A live album recorded sometime during 1978, Straight from the Desk preserves Ian Dury & the Blockheads at their prime, which isn't the same thing as saying they're at their peak. Here, the Blockheads were a road-tested, powerful unit, capable of tearing off a piece of utter nastiness like "Plaistow Patricia" but also sliding into the sleek funk of "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick." As the concert captured here arrived right between the ungainly New Boots and Panties!! and the cool professionalism of Do It Yourself (ironic, that title), this transition shouldn't be a surprise and yet it is, as it shows just how versatile this group was. Audio quality is substandard and the performance falls shy of transcendent, and yet this is a thoroughly absorbing listen for any fans who fancy themselves Blockheads.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine