January 6, 2011

ian_dury The great thing about YouTube is you can go looking for some video and end up in a place where you never expected you’d be. Tonight, checking out some Beatles videos I stumbled upon Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ Sweet Gene Vincent, a great tune from his album “New Boots And Panties” (play loud – believe me, you’ll thank me for it!):

blue gene baby

skinny white sailor, the chances were slender
the beauties were brief
shall I mourn you decline with some thunderbird wine
and a black hankerchief?
I miss your sad Virginia whisper
I miss the voice that called my heart

sweet gene vincent
young and old and gone
sweet gene vincent

who, who, who slapped john?

white face, black shirt
white socks, black shoes
black hair, white Strat
bled white, died black

sweet gene vincent
let the blue roll in tonight
at the sock hop ball in the union hall
where the bop is their delight

here come duck-tailed Danny dragging Uncanny Annie
she’s the one with the flying feet
you can break the peace daddy sickle grease
the beat is reet complete
and you jump back honey in the dungarees
tight sweater and a ponytail
will you guess her age when she comes back stage?
the hoodlums bite their nails

black gloves, white frost
black crepe, white lead
white sheet, black knight
jet black, dead white

sweet gene vincent
there’s one in every town
and the devil drives ’till the hearse arrives
and you lay that pistol down

sweet gene vincent
there’s nowhere left to hide
with lazy skin and ash-tray eyes
a perforated pride

so farewell mademoiselle, knicker-bocker hotel
farewell to money owed
but when your leg still hurts and you need more shirts
you got to get back on the road

Ah, memories! Hearing that tune really brought back memories of the early days with my friend Paul, who was savvy enough to yank me out of my listless, mid-70s Pink Floyd / Linda Rondstadt / Eagles stupor and upgrade my musical tastes with the likes of The Clash, The Ramones, Blondie, and, yes, Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Dury was famous for his bawdy cockney wordplay, and “”New Boots And Panties” was chock full of interesting songs with unusual beats and clever wordplay. Of course, I had to be careful to only play the album when my parents were out (I was still living at home at the time) because the string of shouted gross obscenities that opened (Warning: extremely offensive language!!) “Plaistow Patricia”, a song about a pubescent, drug-addled hooker, would have gotten me tossed out in ten seconds flat. But I always liked that song, and – after all – we are talking vintage punk rock here!

You would never have heard Dury on Top 40 AM radio – his genre was strictly the mod, hip progressive FM radio stations like the legendary WBCN in Boston during its long since past salad days. But, if you’re from my age group every city had its own BCN-like FM stations that pushed the limits and moved the goalposts programming-wise back in the late ’70s.

Sad to hear, Dury passed away a few years back from cancer, but hearing this tune and others tonight brought back fond memories of late nights at the legendary Rathskeller (a.k.a. “The Rat”) in Kenmore Square and similar Cambridge-Somerville clubs and pubs with Paul and his friend “Robby Roommate” that have long since closed. But that’s the transcendent quality of music for you.

Bollocks! You say you don’t remember Ian Dury and the Blockheads? This was the hit single from “New Boots And Panties”. Jog your memory?

Oh well, I tried… we are, after all, talking punk rock!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:58 | Comments (0)
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