Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Ian Dury

  • New Boots and Panties!! [Stiff, 1978] A-
  • Lord Upminster [Polydor, 1981] B-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

New Boots and Panties!! [Stiff, 1978]
Dury is a pub rock survivor, as tough and homely as a dandelion, as English as music halls, billingsgate, and Gene Vincent. The tenacious wit and accuracy of his lyrics betray how uncommon he believes his blockheaded protagonists really are, and his music rocks out in the traditional blues-based grooves without kissing the past's ass. Tender, furious, sexy, eccentric, surprising. A-

Lord Upminster [Polydor, 1981]
"Spasticus Autisticus" is every bit as startling as Dury must have hoped after Laughter got lost in the hustle, but on the rest of his major-label move he sounds like a retired ad man. I suppose the idea is to let the riddims of Steve Stanley, Chaz Jankel, and Sly & Robbie turn jingles into rallying cries, but how much human kindness can you sell with slogans like "escape is a jape"? B-