Album review: Dexys - Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish And Country Soul
- Credit: Archant
Decades in gestation, Dexys take on a clutch of Irish standards and more recent classics.
Having broken themselves back in with 2012’s One Day I’m Going To Soar, Dexys’ frontman Kevin Rowland has decided 27 years is not a between-album sabbatical he wishes to repeat.
Indeed, he’s led the band to realise a long-term ambition of his, to reassess his own Irish musical roots.
Not original music, then, rather a fairly incohesive set of a dozen covers featuring Irish songbook extracts (The Curragh Of Kildare, Carrickfergus, The Town I Love So Well) sitting beside faithful covers (Rod Stewart’s You Wear It Well, The Bee Gees’ To Love Somebody) and the taut, ‘70s disco snap of Grazing In The Grass, originally by Friends Of Distinction, which sticks out like the coolest, sassiest sore thumb you ever saw.
But setting aside the curious curation, the music itself reeks of the passion, dedication and sweat that’s been expended on it - these are no lazy cash-in covers.
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And when it works, it sparkles. The album opens with the rather beautiful, mournful instrumental Women Of Ireland, featuring eloquent violin from original Dexys member Helen O’Hara, with whom Rowland first discussed recording Irish covers some 33 years ago.
Drums, violin, piano, bass and harmonica form the consummate bedrock of the album as it meanders through Rowland’s personal faves, but they don’t always hit the bullseye with the results.
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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes jars, Rowland’s overwrought delivery flattening the dainty instrumental arrangement beneath him, and How Do I Live grows ever more awkward as it reaches its climax with gurgling vocals and some back-and-forth shouting.
Sublime when they strike gold, a little grisly elsewhere, it’s worth sifting through.