Album: Ian Dury & the Blockheads

Ten More Turnips from the Tip, East Central One
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The Independent Culture

Though hardly the ragbag of throwaways suggested by the title, Ian Dury's final album is a patchy affair. It comprises three new tracks completed before he died, a couple of leftovers from the 1999 Mr Love Pants sessions, three old pieces to which new Blockheads backings have been posthumously added, and two songs written too late for Dury to sing – "You're the Why" and "I Could Lie", on which vocal duties are tackled by Robbie Williams and Dury's co-writer Chaz Jankel, respectively. Lyrically, it has the usual feisty complement of New Boots... street characterisations, rendered with jocosity in songs such as "Dance Little Rude Boy" ("you can throw more shapes than a jackanapes"), "Ballad of the Sulphate Strangler" (an affectionate portrait of his former roadie/minder Pete Rush), and "Happy Hippy", an espousal of drop-out culture whose attitude – "When I look back on the rat race, I don't regret a thing I've disavowed" – perhaps reflects Dury's own. Musically, he's well served here by the Blockheads, who deftly turn their hand to the right style for the song, from the cod-country of "Cowboys" and ballroom samba of "One Love" to the energetic prog-jazz of "Happy Hippy", the latter recalling the less indulgent corners of the Jethro Tull catalogue. Particularly winning is the New Orleans funk of "I Believe", which sounds as organically metronomic as the Meters. A much better album, then, than might be expected, with only the slightly laboured, moralistic tone of "It Ain't Cool" lacking Dury's usual light touch.

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