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Kali Vermes

Clay Harper ‘”Dirt Yard Street”‘ Track Review

Atlanta's Clay Harper Digs Deep in "Dirt Yard Street"

“Dirt Yard Street” feels so out of place and I mean that in the best possible way. At a time when artists are dropping last minute ‘quarantine singles; left and right, Harper has delivered a proper record. This is the kind of songwriting that would please the ears of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan proud. The titular track is by no means a “single” in the way we’re accustomed to absorbing singles. It serves more as an entryway into LP story that is Dirt Yard Street. I too, believe this is home.

In the ‘80s Harper started a band called The Coolies, deriving the name from a dictionary definition of a coolie: a derogatory word for “one who does heavy work for little pay.” Signed to DB Records, their first album Dig, punk rock covers of Simon and Garfunkel songs, was followed by Doug, recognized as one of the top 14 “Rock Operas of All Time.”

His band Ottoman Empire marked the beginning of an ongoing friendship and collaboration with Stiff Record’s legendary Wreckless Eric. Together they wrote and recorded East of Easter, in the mid ‘90s. Kosmo Vinyl of the Clash and Clay created a 7” “45 of the Month Club” in 1996, just as the cd became the standard platter of choice. He released two children’s albums with his brother Mark and a cast of all-stars, including Moe Tucker, Ian Dury, Cindy Wilson, Susan Cowsill, Bobby Byrd, The Reverend Horton Heat, and Colonel Bruce Hampton.

Dirt Yard Street releases the 2nd of October.

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