As punk rock morphed into post-punk and new wave at the end of the 1970s, disco remained the shaping force of the Top 40. It was to attract some highly surprising converts.

Ian Dury & The Blockheads Do It Yourself

Not only did ABBA’s Voulez-Vous embrace the post-Saturday Night Fever dancefloor revival, but so did the album that it kept off No.1. On his previous album, New Boots And Panties!!, Ian Dury’s music had been a maverick mix of pub rock, punk and ye olde music hall.

Those traits remained intact on this bizarre follow-up, yet tracks like Don’t Ask Me threw lop-sided disco shapes beneath lines like “’Ere I stand, with a doughnut for a brain.”

The album was big fun and The Blockheads remained unlikely to be mistaken for Shalamar: Cockney imprecations such as “Spread your chickens” and “What the Dickens?” (Inbetweenies) and “Fill a Durex full of water!” (Mischief) made sure of that. “Shitters are a wank!” grunted Dury, on Uneasy Sunny Day Hotsy-Totsy.

Dury always operated a strict policy of not including singles on his albums but this 40th anniversary deluxe multi-format reissue makes up for that.

Alongside the original album on magnolia vinyl and on CD, a second CD revisits What A Waste, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick and Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3 as well as various demos.

A bonus DVD features the videos for those three singles, plus a 1979 Rock Goes To College gig in Belfast, and Phill Jupitus and Kosmo Vinyl supply extensive sleevenotes. The whole package is a tremendous celebration of one of the most downright curious albums ever to scale the giddy heights of No.2 in the UK albums chart. 

8/10

Ian Gittins

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