Certain Songs #626: Hoodoo Gurus – “Dressed in Black”

Hoodoo gurus kinky Album: Kinky
Year: 1991

After four good-to-great albums in a row, the Hoodoo Gurus finally stumbled with 1991’s Kinky and 1994’s Crank, both of which suffered from songwriting that just wasn’t up to their previous standards.

And when you’re a straight-ahead rock and roll band, and all you are ever going to be is a straight-ahead rock and roll band, you live and die on the strength of your songwriting, and — for the most part, those two records just didn’t have it.

There were exceptions, of course: the wistful life-on-the-road tune “1,000 Miles Away,” the garagey “Form a Circle,” and the punky b-side, “I Think U Know” were definite signs of life. As was Brad Shepherd’s “Dressed in Black,” which is yet another entry in that small Certain Songs department of songs about wearing black clothes.

Featuring a chiming, droning guitar and a psychedelic rhythm section, “Dressed in Black” wore its Beatles influence in both music & lyrics.

You have been hurt, you’re sorry for yourself
Well, there is no argument
So you retreat, hiding your love away
Well, that is no testament
And you could cry yourself a river
I say damn your eyes
You’re not such a tragic figure – realise

I also love how Shepherd pronounces “figure” as “figger” on last verse, and with drummer Mark Kingsmill alternating between psychedelic backbeats and double times on each verse “Dressed in Black” is content just to ride on its groove, not even bothering with a guitar solo.

“Dressed in Black”

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