blockhead design by barney bubbles.
Ian Dury arrived on Stiff Records with the anthemic 45 \”Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll\”, but it was the album \”New Boots and Panties!!\” recorded with guitarist Chaz Jankel and former members of Radio Caroline\’s Loving Awareness Band – Charley Charles; Norman Watt-Roy; Mickey Gallagher; John Turnbull; and Davey Payne – which cemented his status as blockhead extraordinaire.
Harrow born college art teacher, Dury had previous experience with Payne in their former shared musical venture onto the pub circuit, Kilburn and the High Roads, formed in 1971 following the death of Dury\’s idol, Gene Vincent.
He never made any bones about contending with disability, and it\’s testimony to his acute self-belief that he wasn\’t simply content to take a back seat as a lyricist but determined to prove himself as frontman of an eight-piece band, putting his infirmity solidly in the spotlight.
\”New Boots and Panties!!\” is a masterstroke of convoluted word play and in your face comedic aggression. Hostility lurks around every twisting corner, but there is also gentle softly-spoken humanity in abundance. Much of the humour is peculiarly British – more than just London centric or English, specifically – and it\’s partly down to this that he and his fellow Blockheads found early favour in university halls of residence and student nurses quarters alike.
You don\’t have to be a mechanic to work it out, but it helps.
I love this LP. There is nowhere near as much funk finery on display here as on later singles and albums, but it always keeps me coming back. A lot of it reminds me of travelling on nearly deserted motorway sections late at night in drizzling rain. And that\’s a recommendation.