Look beyond the commonly-held image of Ian Dury and the Blockheads as riotous, sweary and irreverent, and you'll find one of the tightest bands that ever trod a stage, and a frontman who wrote about the whole range of human emotion - not just Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll.
"Do It Yourself" is more complex lyrically and musically than "New Boots and Panties", but doesn't suffer by comparison. "Inbetweenies" and "Sink My Boats" verge on introspective, but the vice-like funk of "Quiet", the bravado of "Mischief" and the infectious energy of "Dance of the Screamers" make sure that the album isn't downbeat at all. The band's on top form throughout, and Ian's lyrics are never less than thought-provoking. And in "Lullaby for Franci/es", we're given one of the finest album-closers ever.
The extra tracks are phenomenal too; the brilliant "What a Waste", "Reasons to be Cheerful, Pt 3" and "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" (the band's best ever track) - and then THE WHOLE of "New Boots" live from the Stiffs tour on the extra CD. Bargain!
By his own admission, Ian went musically AWOL in the '80s (which was a shame), but his legacy remains an astonishing achievement. If you own "New Boots" but are unsure about the rest of his work, this one's just as good - buy it.
After the success of 'New Boots...', Ian Dury and his band conquered the singles market with 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick', a daft, but colourful song which hinted at the musical direction of this album. Infectious funk and gentle reggae dominates, showcasing the brilliance of the musicians backing their charismatic leader. Dury's fertile imagination continues to explore new wordplays, but the songs are overall not as hard-hitting as on the previous album. Perhaps significantly, the most impressive song is the one which most closely resembles the lyrical approach on 'New Boots...', 'This Is What We Find'. It consists of a series of character sketches, during which 'Harold Hill...finds someone else's kippers underneath his grill' and features the word 'jubblyfied' years before Del Boy got his jaws on it. Otherwise, the character portraits which were liberally scattered across the earlier album are absent.
Nevertheless, most of the songs are winners. The sluggish, relatively monotonous 'Waiting For Your Taxi' is the weakest track and 'Dance Of The Screamers' is mild by Dury's standards, but most of the tracks improve with each listen. The addition of hit singles as bonuses bolsters the reissue. The demos are, as is usual, probably only of interest to completists, but the live stuff is interesting. Dury and Co never matched 'New Boots...' but this is still a worthwhile purchase.
For years I only had New Boots and the singles to inform me of Dury & the Blockheads music. Way too late did I come to this album but it still sounds confident, relevent and fresh - it's timeless like all great music or art. In fact there is alot of art in this. For instance the Crown Wallpaper cover - when the album was made Crown wallpaper was ubiquitous - all around but nobody really looked at it as an icon of the era. You can draw parallels with some of the everyday events and characters that fill this album. This is a funny, warm, thoughtful trip through a world of eccentric England. My favourite Ian Dury track is here - Dance of the Screamers. This celebrates misfits like nothing else(except perhaps the movie Accion Mutante)and was inspired by Dury having to listen to other children screaming through the night at his boarding school for the disabled. Yet, this is a jazz/punk track that can make you laugh too. Punk is a state of mind - not just a fashion or thrash music and for me it is something to do with the less than average being better than average. In this respect Do It Yourself has a proper punk ethos as well as a proper punk name.
Bought this release at the same time as the other 2cd Deluxe editions (New Boots & Panties and Laughter). I bought it 'cos I'm a bit of a completist and I didn't have the original release (either on vinyl or cd!).
I'm well pleased in what I bought - certainly got me and the missus singing along (although we have to make sure the kids are out of the room in case any of those swearwords make an untimely appearance - oh the cons of having kids late in life!)
The live tracks from the Stiff Live Stiffs tour is a great addition and takes me back to my teens!
The original album is quite a strong album with all of the lyrical wit that Ian Dury had in spades, and tunes by Chaz Jankel and Mickey Gallagher. The album is not quite as strong an album as `New boots and panties', there are plenty of songs to rejoice about, `the Inbetweenies' & `Lullaby for Francies'. I picked this album basically for the bonus tracks Ian Dury being someone who professed to a liking for singles as singles and not have those tracks appear on albums, and why not if the Beatles could do it? The bonus tracks on the album are the very strong singles `What a waste' the excellent 'Hit me with your Rythem stick' and `Reasons to be cheerful' both 7 and 12 inch versions. Also included is a bonus disc which includes a live performance from the Stiffs 1977 tour which includes some tracks from `New boots and panties' and shows that as a band they could play and hold a crowd. This makes this package exceptionally good value. Sorely missed but much loved there may never be someone quite like Ian Dury.
Despite jazz being my thing, I have always had a penchant for Ian Dury, his clever use of words; poetry in some ways. The music, usually by Chaz Jankel, who is no mean jazz pianist, is entirely appropriate for Dury's view of life. I am not a great expert but this double CD had everything that I wanted in order to remember the great man.