Sunday, 3 June 2018

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - New Boots & Panties (1977)

Knock me down with a feather....


Released September 1977

Recorded at The Workhouse, London

Originally released in September 1977, Ian Dury's impressive debut album that saw new wave meet music hall vaudeville has been nicely remastered here to celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

TRACK LISTING (original album)

1. Wake Up And Make Love With Me

2. Sweet Gene Vincent
3. I'm Partial To Your Abracadabra
4. My Old Man
5. Billericay Dickie
6. Clevor Trever
7. If I Was With A Woman
8. Blockheads
9. Plaistow Patricia
10. Blackmail Man                                          

As well as the original album sounding nice and clear, there are lots of demo versions, the sound quality of which is, on the whole, excellent. Some of the ones that didn't make it on to the album are better than others, however, notably "Close To Home" and the funky "Sink My Boats". The spoken poem, "Two Steep Hills" is not something I really want to hear again, and the same applies to "Apples" (yes, it is about apples), the awful "Tell The Children" and the more than just a little creepy "I Made Mary Cry". The demos of "Wake Up" and "Blackmail Man" have different lyrics - the former far more naughty. "My Old Man" is pretty much the same, but I much prefer the demo version of "If I Was With A Woman" and "I'm Partial To Your Abracadra" to the originals. Something crisper and sharper about the cymbals. Great guitar on “If I Was With A Woman” too. "Clevor Trever" and "Blockheads" are good versions too. The instrumental version of "Sweet Gene Vincent" is interesting, but I keep expecting to hear Dury start singing.

Bonus tracks include the now iconic "Sex & Drugs & Rock n Roll", the amusing "Razzle In My Pocket" and the tender, but saucy "You're More Than Fair". There is also a raucous, rough and ready live recording from Dury's days with Kilburn & The High Roads, in "England's Glory", which is packed with many cultural references. I prefer the studio "demo version" of it though. I have to say the melody owes a lot to Ray Charles' "Oh Lonesome Me", however. 

The second disc has some excellent live material from a concert at London's Paris theatre in July 1978. I saw Dury on the same tour so his brings back great memories. Nice to finally have some live stuff from a time when Ian & The Blockheads were at their peak.

The original album, of course, is packed with classics - the amusing and tuneful "Wake Up & Make Love With Me"; the upbeat, joyous rock n roll of "Sweet Gene Vincent"; the funky "I'm Partial To Your Abracadabra" and Dury's tender song about his father, "My Old Man".

"Billericay Dickie" is an affectionate piece of music hall-influenced nonsense. "Clevor Trever" is another semi-funky, organ-driven slow burner featuring Dury's best cockney vocals. "If I Was With A Woman" a sad yearning little ditty, with its "look at them laughing" pathos in its lyrics. "Blockheads" and "Plaistow Patricia" (with its shocking vocal intro) are two cacophonous belters with Dury ranting about blockheads and poor old Patricia. "Blackmail Man" ends the album in even more frenetic, shrieking nature.

This album is great fun, basically. Nothing more, nothing less. This version is a good one to own because of all the extra material.


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