on 21 March 2006
The Blockheads were top dogs after the singles S&D&R&R, What a Wate, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick & Reasons To Be Cheerful, however, some lost the faith over DO-It-Yourself although it was an excellent cohesive collection of songs.
When Laughter came along though the knives were out for Mr Dury and the chinks in his armour came courtesy of a "minor" line-up change. Wilko Johnson had replaced Chaz Jankel (who was writer and arranger as well as guitarist and therefore Wilko could only partly fill his shoes.) The opening Sueperman's Big Sister seemed to put a lt of people off. The strings backing seemed to irritate people, they thought it was some sort of sell out, which it wasn't. Dury was never a straight ahead punk. There were the shows with Max Wall as a warm up act to evidence the range of influences he drew on. The result of the preconceptions that preceded this album meant that nobody really listened to it because they had decided from the off that Dury was past it.
The style was far less cohesive than Do-It-Yoiurself because of the need to draw on various band members as writers which was much less the case before. I always loved this album. The subject matter (if not the musical syling) is extremely cohesive. it is almost a concept album on aspects of madness. Very sensitive in places and appaulingly brutal in others. There is much here that reflects Mr Dury's own psychological turmoils of the time. Delusions Of Grandeur is a song that many a current act could do with listening to to bring them back down to earth. Over the Points is a perfect foil for Wilko's guitar and son great imagery in there. I guess the song that killed this album off for many was the closing track F------ Ada. 5 or 6 minutes of that susstained chorus does put granny off her elevenses I know but it also demonstrates that the strings were not there to make this band head down the easy listening route. The bonus stacks and disc bring some great intrumental demos of the songs and draw the album together with the single tracks that were previouly separated off on Juke Box Dury and also includes That's Not All, Duff ‘Em Up And Do ‘Em Over (Boogie Woogie,You Are Here and Come In No. 9. There are few artist who can really take this sort of plundering of the vaults but Ian Dury and the Blockheads come up shining bright even if the opening threat at the begining of Duff 'Em Up... is not the most lyrical phrase to come from the pen of Lord Upminster.
This is great (very rude inplaces but still great) It is time to find out what you missed first time around. Buy this allbum and you will have something to get your ears and head around.
Edsel of the UK have reissued six of Ian Dury’s albums in these 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound sets – and natty looking things they are too. Here are the reasons to be cheerful...
UK released 2 March 2015 – "Laughter" by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS is a Limited Edition 2CD Deluxe Edition in Hardback Casebound packaging on Edsel EDSK 7082 (Barcode 740155708238) and pans out as follows:
Disc 1 (49:12 minutes):
1. Sueperman’s Big Sister
3. Delusions Of Grandeur
4. Yes And No (Paula)
5. Dance Of The Crackpots
6. Over The Points
7. (Take Your Elbow Out The Soup) You’re Sitting On The Chicken [Side 2]
9. Hey, Hey Take Me Away
10. Manic Depression (Jimi)
11. Oh Mr. Peanut
12. F*****g Ada
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album “Laughter” - released 28 November 1980 in the UK on Stiff Records SEEZ 30
13. I Want To Be Straight - August 1980 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 90, A
14. That’s Not All - August 1980 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 90, B
15. You’ll See Glimpses – October 1980 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 100 – non-album B-side of “Superman’s Big Sister”
Disc 2 (52:53 minutes)
(Recorded October 1980 at The Producer’s Workshop, Fulham, London)
1. Duff ‘Em Up And Do ‘Em Over (Boogie Woogie)
2. You Are Here
3. Come In No. 9
DEMO INSTRUMENTALS by THE BLOCKHEADS
4. Chicken (Take Your Elbow Out Of The Soup)
5. CC’s Rock
6. I Know Your Name
7. Public Party (Dance Of The Crackpots)
8. Black And White [Yes And No (Paula)]
9. Manic Depression
10. More Turns For Everyone
11. Blue Light (That’s Not All)
12. Back To Y-Front
14. On The Spot (Do The Block)
15. Duff ‘Em Up And Do ‘Em Over (Boogie Woogie) [Oh Mr Peanut]
16. Peter Gunn
The 26-page booklet inside the hardback covers features full annotation by known expert WILL BIRCH (done in 2004), lyrics to all the songs (including the stand-alone singles), publicity photos, original artwork front and rear (including photos of the “Superman’s Big Sister” single and a montage of British trade magazines like NME and Melody Maker) and so on. These are the 2004 Edsel remasters done at Alchemy Mastering and they sound amazing while all of Disc 2 was Previously Unreleased at the time.
Following on from their huge 1977 album “New Boots And Panties!!”, the number one single “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” in December 1978 - and the No.2 album placing of “Do It Yourself” in June 1979 – LP number three for Ian’s Blockheads saw the beginning of the end for the band in the public’s eye and affections. “Laughter” scraped into Number 48 on the charts in December 1980 – a far cry from the huge popularity of their two predecessors – even with the involvement of Dr. Feelgood’s wild guitarist WILKO JOHNSON. That’s not to say that the song quality control had slipped in any way - far from it in my book.
“Superman’s Big Sister” shows Dury’s knack for catchy melodies aligned with witty lyrics and wacky themes. “Delusions Of Grandeur” struggles a bit to take flight for sure - but the wickedly good “Yes & No (Paula)” would have sat comfortably on 1977’s “New Boots & Panties!!” with its Ska-Rock rhythms and scat-spoken lyrics. Fun and anger collide on “Dance Of The Crackpots” with Davey’s Payne’s great harmonica playing warbling away in the back of the mix. The band starts to finally sound slightly manic Feelgood on the acidic “Hey, Hey, Take Me Away” while “F*****g Ada” finishes the album half-laughing, half-crying with its angry chorus offset by chorus line strings.
Disc 2 features the full-blown version of “Duff ‘Em Up And Do ‘Em Over (Boogie Woogie)” (a long sought after fan fave) while the Instrumentals it has to be said feel like good backing tracks but without the lyrics – they’re a curio more than anything else.
“I’m sick and tired of taking drugs and staying up late...” - our Ian sang on “I Want To Be Straight”. I never tire of Dury’s intelligence and wit and the fan/collector nerd in me is loving these gorgeous looking reissues...
PS: the IAN DURY March 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound CD Reissues on Edsel are:
1. New Boots And Panties!! (Edsel EDSK 7080, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708030)
2. Do It Yourself (Edsel EDSK 7081, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708139)
3. Laughter (Edsel EDSK 7082, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708238)
4. The Bus Driver's Prayer (Edsel EDSK 7083, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708337)
5. Mr. Love Pants (Edsel EDSA 5034, 1CD, Barcode 740155503437)
6. Warts 'N' Audience [Live] (Edsel 5035, 1CD, Barcode 74015550536)
PPS: Amazon lump all the 2004 and 2015 reviews together in the one place (a nasty habit of theirs) – so if you want the Hardback Book Edition I’ve just reviewed from 2015 – make sure to use the Barcode I’ve provided above to get the right issue...