Concluding the letter D with yet another UK legend discovered through the 'That Summer!' soundtrack. After hearing "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" and "What a Waste" as a wide-eyed 13 year old, I immediately ran out and bought a cutout of 'New Boots and Panties!!' for a couple of bucks. Wise investment. I found out where Essex, Billericay, Plaistow and other exotic locales (to a kid from the cornfields of Illinois) were located. Inexplicably, I learned who Gene Vincent was from Dury. You could call him a punk rocker, a singer (seriously, listen to "Sweet Gene Vincent") a poet and about a dozen other creative occupations, but I think entertainer is the most apt description. Dury used lots of filthy language to tell dirty stories, and what immature boy isn't going to be attracted to that?
I remember once prank calling a friend with the opening of "Plaistow Patricia." When he said "hello," I held up the receiver to the stereo speaker as Dury spat out "assholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks." We snickered like a couple of 13 year olds, because we were, until I turned around and saw my father standing in the doorway. For a moment, he looked like he was going to blow his stack. Then he exhaled in defeat. "Better not letter your mother hear that," Dad mumbled as he walked away. By that point in my childhood, I think I had worn him down.
I only own one other album by Dury, and it was the perfect companion to 'New Boots and Panties!!' 'Jukebox Dury' was the compilation Stiff America released in 1981, and it's packed with several must-have singles not on that 1977 album, including "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick"and "Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3." Still, the best songs on "Jukebox Dury" came from 'New Boots and Pamties!!' The Streets and others would go on to have big hits with this spoken-word approach to song, but I think Dury did it best...
This post is well timed because Mrs. LTL and I celebrated the 30th anniversary of our first date yesterday. Makes us sound old, but I should add we were in high school. This didn't happen on our first date, but a couple of weeks later we were in the car on the way to a movie. Dury's "Blackmail Man" came on the mix tape I was playing. About 30 seconds in, Mrs. LTL asked, "What's this guy have against black mailmen?" I have told that one before, but it never gets old. To the best of my knowledge, Dury never had a problem with minorities working for the postal service.
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