Tuesday, 12 June 2018

"Mr Love Pants" by IAN DURY and THE BLOCKHEADS (March 2015 Edsel Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound 2CD Reissue and Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...Mash It Up Harry..."

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 – "Mr Love Pants" by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS is a Limited Edition 1CD Deluxe Edition in Hardback Casebound packaging on Edsel EDSA 5034 (Barcode 740155503437) and pans out as follows (51:16 minutes):

1. Jack Shit George
2. The Passing Show
3. You’re My Baby
4. Honeysuckle Highway
5. Itinerant Child
6. Geraldine
7. Cacka Boom
8. Bed O’Roses No. 9
9. Heavy Living
10. Mash It Up Harry
Tracks 1 to 10 are the CD album “Mr. Love Pants” released July 1998 on Ronnie Harris Records DUR 1

BONUS TRACK
11. Mash It Up Harry (‘Future Funk Squad’ Radio Remix)

The 26-page booklet inside the hardback casebound cover features full annotation by known expert WILL BIRCH (done in 2004), lyrics to all the songs (including the outtakes/demos), unpublished photos, repros of his handwritten ‘5 poems’, original artwork and so on.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.

The glory days of Number 1 singles (“Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” in 1978) and Number 2 LPs (“Do It Yourself” in 1979) were long past for IAN DURY – and wanting to forget (by his own admission) much of what he wrote in the 80s and the disappointment of 1992’s “The Bus Driver’s Prayer & Other Stories” not even charting despite being such a strong album (see separate review) – it was good to see 1998’s wonderfully upbeat “Mr. Love Pants” afford Dury see well-deserved chart action again. Sadly it was to be his last studio recordings with the Blockheads (he passed away in 2000) - but complete with Storm Thorgerson’s artwork intact and new liner notes from Alan Robinson (who worked the album’s promotion in 1998) – this 2015 CD reissue even gives us a half-decent stab at a bonus track in the guise of a ‘remix’ of one of the album’s highlights “Mash It Up Harry”.

It opens in suitably irreverent style with “Jack Shit George” which features a too-and-fro lyric battle between Dury and his Blockheads (he poses a question and they reply in a not so kind manner by being honest). Ian’s songwriting parent Chaz Jankel trumped up co-authored winners in the shape of the acidic “The Passing Show” (“...as we’ve grown jaded and corrupt...”) and the pretty (even sinister) “You’re My Baby”. You also notice the superb Production values (self done) - leagues ahead of anything that had gone before – full of warmth and quiet power – it lifted a lot of the songs and kind of forced you to listen/hear.  

“Honeysuckle Highway” is a languid love song ala Ian Dury with lyrics like “...Evincing all the properties of rapture with a sybaritic disarray...” – but my heart is with “Itinerant Child” which has the most brilliantly written first-verse about a clapped out car “a psychedelic nightmare with a million leaks...It’s home-sweet-home to sweet arse freaks...” (if you’re interested there’s a gorgeous outtake of it on Disc 2 of “The Bus Driver’s Prayer & Other Stories” 2CD reissue in this 2015 series). “Geraldine” is a co-write with Mickey Gallagher where our hero is “...in love with the person in the sandwich centre...” (try not laughing as you listen to him going on about baguettes and coronation chicken). The bopper “Mash It Up Harry” is a updated throwback to the beats of old where Harry wants “...a bit of Wembley up his Rio Grande...” The whole album feels great in a way his records hadn’t done in years.

“He’s got his little bit of England to defend...” - our Ian sang on “Mash It Up Harry”. Well here’s one worth fighting for. Take a chance on his genius with this wicked looking casebound reissue...

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...

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