If you’ve never heard of The Bureau I’m not surprised but believe me when I tell you that this is the second album that Dexy’s Midnight Runners never made. The Bureau were an amalgamation of members of the Donkey jackets and wooly hats Dexy’s (Pete Williams (bass), JB Blythe & Steve Spooner (saxophones) and Stoker (drums)) that had quit the band because of disagreements with Kevin Rowland. They hooked up with Rob Jones (guitar and trumpet) Tony Bischoff (bass) and singer Archie Brown formerly of the band The Upset who had supported Dexy’s at the “Intense Emotion Revue” I saw in Birmingham, and “Merton” Mick Talbot on keyboards to formThe Bureau.
They issued just 2 singles in the UK, “Only For Sheep” and “Let Him Have It” (both on the album), the latter of which is one of my very favourite 7”s. Then they pretty much disappeared. Years later I discovered they had released an album that for some reason was only issued in Canada and Australia ! It finally got a UK release in 2005 but only on CD. I managed to find a Canadian LP last year.
The band had the same horn driven “soul” sound we heard on “Searching For The Young Soul Rebels” and this album is in no way an inferior version of that. It stands up very well next to it and if you put Kevin Rowland on vocals it could very easily have been Dexy’s follow up.
It all starts in a quite subdued manner. Single “Only For Sheep” and “The First One” are relatively low key but then the next three tracks (“Sentimental Attraction”, “Got To Be Now” which cheekily comes on like Dexy’s “Tell Me When My Light Turns Green” and “Looking For Excitement”) really kick things off.
Side 2 gives us “Let Him Have It” which has always been, and remains, one of my favourite singles by anyone. If you know the film of the same title it’s the same story (although the song is nothing to do with the film) of Derek Bentley who was controversially convicted and hung for a murder he very probably didn’t commit, but he was old enough to hang which the probable murderer wasn’t.
“This is heinous crime, someone here is gonna pay for this
Too bad that you’re the only one that’s old enough now
All of us here, understand you never held the gun
But we’re gonna prove to everyone that justice has been done”
A sad, sad story turned into a killer single. Over on this side you also get the joyous “Bigger Prize” and a nice run at the theme from “The Carpetbaggers”.
And then The Bureau just disappeared leaving behind one great album and a classic single. It’s more than most manage.
Let Him Have It - https://youtu.be/MFfRrh44rD0