Review: The Dirty Robbers – Please Mr Jailer

Posted on: Sunday, Mar 28, 2010

Worthenbury Festival 2009


“Please Mr Jailer!”


Following on from their self-titled debut release, The Dirty Robbers, unleash a mixed bag of goodies on this follow-up, “Please Mr Jailer!” – complete with a couple of downright saucy numbers that has merited an ‘adult material’ warning on the cover, as bandleader, guitarist and singer Oliver Darling wears his varied musical influences on his sleeve.

The band, apart from ex-Cadillac Kings and Mike Sanchez guitarist Darling, consists of Matt Foundling (piano), Craig Rhind (bass) and Matt Cowley (drums), aided and abetted by The Brass Bandits – the saxophones of Paul Corry, Nick Lunt and Martin Winning – together they mine a treasure trove of 50s and 60s styles, but given a more modern edge.

The opening three tracks provide a snapshot for the album – kicking off with the title cut of “Please Mr Jailer!”, coming on like a classic 50s r&b number with honking saxophones and impassioned vocal from Oliver Darling; a move up to the 60s on the Beatles-inspired “Try To Love Me” – jangly guitars, harmony vocals and Matt Foundling’s driving piano; and the Elmore James meets Jeremy Spencer slide-driven stomper, “All The Time” – showing Darling’s love for the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, and really well done, with the brass well in evidence again, and more pounding ivories from Foundling.

The band kick up a Junior Parker boogie on “Bogey Man”, with some lusty harmonica here from Sam ‘Big Boy’ Powell, and fine guitar from Oliver Darling, with sterling work from the rhythm section of Craig Rhind and Matt Cowley. Things then turn a little saucy on a cover of “Dick Habit”, with a terrific hook from the guitar and horns, and the slow grind of “Muther F*ckin Trucky”, with its slinky slide guitar and The Brass Bandits to the fore.

The sparse “Leaving” is another Oliver Darling original, underpinned by Matt Foundling’s organ work, before the very retro stomper “It Hurts To Be In Love”, which is followed by the muscular “Lemon Squeezer #2”, with dynamite guitar solo blasting in halfway through. The two-part “Bury The Hatchet” is co-written with Dean Beresford, the short intro of part one, leading into the “Telstar”-like second part – very early sixties, with that Joe Meek production feel and twangy guitar and organ a-plenty!

Proceedings end with a reggae groove on Darling’s “Water Off A Ducks Back”, and the madcap “We Stole The Show”, with John Bonham drum intro, a Bonzos style spoken piece before heading into a driving r&b tune with lashings of wild piano and guitar – then complete with false ending, before some studio tomfoolery with band intro, spoken outro and some more great swinging music over the tracks 11 minutes.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this band on the two occasions I have seen them and also both albums, and anyone with a feel for classic 50s and 60s grooves should check them, and this cd, out. A young British band to keep an eye on for sure – all power to their elbow!


Album available from the excellent

Worthenbury Festival 2009



March 28th, 2010 at 12:36
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Two damn fine pics I must say! Even if they were taken on my ‘instamatic’ as one of the Worthenbury Big Camera Society christened it! Must just add that Paul Garner, bottom pic, does not feature on the album, but was in the live band at last year’s excellent Worthenbury Festival.