Dexys Midnight Runners

Geno

Song Review by

Once upon a time, there was a black American serviceman named Geno Washington, who while stationed in the UK in the mid to late '60s recorded a number of albums and singles with local British musicians that became one of the touchstones of the UK's Northern Soul scene. Geno Washington was a powerful but limited performer who never broke out of a small cult following, and Dexy's Midnight Runners' 1980 UK number one single "Geno" celebrates him in song. Opening with a brass riff pinched from one of Washington's songs (saxophonist Jeff Blythe had been a latter-day member of Washington's Ram Jam Band), "Geno" opens with a verse that puts singer Kevin Rowland in the audience as a young man "Back in '68 in a sweaty club" being electrified by Washington's performance. The later verse dismisses Washington as a performer -- "Now you're all over/Your song is so tame" -- but maintains Rowland's respect for his early inspiration. What the song doesn't mention -- although it would be interesting to know if Rowland ever knew this, considering his ongoing obsessions with artifice and reality -- is that Geno Washington was a fraud, getting UK record contracts and live gigs on the basis of the work of Gino Washington, a Detroit-based performer from the early '60s whose minor hits included the immortal "Gino Is A Coward."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Searching for the Young Soul Rebels 1980 EMI Music Distribution 3:31
No Image 1983 Oldgold / Im
Best of 1980-1990 1990
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:26
No Image 1994 Mercury 3:27
Too-Rye-Ay [Rarities Edition] 2010 Island / Mercury 3:33
100 Greatest Number Ones
Various Artists
Rhino 3:26
Born and Raised in the 80s
Various Artists
Rhino 3:26
Happy Mother's Day
Various Artists
Rhino 3:26
Hits of the 80s [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 3:28
Smash Hits: No.1s
Various Artists
Rhino 3:26