Review: Dirk Hamilton – Meet me at the Crux [Akarma 2006]
If the world had been a fair place, and sadly we know it’s not or at least we can identify justice only in the vest of a spoiled lady, the recent reissues of the first three record by Dirk Hamilton would have benefited of a wide echo on papers and they would have been printed in luxurious remastered SACD formats with HDCH. But, as far as we know, things went different and the three albums just mentioned – You Can Sing On The Left Or Bark On The Right (1976), Alias I (1977) e Meet Me At The Crux (1978) – saw the digital enlightenment only thanks to an Italian label.
Meet Me At The Crux, originally issued by Elektra, is the last excerpt of the trilogy and it’s also Hamilton’s best record. Dirk abandoned the scenes after the commercially unsuccessful Thug Of Love (’79) and came back only several years after, at first with some self produced cassettes and then with three records issued, starting from 1990, by the label Appaloosa. This, however, is another side of the story. Today, I want to invite you all to buy an album – Meet Me At The Crux – that Rolling Stone simply defined as “unknown gem of the 1970s” and, maybe, it is even something more.
If previous works outlined the basic references of the artist, capable of moving on the same lines of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan or the Stones adding touches of gospel, r&b (tons of r&b) and even reggae (and all these influences merge into some visionary frames worth the most genuine Van Morrison), Meet Me At The Crux represents the squaring of the circle, thanks to a bunch of songs that have never been so organic, complete and enthralling.
In the speedy shuffle of Mouth Full Of Suck there’s also Bill Payne’s organ directly from Little Feat, although the greatness of this album doesn’t pay a fee to the appearances of it guests.
The harrowing poetry of Billboard On The Moon, the overwhelming r&b of Welcome To Toylan and Heroes Of The Night, the fabulous How do You Fight Fire?, the Springsteen-alike rock of the title track, the limping soul goodbye of Every Inch a Moon and the doo-wop epic of Tell A Vision Time only deserved a public less vacantly absorbed by the punk explosion and more disposed towards a bunch of sublime songs, so vivid and shrill to resemble more a little concert than a studio record.
Who will give a shot to this reissue will enjoy also the mid-tempo between country and Stones of The Condo Row, the semi-acoustic beating of the wonderful Dylan-esque Santa Cruz Mountain Monologue and a “tour-de-force” in Van Morrison style of the burning Don’t Laugh At Me Louise, an outtake of Alias I that it would be a pity not to know. Better late than ever, as they say, and I really hope that this way of saying this time can become true also for the ones that either don’t know Dirk Hamilton or have always underrated him.
Originally appeared on: