The Dirty Knobs sound like old friends on Wreckless Abandon

Mike Campbell’s ridiculously named hobby band The Dirty Knobs step into the limelight on Wreckless Abandon

The Dirty Knobs: Wreckless Abandon album art
(Image: © BMG)

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Across five decades, Mike Campbell averaged two co-writes on every album Tom Petty released. 

On this, his first solo project since Petty passed away, it’s clear that alongside a lesser songwriter he could have had a far higher quota. Heartbreakers fans will love Wreckless Abandon because it tells great stories. 

That Campbell’s singing voice is not a million miles from Petty’s is the cherry on top. And although Campbell describes this as “rougher edged” than his work with Petty, that chiefly means the guitars are louder.

From the irresistible title track to foot stompers such as Southern Boy, from sardonic humour (Sugar) to heavy blues (Don’t Wait, etc), the quality never dips. 

There are nods to J.J. Cale (Fuck That Guy), John Lee Hooker (Don’t Knock The Boogie) and, naturally, his old friend Tom, not least on the country jangle of Irish Girl

In short: 13 hugely enjoyable songs that all sound like old friends.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.