Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"The Celtic Soul Brothers" by Dexys Midnight Runners

Song#:  1466
Date:  05/28/1983
Debut:  90
Peak:  86
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul

Pop Bits:  After this unusual band grabbed a left-field #1 hit with "Come on Eileen," they had the difficult task of trying to follow it up. They were successful in doing so in the UK when their cover of Van Morrison's "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)" (#61, 1972) reached #5. For the US market, the label chose this song instead, which had already been issued as a single in the UK prior to "Come on Eileen" (it reached #45). It nicked the chart briefly and became their last single to do so. After some personnel changes, the band would return in 1985 with a new, sleek suit-and-tie look and the new album "Don't Stand Me Down." Leader Kevin Rowland initially refused to let any song be released as a single, which hurt promotion of the album. Eventually he relented, but by that time it was too late and the album tanked. They broke up the following year. In 2012, Rowland would rally a few old bandmates and issue the album "One Day I'm Going to Soar." Credited to just Dexys, the album would hit #13 in the UK, but get ignored in the US.

ReduxReview:  Dexys were in a tough spot. "Come on Eileen" was an oddball hit with a specific sound. While folks loved it, sometimes just that one single is enough for them. The band's rag-tag hippie look and fiddle-heavy folk/soul attracted folks, but they quickly lost interest after the hit in favor of the latest shiny new thing. So no matter what song the band chose for a follow-up, it was going to have a difficult time. While this song was a good choice, it just couldn't compare to "Come on Eileen" and it died quickly. I think it might have been smarter to try the Van Morrison cover. It's retro-rock style might have found an audience, especially with those familiar with Morrison's catalog. The song probably would have failed as well, but it might had a better shot. As for this song, I liked it right off the bat when I heard it as the first track on the "Too-Rye-Ay" album.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) It's been said that this song helped inspire author Roddy Doyle when he was writing his 1987 novel "The Commitments." The book, about an unemployed group of young adults who form a soul band, became a best-seller and the 1991 film based on the novel was also a hit (as was its soundtrack which reached #8).  2) By this time, the three members that made up the horn section of the band decided to quit and move on. They formed The TKO Horns. They toured with Paul Young and Elvis Costello, and would also be featured players on Costello's 1983 album "Punch the Clock." The trio can also be heard on recordings by Howard Jones, Squeeze, and The Fixx.


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