Tuesday, February 28, 2017

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter D, Part 23)

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?

"Sweet Gene Vincent"

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...

"Razzle in My Pocket"

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.

"Blackmail Man"

13 comments:

The Swede said...

Sorry Mrs LTL, I'm sure you've long since grown tired of Brian repeating that story, but the black mailmen line made me laugh out loud and nearly spit my drink over the screen of my laptop - brilliant! Here's my memory of the great man.
http://unthoughtofthoughsomehow.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/sign-here-please-ian-dury.html
(Happy 30th anniversary of your first date to you both!)

Brian said...

Folks, If you want a real read, go to the Swede's place. Fantastic. Glad you hung on to that pound note. I was reading Dury's obit in the Guardian last night. He just didn't have that kind of appreciation over here, but there were a few of us that were big fans.

C said...

Love this - really made me think how innovative he was at the time, and how many others, as you say, have gone on to have hits with that kind of spoken word approach since. But back then he was like nothing else I'd ever heard. I was drawn in, like many young punks, because he had that outsider appeal, but I would've had difficulty explaining it to anyone else. The swearing was definitely part of it (I wasn't that much older than you on first hearing). What did you make of that accent? (Proper East End geezer, not like Dick Van Dyke's strange attempt at Cockney in Mary Poppins....) All those exotic names like Billericay too - it's not so exotic, really ;-)

Mr SDS and I saw ID & The Blockheads in 1979 - just after we'd started going out with each other (actually I don't remember as much about the gig itself as I should - I was distracted!) Happy 30th anniversary of your first date to both of you too. And "black mail man" - brilliant.

Brian said...

Like you intimated, C, not traditionally punk but fit in well with that aesthetic for sure. Not at all surprised you're a fan. I enjoyed reading your comment over at Swede's place from a few years ago... you saw him in the same place the very next night! A near brush between C and Swede decades before you met via your blogs... all because of a love of Dury! Yes, loved the accent and the swearing and the attitude. Still do.

Echorich said...

Happy Anniversary to you and the Missus Brian! I really can appreciate your Plaistow Patricia story, as I, by the time I was 15 had aged enough that my Dad gave up attempting to keep me in line. But it was The Sex PIstols' Bodies that stopped him dead in his tracks...Don't think he had heard the word fuck so many times in a recording outside his George Carlin and Redd Foxx comedy albums...

As for Ian Dury, he was a diamond in the rough...a one off...a brilliant artist.

Brian said...

Thanks, Echorich. Bodies was one I certainly listened to a lot as a youngster too... with headphones. I don't know if you have been watching the CNN series on the history of comedy, but your reference to Carlin and Foxx made me think you would have enjoyed the last installment based entirely on filthy words.
It will take you back to your youth for sure.

Brian said...

And if we don't converse before you go, safe travels to London. Lucky!

charity chic said...

Love the Black Mailman story
Similar to my mother thinking the Clash were singing about Spainish Bums!

C said...

Haha, love your and Echorich's comments about Bodies - my parents bought me Never Mind The Bollocks for Christmas (!) and were unable to say a word when that started playing, ha! I think they realised it was best to just let things go...actually they were pretty cool in that respect, even when I also tormented them with Buzzcocks' b-side classic 'Oh Shit'.
Kids, eh?

Rol said...

I laughed twice at this post, once at the image of your dad watching you on the phone, then again at the Black Mailman.

Happy anniversary, by the way. It was ours on Saturday, but we've only managed 11 years so far. Then again, neither of us were in high school... or even our 20s... when we met!

George said...

Razzle In My Pocket, what a great song Brian.

Swiss Adam said...

Read this this morning. And I'm still laughing.

JC said...

Great piece of writing Brian. Like everyone else, I love the Blackmail Ma story but also loved the phone prank. Scary thing is nowadays the kids would have it as a ringtone.....

I've an Ian Dury piece coming up at my place soon....it doesn't come close to matching the wit and humour of yours.