Bitter. And Twisted. The perfect Tuesday evening.
While not really doing the spontaneity thing, a last minute whim saw Plunger in darkest Putney for a killer double header, opened by David Migden And The Twisted Roots.
DM&TTR have everything Plunger loves: the right mix of tight-but-loose, sophistication-and-rough edges, sprinkled with a liberal helping of “Genre? What’s that?” The loose-limbed shambling Feat-beat of ‘Wild World’, garnished with slick vocal harmonies, grooving Hammond stabs from Graham Mann and Joe Gibson’s brassy slide, was followed by the slow piano-led sophistication of ‘Heaven’: the perfect showcase for David’s big, treacly, soulful vocal this also featured a moody, singing slide break over fluid jazzy drum and bass from James Sedge and Phil Scragg, and closed with atmospheric piano notes dying away before a rapt, hushed audience.
The deep, ‘Death Came A-knockin’’ spiritual pulse of ‘Top Of The Mountain’ had David turning out quasi-Grandmaster Flash spoken vocal and included an unexpectedly discursive, raw guitar break, and there was more fret-frenzy on ‘Rev Jack Crow’: this percussion-rich, jerky hybrid of Waits, Beefheart and Zappa underpinned by David’s chocolatey baritone featured eerie discord guitar accents and a raucous no-holds-barred solo blending tumbling jazz cadences with harsh string-bend squalls. Joe’s shimmering Paris, Texasslide introduced ‘Desert Inside’, a chicken-pickin’ revivalist footstomper complete with crisp military snare and mulit-part vocal harmonies, ending in a fine bass and scat-singing duet.
Plunger have caught David with various configurations before, but this performance underlined just how good he and his band are: twisted, in all the right ways. Bitter? It was Young’s if I remember rightly.
“Voodoo blues? Jazz-inflected soul? Whatever you call it, the quintet’s current release Animal & Man is a gem. Every tune is laced with compelling imagery and chock full of atmosphere. The playing is top-notch without once going over-the-top and the production lets it all shine through – above all, Migden’s soulful voice, which is almost too pretty for the blues. This brilliantly executed album belongs in the hands of anyone for whom music is the ultimate medicine.”
Vincent Abbate – Blues Music Magazine
Classic Rock Magazine (Germany)
Every once in a while you stumble something a little different and an album that reaffirms your belief in the potency of the independent release. In David Midgen case it’s not so much the wide array of musical genres – spanning, jazz, blues, Americana and soul – as the way he bring his arresting baritone and effortless vocal range to bear on a range of eclectic lyrics and rootsy self penned songs. The result is a surprisingly cogent and accessible album that ebbs and flows as it delivers moments of musical excellence and emotional clarity.
David Migden is based in the UK, but hails from Little Rock,Arkansas and you suspect the imagery of his narratives harks back to his formative years in the south. There’s a troubled undertow to some of his reflective songs, but refreshingly, David is adventurous enough to showcase his Lou Rawls meets Gill Scott Heron style vocals into non traditional musical outlets. And it’s that sense of adventure that makes this record such a triumph.
The band album is credited to David Midgen and the Dirty Words, a word play that reflects some of his lascivious lyrics and the fact that the magnificent musical arrangements and their faultless execution are very much a band effort. He opens with an arresting funky title track, slipping into falsetto mode to deliver the definitive line ‘I’m killing it by degrees’, as a stylish confirmation of his excellence.
You would imagine such a song and the following staccato funk of ‘Blues’ – a title more germane to the lyrical meaning that genre – being on a Bootsy Collins or Mudbone record. He then veers into a mariachi trumpet opening for the bass heavy shuffle meets New Orleans jazz of ‘Old Joe’, and dips into the acoustic ‘Shel’, a narrative led ode to the late American poet/cartoonist Shel Silverstein.
Migden has a talent for eclectic couplets even if the full meaning of the song sometimes evades the listener. But it all generally works well on the back of some subtly interwoven words and snappy arrangements.
In the space of the first 4 tracks he shifts from industrial funk to Harry Chapin mode. And he doesn’t stop there, slipping into a scat intro on ‘D.A.W.T.P.W.M?’ suggesting he’s an overworked muso looking to get his rocks off.
‘Killing It’ is a multi faceted album, but it’s on the more restrained pieces like the piano led ‘Heaven’ and the meditative quasi spiritual ‘The Line’, that David best reveals himself as a magnificent singer with something to say.
The excellent production captures both Migden’s eloquent phrasing and clever word plays and is only a couple of songs short of being truly outstanding. Well worth seeking out. **** (4/5)
Review by Pete Feenstra
Thanks To Liz Aiken for this great review of our Skegness Blues Weekend gig:
Following the jam something completely different and David Migden and the Dirty Words were certainly that! A collective if five extremely talented and versatile individuals who have come together to play as a whole along with the usual instruments and some unusual additions- namely trumpet, trombone and, erm, a megaphone!
In my opinion, these fellas gave one of the best performances of the weekend in Jaks Bar-the hangout of the Blues Matters team- and the crowd were unusually quiet during the performance showing that playing blues that strayed slightly from the 8 bar tradition was a sure way of grabbing our attention from the outset. Fresh from their heat win of The New Brunswick Battle of the Blues in Brighton the night before, we were treated to an eclectic set combining pure blues with blues rock, Americana, funky Jazz and strangely enough some Mariachi the latter of which had people up on the dance floor. ost of the tracks played could be found on their latest album Killing It which was for sale after the gig and garnered the longest queue for merchandise that i saw I weekend.
So, if you are adventurous, in your blues listening get the album for yourselves or failing that bet yourself along to one of their gigs and take it from this eclectic loving reviewer-you won’t be disappointed!
Review on the Bluesdoodle Blog
What a CD, a fresh, unique approach to music this is something a little bit different, that will not be contained within a genre or a mix of genres. If you like your music original with style, verve and energy this CD is for you. From the opening, loud slightly discordant note on the opening title track Killing It through to the melodic fade away on The Line this is a CD to be listened to time and time again, there is nothing boring about the music, lyrics and the production keeps a live edgy feel so the unexpected is just around the corner. This is a complete production the CD makes sense and no song is included as packaging. In an eccentric way the eclectic approach ofDave Migden and The Dirty Words, there is something funky, swampy and on the dark side about this music which is part of Dave’s heritage. Dave, though now based in the U.K., originally hailed from Little Rock, Arkansas and much of the imagery is definitely rooted in the deep south.
There is an experimental edge to the album, reflecting the live performance with the use of a loud-hailer to reflect and give greater texture to his rich baritone voice. This is not a one man show, this is no product of a power guitar leading and other musicians in the band following, this is a true musical collaboration of a group of skillful and adventurous musicians. They are not scared to use the lyrics to state their case as showcased in D.A.W.T.P.W.M; with clever use of falsetto and the incorporation of the horns giving the track a modern twist on the ‘Big Band sound’. When listening do not always expect to understand the musical phrasing or lyrical couplets or the words but as a whole this definitely works for me. This is an album of textures light and dark, sunny and cloudy, rough and the smooth with some pieces showing restraint such as Heaven with the beautiful piano led melody. What stays in your mind though is Dave Migden’s voice that soars through the production and highlights the other instruments and develops the tempo with a voice that is definitely more Black Treacle than Golden Syrup. Listen to the album with open ears, sit back and enjoy the journey.
Review from R2 Magazine
Posted by SteveIAmMusic on January 5, 2013 10:42 pm
Pigeonholing – the entire music industry is rife with it. It’s a marketing tool; an easy way to introduce a new band to a budding audience. We’ve all heard it; ”The new [insert band name here]“, or “they are influenced by [insert artist here]“. Sometimes it’s useful; a simple shortcut to quickly get across what people can expect, but in some cases it can’t be done.
David Migden And The Dirty Words defy categorisation because they are comfortable in so many genres they belong to none. Whether they’re playing blues, folk, americana, roots, soul music, even a touch of samba – this Kent five-piece put on a hell of a live show which they’ve now distilled into excellent debut album Killing It. Check out this mini-documentary about how it was made.
David Migden And The Dirty Words: David Migden (vocals & trumpet), James Sedge (drums), Graham Mann (keys, Percussion, trombone, vocals), Phil Scragg (bass), Joe Gibson (guitar, vocals)
Website ::: http://www.davidmigdenandthedirtywords.com/
Get the album ::: http://davidmigdenandthedirtywords.bandcamp.com/album/killing-it
Jan 18, 2013 Review by Rob Stanley
Recently a little gem landed through the letterbox and that gem is “David Migden and the Dirty Words” second album “Killing it”. I’ve got to be honest, having not heard the band before the first listen left me feeling a little confused, not because it’s a bad album, far from it, but because I was subconsciously trying to pigeon hole the band into a specific genre and it took me a while to realise that you just can’t do that with a band that is so diverse in styles. It would be like comparing the Cullinan Diamond with your mother’s old Luminarc glass collection she bought from Woolworths back in ‘73. It just can’t be done.Although blues based in structure we veer off in several different directions during this 45min epic. Right from the first track ‘Killing It’ with its infectious blues, rock RHCP-feel it gets the feet tapping. Then its straight into the second track ‘Blues’ with its raunchy dirty guitar hook which then switches within a few notes into a funky Americana blues rhythm trailing off with a little techno jazz all tied nicely together with some great bluesy vocals from ‘Migden’. It shouldn’t work but in truth it not only works, it works very well indeed.
Whilst Migden’s vocals are superb throughout, songs like ‘Old Joe’, ‘Rev Jack Crow’ and my personal favourite ‘Heaven’ really demonstrates just how good his vocals are and his ability to paint pictures in your head by simple tonal delivery alone is second to none – the later track making the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention. I do not think I have ever used the word ‘beautiful’ to describe a track before but ‘Heaven’ certainly is a beautiful song.
After listening to this album quite a lot recently it’s fair to say that there is not a single bad song and that Dave Migden & the Dirty Words are not scared of being different. They have managed to successfully blend blues, funk, soul, rock with a little bit of country and come up with an original unique sound they can definitely call their own.
I for one will be keeping a very close eye on the band over the coming year and look forward to catching them live at some point in the not too distant future.
Much thanks to Clare at Outlaw PR for introducing Dave Migden and the Dirty Words into my life. I am forever in your debt!
9 out of 10
For most people living in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, the dream is probably not to go and live in Whitstable, Kent, UK. With all due respect to Whitstable. But that is the route taken by a teenage David Migden and we must all be glad that this happened, as we now have the aural pleasure of David Migden & the Dirty Words; one of the hottest tips of the UK Heritage music scene for 2013.
This is actually their second album, following the previous ‘Second Hand tattoo’, although I will admit that I missed that one. After being tipped off a while ago about ‘Killing It’, I explored further and was very happy that I did.
So, for anyone that hasn’t heard the band, how best to describe the sound? Tricky. There are several different flavours in the mix. Blues. Funk. Soul. Rock. The band themselves say it’s ‘twisted American roots’ and they probably know best. Either way, you can safely file under ‘Great Music’.
Opening with the title track, which is an almost dirty funk tune, it puts you in the right place straight away. You immediately notice what a great and distinctive voice David has and you know that the Dirty Words are a great band too. The pace keeps up with the second track, ‘The Blues’, which is a highlight for me with an extended guitar outro closing the song down.
‘Old Joe’ is up next, a quite laid back and mellow tune featuring some neat brass sections and this leads into ‘Shel Silverstein’, the first of two longer tracks, which brings the vocals to the fore. A nice melody here and a good story, which you should check out. From this, we have ‘D.A.W.T.P.W.M?’ You will have to read the lyrics to find out what this means! A definite Prince influence here, with some very funky rhythms, a great horn section and some outrageous high pitched vocals in the chorus.
Up next, we have ‘Rev. Jack Crow’, a very laid back song but with an unexpected sudden ending. Track seven is probably the centerpiece of the whole album – six minutes plus of ‘Heaven’. I won’t try to describe this one, as I’d prefer you to find this for yourselves but I would recommend listening with your eyes shut and headphones on. A stunning song.
The final section of the album brings us ‘Admiral’, an almost Country feel to this one, very nice. Then, probably the ‘most blues’ track of ‘Desert Inside’, which includes an almost gospel feel to the chorus. Some cool bass and a driving beat introduce us to the up tempo penultimate song, ‘I Can’t See Her Face’, one of my favourite songs here, which then leaves us with the gentle closer, ‘The Line’. Definitely an arm waving anthem to finish.
So – to sum up – what is not to like? Something for everyone here, whatever your mood. A great voice, a great band, a great album and good guys. I might just have to move to Whitstable!
Dave Watkins (Director and Presenter of Blues Train Frome FM)
David Midgen & The Dirty Words
|David Migden & The Dirty Words are ‘Killing It’ with their new albumWhen a band are outstanding on the stage, their studio material can sometimes lack the energy of the performance and get lost in translation. Especially when “their set encompassed a truly startling range, taking in americana, country, funk, jazz, blues, soul, mariachi, samba and rock stylings”. Tying down all these genres into a coherent collection of 11 songs is never going to be easy. Fortunately, we needn’t have worried.Naturally, the billowing live sound is here replaced with tight studio production, highlighting every stab, offbeat and syncopation over the course of the 45 minute running time. The album opens with a number of tracks which call to mind ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ era Red Hot Chili Peppers – rhythm guitar, funk bass, jazz chords and gruff vocal all coming together on ‘Killing It’ and ‘Blues’ to set the tone for the rest of the album. The attention to detail is impressive, not a single piece of the puzzle out of place.
Further highlights include ‘Shel’ (available to download free on the bands Facebook page) which moves the album in a more acoustic direction and includes lovely flowing keys and drum parts, while ‘Rev Jack Crow’ leans heavily on grimy jazz chords and a half-time tempo that drags out every inch of atmosphere from an excellent track. Towards the end of the album, the mood shifts in a more country/gospel direction for ‘Desert Inside’, while album closer ‘The Line’ is a beautifully mellow ending to everything that has gone before.
Conclusion? Whether live or in the studio, David Migden & The Dirty Words are a band that ooze class.
Review by Nigel Roberts of Labeled Independent
Blues music always weirds me out. It often strikes as a little limited, with only repetitive chord progressions and a ubiquitous 12 bar beat tapping at my brain until it seizes up in anguish at the blatant unoriginality of it all. But it’s never long before I fall in love with the genre all over again and listen non-stop for a whole day, pretending i’m making a beeline for the sunset on a Southern state freight train.
Well, today looks to be one of those days and I can thank Dave Midgen & The Dirty Words for the pleasure. And you can join me in Blues rediscovery, as Dave and his band are currently giving away ‘Shel’, a gloriously sun-kissed lament to all those words “You can’t take back”.
Grab your free copy here.
‘Shel’ is taken from The Dirty Words’ latest album Killing It, which you can delight in below.
Blues is always better live, so keep an eye on their website for upcoming tour dates.
By Ian Horrocks
Follow Ian on Twitter for more free downloads @ihorrocks379
Album Review – David Migden & The Dirty Words – ‘Killing It’ – Out Now
|Review by Steve BonifaceHaving recently written a very positive live review for David Migden & The Dirty Words (http://www.mydadrocks.co.uk/indie-music-reviews/3259-live-review-david-migden-a-the-dirty-words-bar-10-maidstone-301112.html), it may surprise you to learn we approached their album with a certain amount of trepidation. When a band are outstanding on the stage, their studio material can sometimes lack the energy of the performance and get lost in translation. Especially when “their set encompassed a truly startling range, taking in americana, country, funk, jazz, blues, soul, mariachi, samba and rock stylings”. Tying down all these genres into a coherent collection of 11 songs is never going to be easy. Fortunately, we needn’t have worried.Naturally, the billowing live sound is here replaced with tight studio production, highlighting every stab, offbeat and syncopation over the course of the 45 minute running time. The album opens with a number of tracks which call to mind ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ era Red Hot Chili Peppers – rhythm guitar, funk bass, jazz chords and gruff vocal all coming together on ‘Killing It’ and ‘Blues’ to set the tone for the rest of the album. The attention to detail is impressive, not a single piece of the puzzle out of place.Further highlights include ‘Shel’ (available to download free on the bands Facebook page) which moves the album in a more acoustic direction and includes lovely flowing keys and drum parts, while ‘Rev Jack Crow’ leans heavily on grimy jazz chords and a half-time tempo that drags out every inch of atmosphere from an excellent track. Towards the end of the album, the mood shifts in a more country/gospel direction for ‘Desert Inside’, while album closer ‘The Line’ is a beautifully mellow ending to everything that has gone before.Conclusion? Whether live or in the studio, David Migden & The Dirty Words are a band that ooze class. One of the albums of the year.Review by Steve Boniface
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Live Review – David Migden & The Dirty Words – Bar 10, Maidstone – 30/11/12
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:49
Review by Steve Boniface
South east UK band David Migden & The Dirty Words are a truly unique proposition, a collective of 5 genuinely talented, old school musicians with a wealth of experience that shows in their music and live performance. Over the course of almost two hours of music their set encompassed a truly startling range, taking in americana, country, funk, jazz, blues, soul, mariachi, samba and rock stylings, all the while retaining a distinct sound of their own. Impressive isn’t the word.It’s refreshing to know that there are still bands out there that defy catergorisation without being self-consciously ‘alternative’. This is a group that simply write and play music that they love and is easy to fall in love with – no pretentiousness, no ‘try hard’ habits or tics – just an ability to create complex, layered songs utilising their multi-instrumental talents and an inherent understanding of what sounds good. To try and describe their sound in words is something of a fool’s errand, as by focussing on one area of strength seems to distract from another aspect of their excellent performance. From the tight, staccato stabs that show up in some of their songs to the Little Rock Arkansas drawl of vocalist David Migden, this is a band that should be seen to be appreciated.
The greatest thing overall though is the fact that, for all the careful structuring of these songs and the obvious care that’s gone into them, they sound simple and accessible. We had never heard a note of David Migden & the Dirty Words before taking our seat in the bar, but the performance and quality were so immediate and easy to understand that our feet were tapping by the first chorus. If you have an appreciation for live music played by genuinely talented people, you owe it to yourself to check these guys out.Love discovering new music? Subscribe to My Dad Rocks’ partner podcast Labelled Independent to receive free episodes direct to your device of choice:
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Thanks to Carolyn Gray for this mention on her blog.
Trinity Session Gig 20/10/12
Anyone who had seen and heard David Migden and the Dirty Words in the summer knew what to expect with the headline act. Starting with ‘Rev Jack Crow’, they played lots of tracks from their well promoted second album, ‘Killing It’, and went on to perform two encores, a first for Local and Live Sessions. My favourite track is ‘Heaven’, but then what do I know? A set full of funky, blues, Trinity theatre was full of sound that filled your soul like a marching band, and encouraged audience participation. The only downside of Trinity is it’s seating, as by the end everyone was foot tapping and head swaying, but, mostly, sitting down. David Migden is also here on wordpress but really, go and listen live!
The American dream
More than 100 bands from Kent take to the stage at the free Local and Live Festival. Yet headliners David Migden and the Dirty Words will bring some of the Americana roots underbelly of Arkansas to the four-day event, writes Chris Price.
One thing is certain when David Migden and the Dirty Words headline the Local and Live Festival – David will get out his megaphone. “Some people like to listen to a voice just the way it is, but I like to pull away from that and make it a little bit nasty,” said the Kent-born but US-raised front man. “I don’t want to just make music which is pretty. I want to make music which is ugly as well. The megaphone is just another way of making my voice sound – and visually it looks interesting.” That earthy, warts-and-all style has earned David and his band top billing at the free festival on the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells, which runs from Friday, August 24 until Bank Holiday Monday. They headline on Sunday as part of the showcase of more than 100 acts from the county. “It’s a fantastic festival,” said David, who has lived in Whitstable for 10 years with his wife and children. “It is a really positive thing for the community. There seems to be a real energy about the whole music scene in Tunbridge Wells. “A lot of that is down to [festival organiser] Paul Dunton and his weekly live music nights at the Grey Lady, which has created a fan base where people are really open to hearing original stuff. “We loved playing there last year and we are seriously looking forward to headlining this year.” All this is a far cry from the lakes and snakes of Little Rock, Arkansas, where David grew up. Born in Chatham, his family moved to the USA when David was a toddler and did not move back to Kent until he was 18. His father a musician and his mother a dancer and choreographer, he moved from Tunbridge Wells to Whitstable to pursue his musical career. “My biggest influence has been listening to my father’s record collection,” he said. “Having music around all the time and both my parents being in the entertainment industry made the option of making a living as a musician much more acceptable to them. “I used to do loads of gigs in Whitstable and it is a real music town. It is quite a happening place really. Lots of musicians live there and the place has such a good vibe about it so I decided to move. Maybe it was a strange decision as I had only ever seen the town at night.” The band launch their new album, Killing It, during their headline slot at Local and Live. David has done many albums before, releasing his record Little Stranger as a solo artist before he teamed up with the Dirty Words and released Second Hand Tattoo. The band also featured on the soundtrack of the film Mr Nice starring Rhys Ifans, covering Don’t Bogart That Joint with BJ Cole on pedal steel guitar. The latest record is typical of the band’s blues roots crossover, with some funk, country and rock influences. “One of the most amazing influences on this record has been other musicians,” said David. “It has been about listening to what other people listen to and the people in my band. I write the music but when we come to rehearsal, the music comes to life as people put in their own ideas and personality.”
The image above is taken from the January 2012 edition of ‘So Tunbridge Wells’ magazine.
DAVID MIGDEN AND THE DIRTY WORDS:
SECOND HAND TATTOO REVIEW
Southern American roots are written all over this colourful second album. Despite David Migden’s classical musician father trying to insist that he pursue a career in his footsteps, he’s emerging as a contemporary fusion of blue-eyed soul shouter and Beefheartian swamp growler, with a voice to reckon with and a pocket full of voodoo.
The opening track bursts with white boy soul, funky bass and piano runs. Hold Me Close is a great singalong about the security of being in a solid relationship: ”gotta hold me close no matter how bad I smell”. It’s a great way to open an album: Migden’s growl and whine can bring the house down on its own.
DAVID MIDGEN AND THE DIRTY WORDS
Music on the Meadow
David Migden & The Dirty Words are an edgy and unique band of musicians. With a combination of Blues, Country, Jazz, Mariachi and Rock the band produces a sound that can only be described as “Twisted American Roots”.
David Migden & The Dirty Words invite you into an unpredictable and beautiful universe of lonely planets in love with comets, nano technology and a strange man trying to sell second hand tattoos that he found in a graveyard by the light of the moon.
David Migden was raised in Little Rock Arkansas. He moved to the UK as a teenager and was brought up on a musical mix of classical, jazz, blues, country and rock & roll. Having performed in numerous outfits around London and appearing on various album releases, David has gained critical acclaim for his song writing and unique soulful voice.
Click for Play Magazine Dirty Words Article