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Do It Yourself (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

Ian Dury's music always bordered on the functional, since it was used as a backdrop for his wry vignettes and stories, but on his second album, Do It Yourself, that aspect came to the fore. Largely abandoning the punk inflections that were scattered throughout New Boots and Panties!!, Do It Yourself is a record of mid-tempo pub rock disco — competently played, but rarely engaging. Dury's stories are all wonderful, filled with humor and penetrating detail, but only a handful of tracks, such as the terrific "Inbetweenies," are married to actual hooks, and by the end of the record, the steady disco throb has become a little numbing. Even with these faults, Do It Yourself remains one of Dury's very best records, since his lyrical facility throughout the album is simply amazing. [Fuel 2000's 2006 reissue of Do It Yourself adds several singles — "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick," "There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards," "Reasons to Be Cheerful, Pt. 3," "Whata Waste," and a 12" mix of "Reasons to Be Cheerful" — to the first disc. The second disc contains demos of "This Is What We Find," "Boogie Woogie (Duff 'Em Up)," "Quiet," "Babies Kept Quiet (Uneasy Sunny Day Hotsy Totsy," a backing track of "Inbetweenies," and an instrumental of "Blow." Best of all, the second disc also contains a set from the Blockheads' slot on the 1977 Stiff's Live Stiffs package tour, finding the band in terrific form as it tears through New Boots and Panties!!-era songs like "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll," "I'm Partial to Your Abracadabra," "Sweet Gene Vincent," and "Wake Up and Make Love With Me." This live set is worth the price of admission alone.]

Biography

Born: 12 May 1942 in Harrow, Middlesex, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Rock & roll has always been populated by fringe figures, cult artists who managed to develop a fanatical following because of their outsized quirks, but few cult rockers have ever been quite as weird, or beloved, as Ian Dury. As the leader of the underappreciated and ill-fated pub rockers Kilburn & the High Roads, Dury cut a striking figure — he remained handicapped from a childhood bout with polio, yet stalked the stage with dynamic charisma, spitting out music hall numbers and rockers...
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Do It Yourself (Deluxe Edition), Ian Dury
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