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Ian Dury – The Vinyl Collection

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Ian Dury – The Vinyl Collection

Posted on 28 August 2014 by John Haylock

When Ian Dury sadly passed away in 2000, we lost so much more than some run of the mill, no-brain pop star. This bloke next door who looked like the local brickie was a bloody wordy genius, a man who rhymed Isle of Thanet with Janet, who looked more like Quasimodo than Robert Plant, who detailed the life and loves of everyman (and woman) in witty, often profound, often self-deprecating humour. He was a rock and roll star you could share a pint, a spliff and a joke with. There was not a hint of pretension about this guy, who was the Stephen Fry of post punk.

ian dury

After succumbing to polio at seven-years-old he proved to be a determined adolescent; getting into grammar school, art college and even studied under the legendary Peter Blake. Here was yet another creative, driven talent that would find an outlet in music. His first band Kilburn and the Highroads, who despite releasing two albums and even securing a support slot on a Who tour largely failed to make an impression. It was only in 1975 when he formed The Blockheads and signed to the burgeoning Stiff label, that the word eventually got around.

Their debut album New Boots and Panties came out in 1977 and immediately went platinum, with its ribald humour, echoes of music hall and dextrous funky musicianship it sounded like nothing else at the time; uncommonly literate and brimming over with wit, charm and lots of swearing, all delivered in Dury’s sonorous knowing vocal.

Subjects veered from a tender homage to his dad, saucy early morning mattress frolics, Gene Vincent and the tale of Billericay Dickie who:

Had a love affair with Nina
in the back of my Cortina
a seasoned up hyena could not have been more obscener
she took me to the cleaners
and other misdemeanours
but I got right up between her
rum and her Ribena.

New Boots and Panties remains to this day one of the most celebrated debut albums. A flurry of hit singles that followed  only enforced his position as the Noel Coward of punk, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, from What a Waste to Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.

Subsequent albums were no less enjoyable both lyrically, especially on This is What We Find, from the second album Do It Yourself:

Home improvement expert Harold Hill of Harold Hill
Of Do-It-Yourself dexterity and double glazing skill
Came home to find another gentleman’s kippers in the grill
So he sanded off his winkle with his Black and Decker drill.

Such cheeky wordplay is the essence of his work. You’ll smile, you’ll grin and you’ll probably dance as well.

There’s so many tracks to enjoy across these reissued albums. Dance for the Screamers is like a cockney Chic. Superman’s Big Sister, Pardon and Mr Peanut could all have made brilliant singles.  There’s the remarkable Spasticus Autisticus and the unfeasably catchy Trust is a Must from Lord Upminster (1981).


Even later tracks from Mr Love Pants (1997) contain epics like Jack Shit George and the stupendous Mash it up Harry, not to mention the once heard, never forgotten Take Your Elbow Out of the Soup, You’re Sitting on the chicken!

Reasons to be cheerful? Here’s eight albums worth.

by John Haylock

Ian Dury: The Vinyl Collection is released as a CD box set and vinyl collection by Edsel Records on Oct 27.


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