Dirty Water Revisited

Tony Valentino

Big Stir Records, 2023


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The legendary Tony Valentino—guitarist, keyboardist, harmonica player, singer and founding member of the ’60s seminal garage rock outfit The Standells—has returned to put a fresh coat of paint on eight classics from The Standells, plus a pair of brand new cuts to add to these powerful and timeless tunes. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The raw and melodic title track starts the listen with Duane Waider’s gritty vocals and lively drums next to Valentino's playful keys and soulful harmonica. “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White,” which hardcore punk fans will recognize from Minor Threat's interpretation, follows, and it’s pretty clear why this was one of The Standells’ biggest hits thanks to its infectious jangle and strong melody.

The band’s visceral punk spirit is present on the swift and loose thumping of “I’m A Sexy Punk Rocker,” which you have to imagine inspired the Sex Pistols and Ramones, while “Why Did You Hurt Me” with its firm keyboards is both tender and firm in a proto-punk sort of fashion. “Riot On The Sunset Strip,” another animated and bouncy rocker, then recruits warm sing-alongs to the garage rock energy.

“Vicki” and “Love Me” exit the listen, where the former showcases Gary Kaluza's dense rhythm guitar and the latter has Valentino on lead vocals for the harmonic, dreamy finish.

The Standells were certainly influential in the area of punk and garage rock in their heyday, and have even been covered by Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and U2, to name a few. Together with his new backing band, Valentino proves that he’s still got the chops, and their ’60s version of punk sure sounds great all these years later. This is truly one of the best comeback records in recent history, and will be sure to impress fans, new and old.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2023 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Big Stir Records, and is used for informational purposes only.