Dexys Midnight Runners

Because of You

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Is Kevin Rowland a musical genius or a wacko nutcase? He was a punk in the late '70s (the Killjoys), then a soul rebel (Searching For The Young Soul Rebels), then a Celtic soul brother (Too-Rye-Ay), then a tortured artist (Don't Stand Me Down), then a jazzy popster produced by Deodato (Wanderer) and finally, a torch song transvestite (My Beauty). To change musically as often as Rowland has in 20 years is either crazy or brilliant. Listening to this budget-priced collection of Dexy's tracks from their heyday on Polygram/Mercury, it's obvious that Rowland knew exactly what he was doing, and he did it well. He had a constantly changing musical vision, and he kept changing until he got it right. The tracks from the Too-Rye-Ay era are the most brilliantly realized tracks here. Thankfully, the overplayed "Come On Eileen" has been left off this collection in favor of some lesser-known tracks ("Show Me," "Soon"), and B-sides ("Dubious," "Reminisce, Pt. 1," "Let's Make This Precious," "Celtic Soul Brothers," "Old," "All In All," and the non-album single "Let's Get This Straight From The Start") are still brilliant 20 years later. The tracks from Don't Stand Me Down are lifeless and dull, with the exception of the single edit of "This Is What She's Like." The title track is a nice country tinged non-album single that was the band's final release. This is a nice compilation if you are looking for something deeper than the hits, but Too-Rye-Ay is better suited for the novice, and everything else is for the pro. Is Kevin Rowland a musical genius or a wacko nutcase? Probably a bit of both.

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