Music News

Dirty Walt and the Columbus Sanatation

When Dirty Walt Kibby helped to assemble the funk/punk/ska unit known as Fishbone back in the mid-'80s, he unleashed a bottled musical genie that has run rampant in the decade and a half since the cork popped. Fishbone has moved through nearly every conceivable contemporary genre with a gritty passion and a boundless, maniacal energy, qualities that have sculpted every Fishbone album to date. With The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx, 'Bone's most recent album (and Hollywood Records debut) earlier this year, the band exhibited an unsettling serenity and smoothness, which may have been its concession to a nervous mainstream label. While there were still any number of successful tracks on Nuttwerx, the album left the impression that Fishbone was hiding a great deal more than it was saying and playing.

With To Put It Bluntly, the first solo album from Dirty Walt (and the Columbus Sanatation, his ostensible band), we get a glimpse of what might have been trimmed from Nuttwerx. Kibby's lyrical concerns run the gamut from the corruption of the presidency ("Who Do You Believe") to life's higher concerns ("Rolling in Many Blunt Ways"), delivered in the kind of language that would make even the saltiest longshoreman blush. Musically Kibby works an old-school vibe that references Fishbone (probably because the majority of the band appears here) but at the same time transcends it. With an ear toward respected old masters like Bootsy Collins and George Clinton, Kibby has managed to stir in more of the undiluted funk ingredients that should have been more prevalent in the last Fishbone outing. As it stands Dirty Walt and the Columbus Sanatation have acquitted themselves effectively with To Put It Bluntly's soulfully raucous workout.

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Brian Baker