Today we feature one of the many brave foot-soldiers from the massed battalions of singer-songwriters who signed up to fight the good fight in the 1970s only to be mown down in their hundreds at the turn of the 1980s. Those of you who consider yourself veterans of the punk wars may sneer, but remember that the enemy were humans too.
The brave soldier in question is Dirk Hamilton, and happily he is still plugging away, like one of those Japanese soldiers who used to intermittently emerge from the undergrowth in Micronesia (to extend the military metaphor way past the point where it works). He had his shot at the big time in the second half of the 1970s with two albums on ABC Records and two more on Elektra/ Asylum. He then took a bit of a break before coming back in the late 1980s, since when he has been releasing albums under his own steam at regular intervals. And he is still gigging regularly in Texas, California and Italy (which was where he has his greatest commercial success). More details are available on his website.
I picked up last year vinyl copies of his two albums on Elektra, "Meet Me At The Crux" (1978) and "Thug Of Love" (1980). There is a very clear Van Morrison influence - which is no bad thing - and there are also hints of early Bruce Springsteen and Steve Forbert, which is no surprise as they were both pretty heavily influenced by Van around that time. While I wouldn't say Dirk was a lost genius, there is certainly enough good stuff on those two albums to suggest that with a few breaks he could have been much better known than he is.
Here are a couple of tracks from each album. Apologies for the sound quality.
"How Do You Fight Fire?" - Dirk Hamilton (1978)
"Every Inch A Moon" - Dirk Hamilton (1978)
"Colder Than Mexican Snow" - Dirk Hamilton (1980)
"Wholly Bowled Over" - Dirk Hamilton (1980)
I don't know whether Dirk wore white sox.