Dirty Tricks


Band members                         Related acts

  line up 1 (1974-75)

- Johnny Fraser-Binnie -- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

- Terry Horbury -- bass, backing vocals

- Kenny Stewart -- vocals

 

  line up 2 (1975)

- Johnny Fraser-Binnie -- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

- Terry Horbury -- bass, backing vocals

NEW - John Lee -- drums, percussion

- Kenny Stewart -- vocals

 

  line up 2 (1977)

NEW - Andy Biernie -- drums, percussion, backing vocals (replaced 

  John Lee)

- Johnny Fraser-Binnie -- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

- Terry Horbury -- bass, backing vocals

- Kenny Stewart -- vocals

 

  line up 3 (2009

NEW - Fingerthumbs -- bass

- Johnny Fraser-Binnie -- guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

NEW - Richard Maracanjelo -- drums

NEW - Richard O'Donoghue -- drums

- Kenny Stewart -- vocals

 

d

- Ariel (John Lee)

- Blackfeather (John Lee)

- The Cream Revival Band (Terry Horbury)

- Dingoes (John Lee)

- Dorian Gray (Andy Bierne)

- French Kiss (Kenny Stewart)

- Grand Prix (Andy Bierne)

- Informer (Kenny Stewart)

- Lionheart (Andy Bierne)

- Praying Mantis (Andy Bierne)

- Rogue Male (Johnny Fraser-Binnie)

- Scorched Earth (Andy Bierne)

- Sidewinder (Kenny Stewart)

- Stairway to Zeppelin (Andy Bierne, Johnny Fraser-Binnie, Terry Horbury,

  and Kenny Stewart)

- Vardis (Terry Horburt)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Hit & Run

Company: Polydor

Catalog: PD-1-6104
Year: 1977

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6236

Price: $15.00

 

Following a personnel change that saw drummer John Lee replaced by Andy Bierne (brother of lead guitarist Johnny Fraser-Binnie), the band returned with their third and final studio set.  Produced by Tony Visconti, to my ears 1977's "Hit & Run" really didn't sound that much different than the first two studio sets, which meant it was firmly encompassed in that mid-1970s English hard-rock genre (Bad Company, Free, Judas Priest, etc.),  that was largely wiped off the face of the earth by the arrival of punk and new wave.  Mind you, nothing here even came close to showing an ounce of originality. but anyone who enjoyed the likes of the bands mentioned above was probably going to find this quite enjoyable (I'm guessing we're talking a heavily male demographic in their late teens and early twenties).  Material like the title track' and 'Iíve Had These Dreams Before' aptly showcased the band's strengths and weaknesses.  In the strength category, like Def Leppard, these guys were smart enough to recognize the value of a catchy rock melody, so virtually every one of these eight tracks had at least some hook to capture your ear.  Another position; Fraser-Binnie was a first-rate lead guitarist.  Yeah, he may have lacked the diversity of some of his better known counterparts, but hard rock was not a problem for this guy.   Less impressive was the band's rather limited repertoire.  Hard rock was their chosen field and with the possible exceptions of 'Road To Deriabah' and 'Lost In The Past' which embraced a touch of the progressive genre, hard rock's what they focused on.  That said, the band's biggest limitation was probably lead singer Stewart.  Stewart wasn't bad, rather he simply didn't have the greatest range you've ever heard, with much of his work having a dry, strained and pinched edge that left you wondering if he was going to make it through a song without breaking down.  To my ears he sounded a bit like Stevie Winwood (had Winwood decided to pursue a hard rock career).  Still, taken one at a time, virtually every one of these eight tracks was pretty good with 'Walkin' Tall' and the atypical ballad 'Lost In the Past' standing as personal favorites. 

 

- A pounding bar-band rocker, 'Hit And Run' reflected all the subtlety of a sledgehammer which was actually a good way to start this set off.  As discussed above, this particular performance captured the best and the worst of the band, though I always loved the 'no problem' ending ...   rating: *** stars

- With a bouncy melody and some of Fraser-Binnie's most melodic leads, 'Get Out On The Street' was a surprisingly catchy performance.  Elsewhere, the group harmony vocals reminded me of something out of the Status Quo catalog.   rating: *** stars

- Reminiscent of AC/DC, 'The Gamble' found the band adding a touch of funk to their patented sound.  The lyrics may have cherry picked dozens of other hard rock songs, but the song's slithery edge was actually quite impressive; Fraser-Binnie turning in another impressive performance with Stewart's vocal really recalling Stevie Winwood this time around.   rating: *** stars

- Penned by Horbury, 'Road To Deriabah'  found the band taking a tentative stab at adding a progressive flavor to their patented rock sound.   Mind you, nobody was about to mistakes these guys for Genesis, but once again the results proved surprisingly enjoyable.    rating: *** stars

- 'Iíve Had These Dreams Before' found the band returning to straight-ahead conventional rock.  The only real standout on this one was the abrupt shift in direction towards the end of the song which gave Fraser-Binnie an opportunity to trot out some interesting guitar effects.    rating: *** stars

- With one of Stewart's best vocals, 'Walkiní Tall' was another track that somehow managed to be better than the sum of its parts.  Again, nothing original to be found here, but a nice hook and some tasty guitar effects made all the difference in the world.    rating: **** stars

- A professional, but somewhat anonymous performance, 'Last Night Of Freedom' had two interesting facets - some nice bass from Horbury and some double tracked lead guitar from Fraser-Binnie.  Other than that, can't say much stuck in my head.    rating: ** stars

- Another modest break with their patented bar band roots, 'Lost In The Past' was a slow, atmospheric ballad that sounded a bit like Paul Rodgers and Free trying to show they had a sensitive side.  The song itself was quite pretty, though the lyrical attempt to say something important  left something to be desired.     rating: **** stars  

 

I won't say these guys would be my first choice for mid-1970s English hard rock bands, but they make for interesting second tier contenders and given my limited expectations, the resulting album was far better than I would have expected.

 

"Hit & Run" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hit And Run   (Kenny Stewart - Johnny Fraser-Binnie - Terry Horbury - Andy Bierne) - 3:13
2.) Get Out On The Street   (Kenny Stewart -
Johnny Fraser-Binnie - Terry Horbury - Andy Bierne) - 5:53
3.) The Gamble   (Kenny Stewart -
Johnny Fraser-Binnie) - 5:24
4.) Road To Deriabah   (
Terry Horbury) - 4:15

 

(side 2)
1
.) Iíve Had These Dreams Before   (Kenny Stewart - Johnny Fraser-Binnie) - 6:21
2.) Walkiní Tall   (Kenny Stewart -
Johnny Fraser-Binnie) - 3:52
3.) Last Night Of Freedom 
   (Kenny Stewart - Johnny Fraser-Binnie - Terry Horbury - Andy Bierne)- 3:55
4.) Lost In The Past   (Kenny Stewart -
Johnny Fraser-Binnie) - 4:38

 

 

After the band called it quits Bierne, Fraser-Binnie, and Horbury briefly hooked up with a newly-post Black Sabbath Ozzie Osbourne.  The partnership didn't last very long, coming to an end when Osbourne rejoined Black Sabbath.. 

 

- Bierne reappeared playing with the bands Grand Prix, Lionhart, Praying Mantis, Scorched Earth, and Scorched Earth.  

- Fraser-Binnie ended up with the metal band Rogue Male.  

- Horbury reappeared in the metal band Vardie.   He also found time to become a member of The Cream Revival Band.

- Stewart spent time with Sidewinder, French Kiss, and Informer. 

 

Fraser-Binnie, Horbury, and Stewart subsequently continued their partnership in the Zeppelin cover band Stairway To Zeppelin.  

 

In 2004 the entire Dirty Tricks catalog was subsequently reissued on CD by the small  Majestic Rock Records label (catalog number MAJCD031).  The "Hit & Run" reissue came with a pair of live tracks.  Recorded at a 1976 performance at San Antonio's Randy's Rodeo Club, I don't know how much post-production work was done on these songs, but they sounded pretty good to my ears:

 

- You Really Got Me  (Ray Davies) - 3:41
- Get Out On The Street - 6:53

 

 

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