Back To Zero (Dog N Cat DAC-020)
RPM Studios, New York City, July 16 – August 17, 1985
Disc 1: Sleep Tonight, Sleep Tonight, Too Rude, Too Rude, Deep Love, Fight, Baby You’re Too Much, What Am I Gonna Do With Your Love, One Hit, One Hit
Disc 2: Harlem Shuffle, Harlem Shuffle, Harlem Shuffle, Strictly Memphis, Strictly Memphis, Invitation, Back To Zero, Winning Ugly
Back To Zerois DAC’s re-release of the Dirty Work sessions. This tape has appeared before on titles such as Crushed Pearl on Vinyl Gang (VGP-041), Dirty Work Demoson Klub Musik CD 0084 (KMCD 0084), Dirty Work Sessions on Rogue (RG-06), More Works (KKP-CD02), Jamming With Stu(VGP-240-1/2), Dirty Workout (VGP-264), High Temperature (VGP-285-1/2), Alternate Dirty Work (RSAOW 1/S),Crushed Pearl (VGP-041), Crushed Pearls on Mighty Diamond (2006), Strictly Works on Shaved Disc (TSD017), Mean Lean Hits Outsider Bird (QE5124A), Straight From The Heart on Melody (Melody 002), and Little Boy Blue & The Blue Boys vs. The Lone Ranger (RS 6185).
Some sources like the VGP release attribute some tracks like “One Hit” and “Fight” to the Pathé- Marconi Studios in Paris. The sessions for their LP were done throughout the entire year in both Paris and New York. DAC claim this is the complete tape from the summer sessions. The only two tracks missing are “Hold Back” and “Nobody’s Perfect” which are speculated to have been worked on at this time.
The tape is very good to excellent with very noticeable tape hiss on some of the tracks. These sessions in New York began only three days after Live Aid which had the absurdity of Mick Jagger singing Rolling Stones songs with Tina Turner and Ronnie and Keith playing with Bob Dylan at the end of the Philadelphia show.
The tape shows Keith sounding very hurt, Mick sounding very distant, and a plethora of guest musicians that include: Jimmy Page (guitar on “One Hit”), Bobby Womack (guitar on “Back To Zero” and “Hold Back” and back up vocals on “Harlem Shuffle”, “Stictly Memphis”, and “One Hit”), Don Covay (backing vocals on “One Hit”), Jimmy Cliff (backing vocals on “Too Rude”), Beverly D’Angelo (backing vocals on “One Hit”), the late Kristy MacCool, Patti Scialfa, Tom Waits, Chuck Leavell, Ivan Neville, drummers Anton Fig, Charley Drayton and Steve Jordan, Alan Rogan, Janice Pendrarvis, Paul Schaffer, etc.
Back To Zero includes two early versions of “Sleep Tonight”. The first take has no backing vocals and the second has additional guitars in the mix. The first “Too Rude” is an early take and the second contains backing vocals. “Fight” in an instrumental and “Baby You’re Too Much” has no sax. The second take with Bobby Keys on sax is missing from this release. The first version of “One Hit” is almost finished with alternate lyrics and the second has backing vocals. Jimmy Page’s guitar contribution is very noticeable and sounds fantastic, with the run off sounding like “Darlene” from Led Zeppelin’s Coda.
There are three takes of “Harlem Shuffle” with the first having spoken words, the second with no spoken words nor backing vocals and the third with finished introduction and backing vocals. “Strictly Memphis” is a duet with Bobby Womack and additional vocals. “Invitation” (a made up title) has Bobby Womack and Don Covay on vocals. Overall the sessions are very enjoyable with some interesting bits and comes recommended. It is more comprehensive than the previous VGP release and the artwork as usual is very nice.