Ian Dury and The Blockheads' final studio album (not counting the posthumously compiled Ten More Turnips From The Tip) Mr Love Pants was released in 1998 and, although being released 21 years after the seminal Dury debut album, New Boots And Panties, I consider the two albums to represent the peak of the man's recording career. In fact, on Mr Love Pants the Blockheads, undoubtedly one of the greatest backing bands ever (along with The E Street Band, The Bad Seeds and The Rumour), have never sounded better. In particular, Mickey Gallagher's keyboards, Davey Payne's sax and the legendary Norman Watt-Roy's inventive, rolling bass-lines are quite outstanding on this recording.
The songs are simply a joy to behold, catchy and infectious, and showcase a set of the most brilliantly witty and erudite lyrics to have emanated from Mr Dury's pen - and that's saying something, given what this modern poet has achieved on previous creations. There is not a weak song here, but my personal favourites would include opener Jack Shi.t George, where Dury dismembers the British education system in one of the most brilliant sequence of rhyming lyrics I've come across, all accompanied by the throbbing rhythm of the Blockheads magical sound. In The Passing Show, Dury seems to be (poignantly) paying tribute, whether for the band or himself personally, to past efforts, successful or otherwise. Honeysuckle Highway, whilst being a relatively straightforward, slow romantic lament is notable for being the album's lyrical highpoint, containing one of the greatest lines ever, namely, 'Cruising down carnality canal in my canoe can I canoodle?' Similarly, Geraldine is another lyrical and comedic gem, being a loving tribute to a sweetheart in the sandwich shop, 'My temperature rises and my pulses quicken when she gets cracking with the coronation chicken'. Musically, the highpoints for me are probably the two pulsating, up-tempo songs Itinerant Child (a tongue-in-cheek warning to society's rebellious youth) and Bed O' Roses No. 9 (a remorseful look at failed personal relationships).
Just a final mention of Dury's lyrics. Anyone who can get the words 'necromancy', 'daffodyllic', 'sybaritic', 'inamorata', 'schtumer', 'cojones' 'polenta' and 'Ponders End' into his songs demands respect. Ian, RIP.
Released shortly before Ian's untimely death, this is a fine return to true 'funky music hall' Blockheads form. The music's tight, the words are funny / poignant / well observed and stand as a true memorial to Mr Doo-er-y's genius and to the musicianship of his band. If you loved New Boots for its wit and Do It Yourself for its funk, you'll love this too......
Ian Dury was quite rightly proud of this album which is probably his best since 'New Boots & Panties' 20 years earlier.
All the songs are memorable with Dury's brilliantly crafted lyrics and The Blockheads in blistering form. Highlights are the hilarious 'Mash It Up Harry'; 'Jack Shit George', a scathing attack on the British education system and 'The Passing Show', a moving song about mortality.
'Mr Love Pants' is marvellous CD and an essential part of any Ian Dury collection.
I HAVE TO SAY THIS ALBUM RANKS UP BESIDE IAN DURY'S CLASSIC ALBUM NEW BOOTS & PANTIES,WITH SONGS LIKE GERALDINE,HONEYSUCKLE HIGHWAY PURE GEMS. MR DURY'S LYRICS WERE WITTY,RUDE & CHARMING ALL AT THE SAME TIME THIS ALBUM IS A CLASSIC I FOR ONE MISS IAN DURY HE WAS A GENIUS A WONDERFUL PERFORMER & RECORDING ARTIST.YOU JUST NEED TO LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM TO KNOW WHY HE WAS GOOD.GOD BLESS YOU MR IAN DURY.
Depsite it's title, Mr Love Pants is a seriously good album. Ian's magnificently manufactured lyrics are always there, driven on by the tightest jazz rock you'll hear. The tracks are in turns ironic; they will make you laugh,cry but most of all wish there was more to come.
I love this 1998 album as much if not more than any other by the much-missed Ian Dury, a lyricist of genius who had a band as good as any around at the time. There's a tropical feel to some of this one, for example the mid-tempo Honeysuckle Highway, during which I can imagine girls in grass skirts sultrily swaying. The words are brilliant and often hilarious:
You wore a bandana, I wore navy blue We met in Havana at quarter past two Across the savannah and down to the beach You munched a banana, I nibbled a peach
You played a small solo, I muffled a drum You offered a polo, I stuck with my gum I danced a light polka, you threw a few hoops I was Oscar Homolka, you were Marjorie Proops
The colourfully titled opener is a typical Dury virtuoso lyrical tour de force, with sundry Blockheads exchanging the ruefully angry lines with him. Mash it Up Harry, the last track (or is it? Arf Arf!) manages to be both touching and rousing, and a perfect way to end this marvellous album. The rest of it is a joy. If you love this unique, unlikely man, and you haven't heard this late entry in the Dury/Blockheads saga, do not hesitate.
This album was Ian Dury's swan-song and perhaps not too much should have been anticipated, especially following a string of rather poor and average works. In fact this is a triumph and quite the best release since New Boots and Panties - perhaps no coincidence since this is virtually the original line-up. Commentary tends to concentrate on Dury and his lyrics, but the Blockheads' playing is exemplary throughout. There is not a bad track here and there are many standout moments. The beautiful guitar and the clever paralleling of vocal and picking on You're My Baby is extremely captivating. The Honeysuckle Highway is hilarious and brilliant, with one of Dury's best play-out lyrics. Other especial delights are the hilarious depiction of married misery in Bed 'O' Roses No. 9, and the exuberant finale Mash It Up Harry. Recommended.