Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter D, Part 13)

Let's wrap up Dexys Midnight Runners with a couple of more B-sides and some surprises. In 1981, between 'Searching for the Young Soul Rebels' and 'Too-Rye-Aye,' there were a couple of one-off singles with a revamped lineup I rank among the band's best. One of the A-sides, "Plan B," would be re-recorded later for 'Too-Rye-Ay' (with still more roster changes). The B-side to "Show Me," the other single during this period, was a short stripped-down affair with only an organ/piano and the voice of Kevin Rowland. That song, "Soon," would become the intro for the new version of "Plan B" on 'Too-Rye-Ay.' Clear as mud, innit?


By this time, Rowland was striving for perfection. Some say his ego had gotten the best of him. There would be no more words with the press. He expressed his thoughts on the band through an insert included with "Show Me." Do yourself a favor and click on the image below. It's really something to behold. Rowland sounds more like a cult leader than a lead singer, but that unit sure bought what he was selling. The horns played as hard and loud as they possibly could until their lips bled.

Skipping ahead past the 1985 album 'Don't Stand Me Down' for just a moment, in 1986, there would be a 7" release for the theme song to a BBC TV series called "Brush Strokes." "Because of You" would be the last single under the name Dexys Midnight Runners until "She Got a Wiggle" came out as a digital single in 2012. The B-side was a pretty traditional Irish song from 150 years earlier, "Kathleen Mavourneen." For any American Civil War buffs out there, you may know this song because it was very popular in the 1860s and is often used in documentaries on the period. The song is an early clue Rowland was always interested in doing an album like the 2016 release 'Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul.'

"Kathleen Mavourneen"

For third album 'Don't Stand Me Down,' Rowland's plan was to have no singles. This was to be his magnum opus, and he wanted the LP to stand on its own and be played in its entirety, front to back. The album took forever to record, and it cost much more than the label ever envisioned. It was selling very poorly and, after six weeks on store shelves, a four-plus minute single version of a 12-plus minute song was sloppily cobbled together. It didn't help. I have a 12" promo single of "This Is What She's Like" with a short version of the song and the even shorter single version. If you have heard the album version, then you know the single was a travesty. Some of the best sections of the song were completely removed. Also on the 12" B-side is album track "One of Those Things." I love this album. Although it was ignored at the time, in recent years, it has been re-evaluated by many and given its proper due. Seems like that's how it works for geniuses.

"This Is What She's Like" (Edit) (4:25)
"This Is What She's Like" (6:10)
"One of Those Things"

There's just no way I can put up these inferior versions and leave it at that. What if there is someone out there hearing "This Is What She's Like" for the first time? If so, skip those other two and go straight to the album version. Then, when you fall in love with the song, listen to the 20-plus minute live version from the 2014 album 'Nowhere is Home." This quadruple album is one of the most expensive records I have bought in recent years. Completely worth it, but I was a little disappointed in the quality of the vinyl... as you will hear. This song is so lengthy it takes up all of side eight of the album.

"This Is What She's Like" (Album Version) (12:28)
"This Is What She's Like" (Live) (21:50)


Rol said...

Great post. I loved reading Rowland's manifesto. I think a lot of modern bands could do with reading that and taking a leaf out of his book.

God, I sound older every time my finger hits a key.

The Swede said...

I've loved these Dexys posts Brian. Get your thinking cap on and put together an ICA for JC. You're the man for the job!

charity chic said...

As the Swede said
Enjoyed the Gospel according to Kevin

drew said...

Great set of posts Brian. I have had three copies of Nowhere is Home and the pressing of that final side is dreadful on all three. I complained so much that Pledgemusic refunded my money. But what an amazing version it is. I ended up buying the cd as well but over time I have learned to live with the first four minutes of background noise on the vinyl version.

JTFL said...

+1 on the Brian does a Dexys ICA tip. As long as it's got GENO!

charity chic said...

JFTL - you couldn't have a Dexy's ICA without Geno. Just saying Brian!

Brian said...

Worst kept secret of the ICA for sure, fellas.