Ian Dury had an unorthodox look that even during the punk explosion he had troubled getting signed. WK However, “Stiff Records specialized in making stars of left-of-center acts that didn’t fit neatly within boundaries…Ian Dury’s debut, New Boots and Panties!, set forth the manifesto of a visionary nearly on par with short-term label mate Elvis Costello.” RW Indeed, “Ian Dury’s primary appeal lies in his lyrics” STE which display “a savage verbal wit and a fiction writer's eye for detail with a command of music from punk parody (the hilarious Blackmail Man) to sophisto-funk (Wake Up and Make Love with Me).” RW
“Dury’s off-kilter charm and irrepressible energy make the album gel, with the disco pulse of [the aforementioned] ‘Wake Up and Make Love with Me’ making perfect sense next to the gentle tribute Sweet Gene Vincent, the roaring punk of Blockheads, and the revamped music hall of Billericay Dickie and My Old Man.” STE
“Dury was one of the most English of artists” RW considering that his “accent is thick and his language dense with local slang.” STE As such, some of his wit isn’t “discernible to casual listeners, leaving the music to stand on its own merits. On…New Boots and Panties!!, Dury’s music is at its best, and even that is a bizarrely uneven fusion of pub rock, punk rock, and disco.” STE
Demos for most of the album’s songs were recorded as far back as the spring of 1977 and were largely the product of a fruitful writing partnership with Chaz Jankel. Ironically, however, some of the tracks which are considered the most English are actually co-written with American Steve Nugent. WK At Dury’s insistence, the album did not feature singles, not an entirely uncommon practice at the time, WK especially in the U.K. However, singles from the same era have been added to reissues.
While later albums were credited to Ian Dury & the Blockheads, this one was not, as the band was not formed until some months after this recording. The rhythm section of bassist Norman Watt-Roy and drummer Charley Charles were featured on this album, but two other Blockheads members are not. WK
The album title “derives from Dury’s habit of buying clothes second hand, and refers to the only items he insisted on buying new.” WK
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Last updated May 13, 2011.