo.

The opening track bursts with white boy soul, funky bass and piano runs. Hold Me Close is a great singalong about the security of being in a solid relationship: ''gotta hold me close no matter how bad I smell''. It's a great way to open an album: Migden’s growl and whine can bring the house down on its own.

The title track itself is more of grower than a belter. It's a sinister frenzied mix of rock and soul and funk that could equally be sung by Tom Waits or Howlin' Wolf. Plenty here to keep you up at night.

The shouty One By One; is a revenge song that should be used for a car chase in a Tarantino film. Guitar feedback moves into frenzied minor piano chords and choppy tempos. ''Your ass belongs to me'' spits Migden. He is a man on edge, a man on a mission and a man you don't want to cross.

Often he does move away from his roots with tango flair such as in the finely-produced Cats Eyes. Making use of the sound of a radio turning and French language fading in and out, the drum rolls, castanettes , superbly languid mariachi trumpet (by Midgen) all capture that groggy feeling of fighting tiredness behind the wheel. But by the time it moves into a latino frenzy you feel that you’ve gone past tiredness and into elation.

Best of the bunch is probably the countrified Just Like Gold. It’s here that you really appreciate the Dirty Words, especially the masterful slide playing of Joe Gibson. But throughout the entire band are locked in tight.

Second Hand Tattoo feels like a man finding his feet, taking steps with different genres. But the exuberance, the voice and the skill keep you walking with him. If you want an album that goes from sultry falsetto (Planets) to Latin beats (Cat's Eyes), belting white soul (Hold Me Close), cod Eastern spice (Eyes To The Ground), and threatening tempo changes (Blood Stream) this is the album for you.

It's good to note that the man is even better live. Listen to this now. See him when you can.

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