Power trios were a popular draw in the early days of American hard rock. In 1971, NY band Dust were right on the frontline.
Written by: gdmonline
LABEL: Kama Sutra Records
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Richie Wise – vocals, guitars * Kenny Aaronson – bass * Mark Bell – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Stone Woman * 02 Chasin’ Ladies * 03 Goin’ Easy * 04 Love Me Hard * 05 From A Dry Camel * 06 Often Shadows Felt * 07 Loose Goose
Featuring one of the most macabre looking record covers ever, American legends Dust were at the forefront of true American heavy rock with this scorcher of an LP way back in the dim dark days of 1971. Starting life off in the late 60’s, the trio were all relatively young at this point, using Kenny Kerner as their non-musical resource for things such as lyrics and management.
Signed to the Kama Sutra label, which had its origins as far back as 1964, the label featured other notables such as The Loving Spoonful and The Jaggerz, which featured a certain Dominic Ierace, a.k.a Donnie Iris.
American critics being what they were at the time, threw plaudits out about the band in much the same way as fishermen chuck out bait. Comparing Dust to Black Sabbath in the heaviness stakes might’ve been a bit off the mark, perhaps a closer fit being Mountain. But in saying that, for seven songs, Dust are all over the musical map, with a plethora of differing styles, but it still makes for a compelling listen, considering this is 1971 we are talking about.
Richie Wise is really the ringleader here, his singing and slide guitar playing is top-notch. Though this album appears at the infancy of the American heavy metal movement, it actually has a lot in common with that southern rock-hard rock crossover from the late 70’s.
The aforementioned slide guitar from Wise is apparent on the melodic ‘Stone Woman’, which has more in common with the Allman Brothers and their southern ilk. Dust step on the accelerator for ‘Chasin’ Ladies’, Aaronson’s bass work is fluid and fast paced, while the whole arrangement just smokes!
‘Goin’ Easy’ meanwhile, goes in the other direction. The lazy hazy sound is a relaxing stroll through the countryside, as acoustic rhythms and a slide guitar presence occupy the song mostly. The band lift the tempo for the tempestuous ‘Love Me Hard’, though the mid-section has some stop/start passages for contrast.
Just quite what the lyrical message was behind ‘From A Dry Camel’ I’m not so sure. Certainly it’s one of the more interesting tracks here, as well being the longest at close to ten minutes. It plods along mainly, the bass sounds like a synth bass, and the arrangement doesn’t move a great deal, until the mid section, where things start to heat up. I guess the word ‘epic’ springs to mind, epic in length, but not as in ‘classic’. Also, I am guessing that with this track, the band felt compelled to put a picture of a camel on the back cover!
Changing masks yet again is the sweet acoustic moment ‘Often Shadows Felt’. Beyond the minimised electric guitars, the rhythm section still keep this track ticking away. This one shows Dust in their melodic prime. The band finish things off with the near four minute instrumental ‘Loose Goose’, a high-stepping metronome challenged workout.
The band only lasted two albums worth, folding some time in 1972. All the band members went on to remarkable careers beyond this. Aaronson played with Stories immediately following his stint in Dust, then moved on to play with Joan Jett, Billy Idol, Billy Squier and HSAS (Hagar, Schon, Aaronson and Shrieve) during the 80’s.
Marc Bell hooked on with The Ramones, renamed himself Marky Ramone and played with them during the 1979-1984 timeframe. He is still very much active in the music industry today. Richie Wise and Kenny Kerner moved into production, working with the likes of Stories (their third album), Badfinger and Kiss in those early days. The album saw releases in 1989 through Repetoire Records, and in 1992 through Canadian label Undisc. It should be very easy to track down.