Classic albums A-Z: Ian Dury & the Blockheads – Laughter (1980)

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So, for the fourth instalment – the letter ‘D’ in my mini Classic albums A-Z – it’s Ian Dury. And this cracker from 1980 – Laughter, the last studio album Ian did with Stiff Records and the last with the Blockheads – is notable for a couple of reasons in my book; the lineup inclusion of Wilko Johnson and the poetic lyricism in each of the 13 tracks.

I have very fond memories of my two eldest children singing along in particular to the chorus of track 7 when they were a lot younger than they are now although, for obvious reasons, I always skipped track 12 in those days!

Laughter is very definitely a feel-good album. Ian Dury himself, in an interview years later, admitted that he picked the title to cheer himself up. And there’s plenty to choose from here – have a listen to the lyrics in tracks 4, 6, 7, 11 and 13 in particular. Here’s an extract from ‘Over the Points’ to whet your appetites…

All over the shop hundreds of people invariably male write our numbers down
We as trains are agreed that this is because we are extremely phallic
Nobody seems frightened on board us ‘cos we hardly ever crash
We’ve been squashing pennies for well over a century
People love it when they’re robbed
And they wave at us and are happy watching us going past
Can you imagine how pleasant it is in general being an iron horse?
I’m quite chuffed

Full track listing:
  1. Superman’s big sister
  2. Pardon
  3. Delusions of grandeur
  4. Yes and no (Paula)
  5. Dance of the crackpots
  6. Over the points
  7. (Take your elbow out of the soup) you’re sitting on the chicken
  8. Uncoolohol
  9. Hey hey take me away
  10. Manic Depression
  11. Oh Mr Peanut
  12. Fucking Ada
  13. Reasons to be cheerful (Part 3)
Lineup
  • Ian Dury (vocals)
  • Wilko Johnson (guitars, backing vocals)
  • Johnny Turnbull (guitars, backing vocals)
  • Mick Gallagher (keyboards)
  • Norman Roy-Watt (bass)
  • Charley Charles (drums)
  • Davey Payne (saxophone, harmonica, flute)

 

 

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