Friday, 1 November 2013

The Archivist - Dexys Midnight Runners - Searching For The Young Soul Rebels

Now and again, a band comes along that is totally out of step with what is currently going on at the time.  Coming at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, Dexy’s Midnight Runners were one such band. With charismatic front man Kevin Rowlands they blasted onto the scene with their debut album Searching For The Young Soul Rebels.

I first heard the single Dance Stance (which later became Burn It Down) on John Peek and loved it straight away. I’m a sucker for a good horn section. In Britain we were just about to be exposed to the Ska revival bands such as The Specials, The Selector, The Beat & Madness but nobody was like Dexys.

There was no compromise in their music. Kevin Rowland knew what he wanted and by God he was going to get it. The band even went so far as stealing the album tapes forcing EMI to renegotiate their deal with Dexys.

Based around the songwriting and nucleus of Kevin Rowland & Kevin Archer the album really took off on the back of the single Geno.

The whole album is full of brilliant songs, beginning with the sound of a radio dial being moved through Deep Purple, The Sex Pistols & The Specials before Kevin comes in with ‘For God’s sake burn it down’ and the band launch into Burn It Down. Totally Brilliant.

They released their next single There, There My Dear which was another brilliant song.

 However, Kevin Rowland decided the next single should be Keep It Part Two and it bombed. This caused a big split in the band with Archer leaving to form The Blue Ox Babes and left Kevin Rowland to pick up the pieces.

One more single, which wasn’t on the album, Plan B, was released in 1981 before Kevin Rowland and the rest of Dexy’s Midnight Runners went to plan their next move.


They came back with a totally different look and sound – which was terribly similar to the sound of Kevin Archer’s new band The Blue Ox Babes – which caused even more acrimony between the once friends.

But this new incarnation of Dexy’s had huge success with the album Too Rye Aye and the huge hit singles Jackie Wilson & Come On Eileen,

However , following the departure of the band’s brass section, Kevin Rowland changed direction for the next album Don’t Stand Me Down. Now down to a nucleus of Rowlands, Helen O’Hara and Billy Adams the sound was totally different. A change in image with Ivy league chic but with no singles and elongated tracks it went on to become what many critics and fans see as Kevin Rowland’s masterpiece. But it didn’t sell at all.


A solo album by Kevin Rowland, The Wanderer, in 1988 performed poorly and we did not see Kevin again until 1999s My Beauty, an album of covers that is quite good but with a controversial cover that killed the album.


Then, in 2012, Kevin came back with Dexys (now shortened) – with an astonishing album, One Day I’m Going To Soar – featuring Kevin, Big Jim Patterson, Pete Williams & new keyboard player and musical director, Mick Talbot (ex Style Council)

I was lucky enough to catch them in Treorci were they played the whole album in sequence to an amazing standing ovation. Let’s hope Kevin doesn’t leave it another 23 years to release another Dexys album.


No comments:

Post a Comment