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Dirty Dozen Live

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Album Review

A live and largely acoustic set by former Stranglers singer Hugh Cornwell and his current touring band, Dirty Dozen is roughly evenly split between Cornwell's solo work and his better-known (and, it must be said, mostly just plain better) work with everyone's favorite new wave misanthropes. The solo material comes across considerably better, however, likely because it was written with Cornwell's weathered (to put it as politely as possible) voice in mind. Early Stranglers hits like 1979's career high point "Duchess" are pitched considerably lower nowadays, and even then Cornwell misses about half the notes and doesn't seem to quite have the breath to finish the wordy verses at just the right point. In comparison, solo single "Black Hair Black Eyes Black Suit" makes better use of Cornwell's current Nick Cave-meets-Johnny Cash vocal instrument. His band veers between acceptable and amateurish, hitting its nadir near the set's end with a downright painful take on the Stranglers' reworking of Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By": the song simply seems to be out of the band's league. It's tough to recommend Dirty Dozen for anyone other than the most obsessive and forgiving of Stranglers devotees.


Born: August 28, 1949 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The longtime frontman for the British punk outfit the Stranglers, Hugh Cornwell made his solo debut in 1979 with Nosferatu; a second solo effort, Wolf, was nine years in forthcoming, but in the decade to follow the singer proved relatively prolific, issuing Wired (retitled First Bus...
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Dirty Dozen Live, Hugh Cornwell
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