With the incoming wave of explosive and volatile music that was about to burst onto the scene in the late 1970’s, among them was Ian Dury. A cascading tank that would not let a simple, life-altering disease of Polio take him off the stage. With his 1977 release, New Boots and Panties!!, Dury was a juggernaut that became a sensation with his clever wordplay, entertaining factors on stage, and the sheer ability behind his backing band.
New Boots and Panties!! is a definitive musical album that opens with the beautiful touches and graces of piano chords that reflect some of the sun shining Zen gardens, only to then brush a new leaf of a funky, bass-ridden adventure. “Wake up and Make Love with Me” is a graceful track that borderlines on the shoulder-shrugging, dance heavy movement through the London streets in the cool, midnight hours. “If I look so self-possessed, oh please disturb my rest. It’s so lovely when I’m sleeping, but wide awake is best” Dury describes through a slightly sleepy, less than fully rested gaze that quickly becomes an energetic blast of howls and screams.
With Davey Payne on saxophone, Chas Jankel on guitars and keyboards, Norman Watt-Roy on the bass, and Charley Charles on the drums. The band seems to be the muse behind Dury as he clambers along to the poetic and almost elegant selections of sounds. There is also Edward Speight on the ballad guitar which makes face on a mix of “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” and “Clevor Trever”. Then the final staff of personnel comes with Geoff Castle who performs on the synthesizer and does a fantastic job of creating this key mix with Jankel.
As Dury starts to move throughout New Boots and Panties!!, he creates a whirlwind within the record that is impossible to miss. His charisma behind the microphone and sudden attraction to the English dialect that he sports like a derby hat or his union jack grill, there is something incredibly British and grasping by Dury. He continues to lay the ground work and with the following tracks of “Billericay Dickie” that sound as a broken fair carousel that takes a turn through the promiscuous fields of Dury. Hearing the innuendos and stylish courtship is one of the highlights of the record and continues to some of the later portions where Dury is his firmest.
The final track, “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” is exactly what the title entails. Dury is a monument, rocking a laid back release of verses that works over a jazz and steel drum mix that collaborates in this strange mix of styles and sounds to create a solid finale. The way that the piano shines, the percussion jams along, the way Dury swings, and ultimately the synthesizers create one last glimpse into the wild and tantric experience that is New Boots and Panties!!.