One of the first LPs my sister and I bought together (by the cliched but nonetheless effective methodology of saving up our pocket money) was Dexys Midnight Runners' debut album, Searching For the Young Soul Rebels (1980). Listening to it again, it's stood up very well; it's full of humour, intelligence and acute observations as well as the distinctive sounds of a kick ass horn section. Classic songs on the album include "Geno", still a great and curiously moving song; and the hyperarticulate "There There My Dear".
One song in particular, Thankfully Not Living in Yorkshire It Doesn't Apply, reminds me of dancing in the livingroom with a guy we called Randy Andy, a friend of my mum's in the category normally known as "freak", laughing with sheer joy because he was such a funky mover. The song contains the inimitable line "Lord have mercy on me, keep me away from Leeds". Which at the time, based on a complete absence of evidence, we deduced was about the Yorkshire Ripper.
Dexys went through some odd incarnations after this northern soul, teams-that-meet-in-caffs period: moving from serious, rather po-faced men in black clad in woollen hats to embrace the excesses of the day. Who can forget the risible dungarees circa "Come on Eileen" and the questionable hair? To the jaundiced eye, the age old problem: they seemed to have sold out as they got more popular. Their appearance on Top of the Pops for Jacky Wilson Said was notable for the pictures of tubby Scottish darts player Jocky Wilson displayed in error by BBC props staff. Kevin Rowland went through several breakdowns and ended up heavily made up and wearing a dress on the cover of his solo album My Beauty. Not that there's anything wrong with this, of course; better a dress than dungarees.
Jocky Wilson, March 22 1950 - March 24, 2012