Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - I Want To Be Straight

(Stiff, 1980)

…Straight in the Jonathan Richman “I’m Straight” sense, that is. Dury was a man of large appetites, from the sound of things, and this is a boozy and not quite convincing expression of a desire to clean up (“I’m sick and tired of taking drugs and staying up late / I want to confirm, I want to conform”). Lotsa wailing saxophone and a non-dancey beat, so I can’t say there’s much to recommend the single, in spite of its snappy funk-bass, good humor, and textural grit – Dury was best when he was making tighter, loonier novelty songs you could really hoof it to. Similarly average is “That’s Not All,” which is laid back and comes across like a more cracked lounge-Bowie. If curious, an Ian Dury hits compilation is all (and more than) any American should ever need; focus instead on his son Baxter’s two unfairly forgotten albums, both of them wonders of sighing, melodic melancholy. Drugs seem to be a matter of some interest for the younger Dury as well, though his outlook is much gloomier than dad’s is here.

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

Ah, Ian Dury, the man who almost gave sex and drugs and rock'n'roll a bad name, simply by singing about them...