Thursday, May 12, 2022

Long Live Block: Ian Dury 80

We're gonna do two Heads in three days, both celebrating milestone birthdays.

We'll begin with a Blockhead long passed, but impossible to forget.

It's a cliché to say it for the millionth time, but to say this guy was a unique talent would fall far short of an adequate description.

He survived a whole lotta hardship and struggle to get to where he did, there's no denying.

A polio survivor, it seems obvious the likes of someone like him would never be allowed past security at the record company these days.

In the late 1970s, he had a string of half-spoken, half-sung tracks that were massive global hits, and remain a part of the cultural firmament to this day.

As identifiable-by-one-syllable as he still is because of those tunes, he was really most powerful as a live performer.

Since he'd have been 80 today, I've cobbled together one of his most legendary performances, from the best available materials, from 1980.

This is from Christmas Eve that year, at the landmark Dominion Theatre in London.

It's an appropriate place for it, as Ian Dury is undeniably one of the most recognizably British artists the world shall ever see.

Anyway I worked really hard on this, to make it all one thing and an accurate representation of the gig.

All in all, I think it's a worthy memento of a legendary one-off and legit Cockney rebel.

Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Dominion Theatre
London, UK

01 Annie Nightingale BBC introduction
02 The Upminster Kid
03 Clevor Trever
04 Sink My Boats
05 I'm Partial to Your Abracadabra
06 Sueperman's Big Sister
07 Yes and No (Paula)
08 Uncoolahol
09 Billericay Dickie
10 Delusions of Grandeur
11 Dance of the Crackpots
12 I Made Mary Cry
13 What a Waste
14 Hey Hey, Take Me Away
15 Manic Depression (Jimi)
16 Oh Mr. Peanut
17 instrumental medley incl. Wake Up and Make Love to Me/Inbetweenies/Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/Reasons to be Cheerful pt.3
18 Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick
19 Sweet Gene Vincent
20 Blockheads
21 band introductions
22 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Total time: 1:19:57

Ian Dury - vocals
Don Cherry - trumpet & vocals
Wilko Johnson - guitar & vocals
John Turnbull - guitar & vocals
Davey Payne - saxophones, flute, harmonica & vocals
Mick Gallagher - keyboards & synthesizers
Norman Watt-Roy - bass & vocals
Charlie Charles - drums
Nicky "Topper" Headon - percussion

composite of the complete performance, assembled from BBC Rock Hour #215 pre-FM LPs and a 2010 BBC-TV mono video rebroadcast
last song substituted from Lucianatten, Stockholm SE 12.13.1980 FM master cassette
reconstructed -- with TV portion remastered -- by EN, May 2022
495 MB FLAC/May 2022 archive link

That's right, you read that bit correctly... he's got Don Cherry in the band, blowing up on pocket trumpet throughout most of the tunes with a constant, brassy commentary.

I managed to get the full show all crammed onto a single CD, too. Barely.

Maybe someday this barn burner will get an official release, but don't hold your breath, astronauts.

I'll be back in 48 with another kind of Head for your happy hamper, but today is a day to celebrate the life and legacy of Ian Dury, who gave the world quite a few reasons to be cheerful in his time on Earth.--J.

5.12.1942 - 3.27.2000