The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world








Last Bandit
I Don't Want You to go
How Come it never Rains
Everything I Want
Billy Two Rivers
How do you Fall in Love Again
State I'm In
In the Dynamite Jet Saloon
Swingin' The Bottle
Wait Until I'm Dead


I’ve been anticipating this one eagerly since Tyla floated the idea last year, and here it finally is: the reworking of the classic Dogs D’Amour album ‘In the Dynamite Jet Saloon’:  an album that was, and still is, one of my personal favourites of the time.


For those of you not around back in 1988 when the album of the same name was originally released The Dogs once threatened to make it big, eventually bothering the upper end of the charts in their native UK with their blend of Faces-like swagger and glam/sleaze leanings all underpinned by some fine songs. They even appeared on the iconic UK chart show Top of the Pops miming badly and singing a song about being in love with a bottle! Somewhere along the line it all went wrong (but that’s another story we’ll talk about in our forthcoming interview with the man himself).


The Dogs left us with some wonderful music, and albums like ‘Jet Saloon’; ‘Straight’ and ‘Errol Flynn’ (or ‘King of Thieves’ as it was renamed for the US market). In fact Tyla really never went away, and while the ‘classic; line-up of the Dogs faded away he continued on with various versions of the band, recorded a few more albums as The Dogs D’Amour or Tyla and the Dogs and put out an impressive assortment of solo albums along the way. To me he’s always been one of my favourite songwriters and anyone listening to this will see why he is such an important if undervalued artist.


So back to the Saloon then! Anyone casting an eye over the track listing of the MMXI version will see that things ain’t quite what they used to be.  Just like visiting any old watering-hole you frequented in your youth after an absence of years things have changed, and here at the ‘Jet Saloon’ it’s no different. While the regulars are still propping up the bar there’s a few new faces and things have been shuffled around.


Of the original 10 Dynamite Jet saloon tracks (13 if you had the CD as we are looking back to the days of vinyl and picture discs here!) only: ‘I Don't Want You To Go’; ‘How Come It Never Rains’; ‘Last Bandit’; ‘Everything I Want’; ‘Billy Two Rivers’; ‘Wait Until I'm Dead’; ‘Sometimes’ and ‘State I'm In’ remain.  


Five tracks from the original release: ‘Debauchery’; ‘Medicine Man’; ‘Gonna Get It Right’; ‘Heartbreak’ and ‘The Kid From Kensington’ are notable by their absence and replaced by reworkings of earlier Dog’s tracks: ‘Heroine’; ‘How do you Fall in Love Again’; ‘In the Dynamite Jet Saloon’; ‘Swingin' The Bottle’ and ‘Wait Until I'm Dead’.


So the big important question is how does it sound? It’s hard to win when an artist re-releases a reworking of a classic album: there are all the usual cat-calls that they are just cashing in or rehashing things for the sake of it. Rarely do you get the right balance and even more rarely do you come away knowing that the artist in question has hit the nail firmly on the head and added to their legacy. I will stick my neck out now and say that this is one of those rare cases.


For those of you out their unfamiliar with Tyla and The Dogs D’Amour this is a perfect introduction and for those of you already in the know this is an essential purchase.


‘Last Bandit’ a song that always used to open the live show back in the day sounds wonderful here and has benefited from a new lick of paint. The soul of the song is still there, and the guitar just seems somehow fresher and cleaner without detracting from what I would consider one of the Dogs classics.


‘Sometimes’ that follows really puts you at rest: the old place hasn’t changed too much. I think  it’s hearing Tyla’s wonderful lyrics kick in after the faithful intro that makes you realise that he’s got the balance right. There’s a new solo that seems to fit perfectly and I come away happy.


It was always going to be hard for me to hear the next two tracks ‘I Don’t Want you to Go’ and ‘How Come It Never Rains’; two songs that just meant so much to be back in my youth and still do. After the first few listens I wasn’t convinced at all by the laid back run through the former, but I’m first to admit that I’m wrong, whilst it may not quite have the immediacy and the flavour of the original that cements it firmly for me in 1988 this new perspective on the song only goes to show what a timeless song it really is. ‘Rains’ is another story entirely and like the ‘Dynamite Remix’ back in 1988 added to the earlier version of the song the MMXI version is another great version of what has to be one of my favourite songs of any era. A wonderful ballad with some great lyrics that loses none of its power even 23 years later.


Four songs in I’m quite staggered by how good this is. Back in the day The Dogs D’Amour was one of the best Rock and Roll bands out there, a great live band with some real magic in their song-writing, and this is the proof and the reason why I still stand by that statement. ‘Dynamite Saloon’ is as good a reminder you could have of that and if you are new to the band as good an introduction as you could wish for.


‘Everything I Want’ channels the flavour of the original whilst adding to it and there’s a great new solo that just fits so well. ‘Heroine’ is Tyla’s most reworked song and of the versions out there this is just as credible as any other, restrained with the lyrics shining through it’s an old song that feels comfortable in this new skin.


Of the older songs that made it here we get some of my favourite moments. I’ve always been a sucker for Tyla’s paean to that great Englishman Tony Hancock and whilst you can’t beat Tony’s own spoken outtro on the ‘Unofficial Bootleg’ version ‘Wait Until I’m Dead’ has really benefited from the updating we get a more laid back version here, less frayed around the edges, but with a nice guitar refrain and a solo that just fits so well, it seems to lose none of the power of the original. Elsewhere the minor classics ‘Swingin’ the Bottle’ and ‘How Do You Fall in Love Again’ also seem to have grown into their new skins.  Throughout the album the quality of Tyla’s song-writing gets the chance to shine through, highlighted beautifully by the new arrangements.


This is a great reworking of a classic with a twist and Tyla has done a wonderful job breathing new life into the collection here whilst remaining symathetic to the originals. A bit like working on a ‘listed building’ the things you loved about the original are all still there sympathetically restored. Lyrically I've always considered Tyla a master and some of the slower versions like 'In The Dynamite Jet Saloon' just showcase the careful choice of words and the feel they create. Slower and clearer they take on more power.



Album of the year? At this stage no doubt.



Mark Diggins