Graham Reid | | 1 min read
With Will Birch's biography and the film of his life Sex and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll (Andy Serkis as Ian), there was something of a revival and re-appreciation of Ian Dury recently, a bit more than a decade after his death at age 57.
Dury came to the punk era as someone more than a decade older than most performers, and he had considerable stage experience: his band Kilburn and the High Roads gigged for five years before falling apart in '75 and Dury going on to greater acclaim with the Blockheads.
By instinct a poet and story-teller, Dury brought wit, satire, scathing observation and anger to his lyrics. Not many songs have such an attention grabbing intro as his spat out "arseholes bastards fucking cunts and pricks/aerosol the bricks" on Plaistow Patricia from the Dury/Blockhead's debut album New Boots and Panties.
In the course of that album Dury could be lewd and rude (Wake Up and Make Up Love to Me) but also sensitive without sentimentality (My Old Man). As Rolling Stone noted in its review, "Whatever Ian Dury choses to feel, his expression of it is remarkable and intriguing. Whatever you choose to make of his statements, you won't be left untouched."
He also had a music hall entertainer's sense of absurdity and never shied from making a laboured rhyme if it was funny.
He tells the story here in different voices and it has a sly, slightly nasty quality.
And crime pays.
It wasn't on any Dury album at the time (it appeared on a Stiff compilation Can't Stop Dancing which is where this is lifted from) but has been added as an extra track on the reissued New Boots and Panties.
Worth the price of admission.
For more one-off or unusual songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.