Ultimate mixtape 

The Gories
"I Think I've Had It"
From Houserockin' (Wanghead With Lips, 1989)
Garage R&B at its finest, right up there with Willie Dixon's "Hidden Charms," which also found its way onto the Gories debut album. "I really dig you," screams Collins in this desperate original, "but I just can't take it no more!" And the revolution began.

The Gories
"Boogie Chillun"
From Houserockin' (Wanghead With Lips, 1989)
Few can lay claim to covering this John Lee Hooker classic and nearly equaling the original. John Fred and the Playboys did it in 1959, the Gories did it three decades later, and it's doubtful anyone will ever do it again. Not like this, at least.

The Gories
"Thunderbird E.S.Q."
From I Know You Fine (But How You Doin') (New Rose, 1990)
With its infectiously simple chord changes and sleazy inner-city imagery, this maraca-and-tom-tom-fueled ode to fortified wine would have impressed even Leiber and Stoller, whose Coasters classic "Idol With the Golden Head," the Gories also recorded.

The Gories
"Nitroglycerine"
From I Know You Fine (But How You Doin') (New Rose, 1990)
Co-written with Danny Kroha, who admiringly admits that, "Mick came up with the line about dropping a stick of dynamite in a Dixie Cup. I wish I would've thought of that one!"

The Gories
"There But for the Grace of God Go I"
From Outta Here (Crypt, 1992)
Foreshadowing Collins' current focus on urban paranoia, this early disco hit by Machine — a group that featured August Darnell, later of Creole & the Coconuts — fit this so-called "garage band" perfectly.

Lorette Velvette
"Highway Graveyard"
From White Birds (Veracity, 1993)
Sure, it's baffling that Memphis blues chanteuse Lorette Velvette is still obscure, though she's always been admired by collaborators like Mick Collins and Alex Chilton, who accompany her on haunting pieces such as "Winged Serpent," "Godforsaken Town" and this feverish tale of a doomed musician destined to die by the lone highway. Stunning.

The Dirtbombs
"I Can't Stop Thinking About It"
From Horndog Fest (In The Red, 1998)
Right out of the gate, the Dirtbombs deliver the first unforgettable song of their career.

Andre Williams
"The Car With the Star"
From Silky (In The Red, 1998)
Detroit R&B hustler Williams reinvents himself as a jive-talkin' garage-rock icon, with Collins, Kroha and knob-twiddler Jim Diamond at the helm. Like the rest of the album, this tale of backwoods bootlegging and a bad-to-the-bone sheriff is every bit as good as those old Fortune Records classics that made Williams an underground legend.

The Dirtbombs
"Motor City Baby"
From Dangerous Magical Noise (In the Red, 2003)
With a primal rhythm and straightforward chord changes that recall "Thunderbird E.S.Q.," this is just the latest anthem for a city that's had many — from Ronnie Abner's "Detroit, Michigan" to Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues."

The Dirtbombs
"Don't Break My Heart"
From Dangerous Magical Noise (In The Red, 2003)
Collins may scream about being "Stuck in Thee Garage" later on the same album, but if this kind of raging punk abandon hardly heard since the glory days of the Sonics — is the result, perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

The Dirtbombs
"Tina Louise"
From If You Don't Already Have a Look (In The Red, 2005)
Written offhandedly and quickly forgotten about, this is a great Dirtbombs moment. Collins calls out to the former fire-headed Gilligan's Island beauty to save us from cosmetically boring females like Tori Spelling. "Oh, Tina, come back to us, show us how it should be!"

The Dirtbombs
"Encrypted"
From If You Don't Already Have a Look (In the Red, 2005)
Originally released on the Australian Chariots of the Gods EP, which Collins referred to as the band's "Britpop Record," this hook-heavy hunk of classic sugary pop puts Oasis and their ilk to shame.

The Dirtbombs
"Your Love Belongs Under a Rock"
From Ultraglide in Black (In the Red, 2001)
Most artists wouldn't put an original song on a concept album of R&B covers — let alone make it sound as good as its high-powered company — but most artists aren't Mick Collins.

The Dirtbombs
"Ode to a Black Man"
From Ultraglide in Black (In the Red, 2001)
The song that inspired Ultraglide, written by Thin Lizzy front man Phil Lynott, this harp-heavy anthem of racial misunderstanding is in brilliant company among Collins' renditions of Gamble and Huff's "Livin' for the Weekend" and Barry White's "I'm Qualified to Satisfy You."

The Dirtbombs
"Chains Of Love"
From Ultraglide in Black (In the Red, 2001)
Written by Melvin Davis and popularized by J.J. Barnes, the Detroit soul legends both saw a payday when Julian Schnabel adopted Collins' version of this Groovesville gem for his 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

The Dirtbombs
"Here Comes That Sound Again"
From If You Don't Already Have a Look (In the Red, 2005)
It's hard to believe that anyone — even Mick Collins — could pen a song as instantaneously and eerily familiar as this one and not immediately become famous.

The Voltaire Brothers
"Trouble Man Everyday"
From I Sing the Booty Electric (Fall of Rome, 2003)
When Collins and childhood friend Jerome Gray sampled the Reverend Minister Doctor Overseer Jamaal Shabazz X during a street preaching session in Hart Plaza, he attacked the evils of Malt Liquor, Popeye's Chicken and neckties, which he characterized as "The noose (the white man) has around your mind, the noose that he has around your soul!" After secretly recording him, they proceeded to build a brilliant funk track around his unforgettable sermon.

The Dirtbombs
"Cedar Point '76"
From If You Don't Already Have a Look (In the Red, 2005)
One day Collins and Dirtbombs co-conspirator Jim Diamond were recalling their days as awkward teens hopelessly lusting after girls by the pinball machine. So they wrote a song about it.

The Dirtbombs
"Ever Lovin' Man"
From We Have You Surrounded (In the Red, 2008)
With doomsday descending, Collins doesn't waste a moment dwelling on the flames and smoke of his crumbling world; instead, he takes this last opportunity to declare his undying love to his lady before it's all, truly, too late. This song's plot is almost cinematic; perhaps the result of Collins' late-night B-movie complex.

The Dirtbombs
"Wreck My Flow"
From We Have You Surrounded (In the Red, 2008)
Everyone said it had to be the album's single, and no wonder, what with its hilariously robotic dance rhythm that almost brings to mind the halcyon days of Cameo. Rumor has it that the 12-inch single mix is awaiting release.

More by Michael Hurtt

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