Tom Baker is the closest thing this city has to Paul Westerberg. He’s also the man responsible for creating the ragtag group of rock ‘n’ roll revelers know as The Dirty Truckers.
The Dirty Truckers share a kindred spirit with The Replacements. The Boston band’s debut record, Bush League Romance, feels as rough and tumble as the those of their Minneapolis forefathers. “Been Around” and “The Rise & Fall” sound like they could have been on Let It Be or Tim. “Settle Down” is cut from the same cloth and is still a live favorite. The ripping “Any Offers” would be a better fit on Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash. We’re even treated to a cover of “Sixteen Blue” (there’s a cover of Squeeze’s “In Quintessence”, but I’m foolishly and stubbornly talking about The ‘Mats right now).
The record also has a ‘90s indie rock vibe to it at times. “Backpack” could have been a hit on WBRU back in the day. “Thanksgiving” has a J Mascis-esque guitar solo (by David Minehan) that soars over its plaintive intro. On “The Bar” we get our first glimpse of Tom Baker’s love for The Rolling Stones, an influence that becomes more prominent on later Truckers’ records.
While the songs may not be quite as hooky as those to come, Bush League Romance is a solid rock record by a band that has become a perennial favorite around town. The Dirty Truckers know how to play good old fashioned rock n’ roll. We’re lucky’ to have ‘em.
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