Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ian Dury – New Boots and Panties

One of the stable of great Stiff artists, Ian Dury is true new wave – quirky, keyboard driven, sometimes silly yet always real songs. His debut contains some of his best known (at least to me!) tunes.

“Wake Up and Make Love To Me” is a mid-tempo ode to nocturnal naughtiness – completely keyboard dominated, not punky at all (except in its freewheeling attitude) but still totally memorable.

Showing his love for r’n’r history, “Sweet Gene Vincent” starts quietly before morphing into a fast, 50’s-styled r’n’r tune – still with plenty of keyboards. Great chant-along parts, too! There are a little more guitars evident in “I’m Partial to Your Abracadabra”, though it remain pretty unusual and wacky (as if you couldn’t tell that from the title!).

Ian tells the story of his father in “My Old Man”, genuine though slightly off beat rhythmically, this ballad shows a more serious side of Dury. This also includes some nice sax work. His silly side is highly evident on “Billericky Dickie”, which is almost a barrel-house song – like something you would hear on Benny Hill. I’m sure this was a blast live, though! It sounds like the audience is having a great time on the Live Stiffs record.

One of his most upbeat numbers is “Sex and Drugs and R’n’R” (“is very good indeed”), but this is still not a wild tune – while there is a good guitar lick, keyboards (electric piano in this case) continues to dominate. Instantly catchy, though with a good beat and it became a stable of the era.

Retaining a similar, almost-ska beat as “S&D&R&R” is “Clever Trever”, but it is not nearly as memorable. The curiously titled “If I Was With a Woman” has a bouncier beat, and a very new wave sound, down to the female backing vocals treated with effects. The band’s theme song, “Blockheads”, is the closest to punk rock of the bunch – frantically fast, with Ian shouting over the clamor, and guitars pushed up loud in the mix!

I haven’t the slightest idea what “Plastow Patricia” is supposed to be about, but it is a schizophrenic number with different parts before settling into another new-wavey rocker – upbeat but erratic with an almost free-jazz sax solo! Ian is practically screaming throughout – a big departure from most of the rest of the record!

This album closes with “Blackmail Man”, which is another new-wave/punk mash-up – fast, outlandish, loud, screechy (voices and instruments) and a cool, energetic finish to this eclectic outing.

Overall, this is not punk rock, but it is an interesting and quite unique look at new wave from the Stiff label.