New Boots and Panties

23 Jul

New Boots

From 1977,  the breakthrough album of the remarkable and singular talent of Ian Dury. This album was chosen by me to mark the opening of an exhibition of Mr Dury’s artwork at the Royal College of Art where he was once a student.

After having studied and taught art, Ian Dury switched, at a relatively mature age to music and, prior to this release, was part of a band called Kilburn and the High Roads (named after Kilburn High Road in north west London – and confusingly, there was another similarly-named band called Hatfield and the North). I only came upon him with this release (on the wonderful Stiff Records).

It’s a great collection although not one I shared with my parents at the time! Although ‘Parental Advisory’ stickers are a bit lame outside rap music, in 1977 there was a certain breathtaking chutzpah about someone who could start a track (Plaitstow Patricia) with six profanities and a conjunction! The songs are wordy and witty, the music (even though not the Blockheads) strong and the overall vibe is cheeky, provocative and fun. Ian Dury was never part of the punk rock scene but punk would never have happened without the other, slightly older, artists who were part of the pub-rock live scene at the time (I’m thinking of Nick Lowe, Costello, Ducks Deluxe, Dr Feelgood). It was bands like these (along with Bees Make Honey, Brewers’ Droop and Sassafras) that were the bedrock of the English live music scene before punk errupted against the excesses of progrock and the stadium bands.

The tracks which have really lasted are the opener (Wake Up and Make Love With Me) and the side one close (Billericay Dickie which namechecks Essex towns brilliantly 35 years before TOWIE). (I always consider East Londoner Billy Bragg’s re-write of Route 66 as A13, Trunk Road to the Sea as being part of the same tradition!).

My own favourites though are the more reflective and poignant My Old Man and the homage to an earlier genration of rockers: Sweet Gene Vincent.

That Ian Dury died at the age of 57 was a loss not only to his family and friends but to everyone. He went on to try his hand at drama (Apples) but even though there are two further Ian Dury tracks that I love but don’t own (Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick and the in-your-face Spasticus Autisticus [performed at the Olympics closing ceremony] this is the quintessential Ian Dury album.


One Response to “New Boots and Panties”

  1. simon2013 July 24, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Thanks – I haven’t heard this for years – I remember the shock – I must find a copy and have a listen – was lucky enough to see them live a long time ago – 9 Dec 1977 – to be precise.

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