Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter D, Part 11)

As someone who has already touted spin-offs the Blue Ox Babes and the Bureau in this series, it probably won't surprise you it will take a few days to rip all of my records by Dexys Midnight Runners. That means multiple posts for you, but what to do? Since you probably know the first three albums and the singles forwards and backwards, I thought I might concentrate on some inspired B-sides. Many of the flips didn't make it onto the LPs and, especially early on, the band had a knack for putting its stamp on some fabulous soul covers. Today, let's stick with the B-sides surrounding the 1980 debut album, 'Searching for the Young Soul Rebels.' Dexys is an all-timer for me, and I have been wanting to do an ICA on them for ages over at JC's place. Once I get everything transferred, no more excuses. More from Kevin and a revamped lineup next time.

"I'm Just Looking" ("Dance Stance" 7", 1979)
The only one of this lot that isn't a cover and that showed up on an LP. This single peaked at No. 40 in the UK. "Dance Stance," of course, would be tweaked and become album opener "Burn It Down" on 'Soul Rebels.'

"Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache" ("Geno" 7", 1980)
In the UK, the Bandwagon had a No. 4 hit with this one in 1968. You can't blame the virtually unknown American group for moving to London after this one.

"The Horse" (There, There My Dear" 7", 1980)
A song that instantly takes me back to being a nine year old watching the hometown high school basketball team with my father during their best season in school history. The school's band played this one every game, often more than once. This was released as a single by Cliff Nobles in 1968. The A-side was called "Love Is All Right" and had vocals. The B-side was the same song without vocals and dubbed "The Horse." The flip side was the hit, peaking at No. 2. So lead singer Nobles didn't actually appear on the hit. The great horn section of session musicians, straight outta Philly, would later be known as MFSB. Kevin Rowland must have liked those cats because he would cover them again with "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)" a couple of years later. Interestingly, "Grazin' in the Grass" is the song that kept "The Horse" from the top spot. Dexys covered that song in 2016 on 'Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul.'

"One Way Love" ("Keep It Part Two (Inferiority Part One)" 7", 1980)
This was first recorded by the Drifters, but Dexys Midnight Runners were obviously going after the sound of the hit version by Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers. The horns of Bennett's band were known to be a big influence during this early period.

"Soul Finger" ("Plan B" 7", 1981)
Dexys Midnight Runners were heavily into Stax Records during the 'Soul Rebels' era, and the Bar-Kays were a great band to emulate. The story of these talented Memphis studio musicians is a sad one as most of the members died in the same plane crash that took Otis Redding's life. Dexys stays true to the original version, save for kids yelling "soul finger" and Big Jim Paterson's epic trombone solo.


JTFL said...

Damn, these are all excellent and I never heard ONE of them before today! Awesome!

Walter said...

Great post. Dexy's caught me from the first time I listened to Soul Rebels. Always a pleasure to listen to them. As you said - TSOP is a great cover version and Soul Finger is new to me. Excellent stuff.

Rol said...

Love Dexys, but Breaking Down The Walls is an absolute stormer, both versions!

Brian said...

Thanks for taking the time, Johnny. Every aspect of that first album is perfect, including those B-sides. Most of us really missed the boat here in America.

Walter, T.S.O.P. makes an appearance in the next post. The Sound of Philadelphia is probably the best B-side from the Too-Rye-Ay era. Glad you enjoyed Soul Finger. Love the original a lot too.

Rol, Without Dexys, I would have never heard the original. Never was a hit here. I love when a good cover can help you find a band. For me, Elvis Costello is the king of that. He has helped me discover dozens of acts.

The Swede said...

Great to hear all these in one place Brian.

Anonymous said...

You're spoiling us.

I used to have some of these singles but lost them decades ago. So good to hear the b-sides again. Thanks B.