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2023/4 Albums Thing 321 - Ian Dury & The Blockheads “Do It Yourself”

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By the time Ian Dury & The Blockheads 2nd album was released in May 1979 they may well have become the most unlikely pop stars of the last 60+ years. In the summer of 1978 their single “What A Waste” reached #9 in the UK charts and in January of 1979 "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" reached #1. These huge selling records were produced by a singer and band who were all veterans of the London Pub Rock scene, whether with Dury in Kilburn & The High Roads (guitarist/keyboardist Chaz Jankel, saxophonist Davey Payne) or bands like The Loving Awareness (bassist Norman Watt-Roy, drummer Charlie Charles, guitarist John Turnbull, keyboardist Mickey Gallagher). These were all seasoned musicians who were all, I’m sure, fully au fait with the subject matter of one of Dury’s earlier singles (that Jankel, Watt-Roy and Charles had played on) "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”.

Under the direction of Dury and Jankel this band, now christened The Blockheads, cooked up a groovy concoction of Funk, Jazz, Rock ’n’ Roll, Pop, Reggae and Music Hall topped off by Dury’s witty, wordy lyrics. All of that is laid out before you on “Do It Yourself”. 

Off the back of 2 big hit singles “Do It Yourself” reached #2 in the UK albums chart. It’s slightly odd that no single was lifted from the album (“Inbetweenies” was issued as single in Europe) to give it that extra push up to the top spot but this was Stiff Records who never did the things that other companies did. The album was released in the UK in twelve different sleeves each based on a design from the Crown wallpaper sample book !

We saw Ian Dury & The Blockheads on the tour to support this album at Birmingham Odeon in July ’79. The gig sold out in seconds but, as it was close to my brothers birthday and he really wanted to go, this was the first time, and only 1 of 2 occasions, I ever bought tickets from the touts outside the gig before the show. I don’t remember them being hugely expensive but if they were it was worth it, to this day, it’s one of the greatest gigs I’ve ever seen. The Blockheads really were a quite formidable band.

This Is What We Find - https://youtu.be/L9Js_nrrtHo?si=aH9YiozUl5epkJ8D

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