Don't Stand Me Down

Last updated
Don't Stand Me Down
Dexys Midnight Runners Don't Stand Me Down.jpg
Studio album by Dexys Midnight Runners
Released September 1985
Recorded 1984–85
Genre New wave, blue-eyed soul
Length46:28
Label Mercury
Producer Billy Adams
Helen O'Hara
Kevin Rowland
Alan Winstanley
Dexys Midnight Runners chronology
Too-Rye-Ay
(1982)
Don't Stand Me Down
(1985)
One Day I'm Going to Soar
(2012)
Alternative cover
Dexys Midnight Runners Don't Stand Me Down Director's Cut.jpg
The 2002 "Director's Cut" reissue
Singles from Don't Stand Me Down
  1. "This Is What She's Like"
    Released: November 1985

Don't Stand Me Down is the third studio album by Dexys Midnight Runners, released in September 1985. The title of the album was inspired by a line in the album's song "The Waltz".

Dexys Midnight Runners band

Dexys Midnight Runners are an English pop band with soul influences, who achieved their major success in the early to mid-1980s. They are best known in the UK for their songs "Come On Eileen" and "Geno", both of which peaked at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart, as well as six other top-20 singles.

Contents

The album was released three years after their second album, the internationally successful Too-Rye-Ay . At the time, Dexys' lineup had been pared down from ten members to just four: vocalist/guitarist Kevin Rowland, guitarist Billy Adams, violinist Helen O'Hara, and saxophonist Nick Gatfield, the last of whom left the band after the recording sessions were completed. [1] These four members are pictured on the original album cover in suits (and, for the men, ties), in what Rowland referred to as an "Ivy League" or "Brooks Brothers" look.

<i>Too-Rye-Ay</i> 1982 studio album by Dexys Midnight Runners

Too-Rye-Ay is the second album by Dexys Midnight Runners, released in July 1982. The album is best known for the hit single "Come On Eileen", which included the lyrics "too-rye-ay" that inspired the album's title.

Kevin Rowland English singer-songwriter

Kevin Rowland is an English singer-songwriter of Irish descent and frontman for the pop band Dexys Midnight Runners, which had several hits in the early 1980s, the most notable being "Geno" and "Come On Eileen", both of which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.

Helen O'Hara is a British musician, formerly a member and violinist of the band Dexys Midnight Runners between 1982 and 1987, including performing on songs such as "Come on Eileen" from the Too-Rye-Ay album.

The album was a commercial failure upon release, and its rejection by both critics and the public resulted in the group's disbandment in 1987. The album was later described as a "neglected masterpiece" by Uncut , [2] and was selected as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die . In 2002, EMI and Rowland co-operated on a remastered "Director's Cut" edition of the album, which included an additional song added to the tracklist and expanded liner notes.

<i>Uncut</i> (magazine) London-based music magazine

Uncut magazine, trademarked as UNCUT, is a monthly publication based in London. It is available across the English-speaking world, and focuses on music, but also includes film and books sections. A DVD magazine under the Uncut brand was published quarterly from 2005 to 2006.

<i>1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die</i> 2005 Robert Dimery book

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is a musical reference book first published in 2005 by Universe Publishing. Part of the 1001 Before You Die series, it compiles writings and information on albums chosen by a panel of music critics to be the most important, influential, and best in popular music between the 1950s and the 2010s. The book was edited by Robert Dimery, an English writer and editor who had previously worked for magazines such as Time Out and Vogue.

Recording

Because the band's lineup had been reduced to a quartet by the time of the recording, a number of performers and session musicians filled the other roles during the lengthy recording sessions, including Vincent Crane (ex-Atomic Rooster) on piano, Julian Littman on mandolin, Tim Dancy (who had been Al Green's drummer) on drums, Tommy Evans on steel guitar, and former Dexys members "Big" Jim Paterson on trombone, John "Rhino" Edwards on bass, and Robert Noble on organ and synthesizer.

Vincent Crane was an English keyboardist who was best known as the organist for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster.

Atomic Rooster English band

Atomic Rooster are a British rock band, originally formed by members of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, organist Vincent Crane and drummer Carl Palmer. Throughout their history, keyboardist Vincent Crane was the only constant member and wrote the majority of their material. Their history is defined by two periods: the early-mid-1970s and the early 1980s. The band went through radical style changes, but they are best known for the hard, progressive rock sound of their hit singles, "Tomorrow Night" and "Devil's Answer", both in 1971.

Al Green American singer

Albert Leornes Greene, often known as The Reverend Al Green, is an American singer, songwriter and record producer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including "Take Me to the River", "Tired of Being Alone", "I'm Still in Love with You", "Love and Happiness", and his signature song, "Let's Stay Together". Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Green was referred to on the museum's site as being "one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music". He has also been referred to as "The Last of the Great Soul Singers". Green was included in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, ranking at No. 65, as well as its list of the 100 Greatest Singers, at No. 14.

In an interview with HitQuarters, saxophonist Gatfield described the recording as a "long drawn out painful process". [1] Gatfield, who did not play on Too-Rye-Ay, felt that the new album marked a telling and troubling shift from it, as unlike that record, which he claimed was made very inexpensively and "had an energy about it", Don't Stand Me Down cost a huge amount of money and, according to Gatfield, "felt uncomfortable and unnatural". [1]

HitQuarters

HitQuarters is an international music industry publication and contact database founded in 1999. It is noted for its in-depth interviews with industry figures, as well as its A&R and manager contact directory, free artist promo pages and song sale facility, demo reviews and A&R chart, and is the sister site to the songwriting tip sheet SongQuarters. The site has been sporadically active since May 2017, and no posts have been made on its Twitter and Facebook accounts since March and May 2015 respectively.

O'Hara expressed a different perspective in a newspaper interview accompanying the reissue of the album. O'Hara, who had been part of the Too-Rye-Ay band, said that "it became clear that Kevin wanted to experiment more musically" than the record company was comfortable with, and that, even before the album was released, "it was obvious that nobody was really going to promote it." To her, the best thing about Don't Stand Me Down was "that it got released at all", but the lack of commercial success was "quite hard to deal with, particularly for Kevin." [3]

On the original issue, just Alan Winstanley and Rowland were credited as producers, but Adams and O'Hara were added as co-producers in 1997, when the CD was reissued on Creation Records; at the same time, the titles to two of the songs were changed.

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [5]
Select 5/5 [6]

The album was a commercial failure upon release, in part due to frontman Kevin Rowland's refusal to do publicity for the album or to release a single from it. An edited version of "This Is What She's Like" was eventually released as a single, backed with part one of "Reminiscence", but the two-month delay from the album's release to its release led to the single missing the charts entirely.

Some reviewers were highly critical, [4] with "Trouser Press" characterizing the release as "a torpid snore that denies entertainment on every level", although writing in the Melody Maker , Colin Irwin described it as "quite the most challenging, absorbing, moving, uplifting and ultimately triumphant album of the year". [7] The album is now considered something of a lost treasure: it was featured in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die , published in 2006 by Universe. [8] Writing for Uncut in 2007, Paul Moody called it a "neglected masterpiece". [2]

Rowland remarked in 2008 that "I don't want to think about it too much because I want to think about what I'm doing now, but I remember coming out of the studio thinking, 'That's the best I can do.'" [9] In 2008, Bob Stanley of The Guardian commented on the album's failure, noting that it "emerged in a far less adventurous era than the one Too-Rye-Ay was released into. New mavericks on the block such as the Smiths and the Jesus and Mary Chain were entirely ignored by Radio 1. The same happened to Dexys, though it was their own fault – no single was released from the album." [9]

Reissues

1997 Creation CD

In the 1990s, Rowland purchased the rights to Don't Stand Me Down from Mercury and decided to license a digitally-remastered CD reissue of the album to Creation Records, which was releasing his current material. The album was issued by Creation in 1997 (CRECD154), and the cover of the album was changed to a shot of just Rowland and Adams from the same photo sessions as the original cover. Rowland's new sleeve notes, entitled "Foreword to the Second Edition", discusses the changing of two of the song titles from the original release: "Knowledge of Beauty" became "My National Pride", and "Listen to This" became "I Love You (Listen to This)". "My National Pride" was the original title of the former song, but Rowland "didn't have the courage to title it that when it came around to the artwork." In addition, the writers of the Warren Zevon song "Werewolves of London" were given co-writing credit on "One of Those Things", which uses the Zevon song as a background theme. Finally, two extra tracks were added to the release: "Reminisce (Part One)", recorded in the spring of 1983 prior to Don't Stand Me Down (and released as the B-side to the reissue of "The Celtic Soul Brothers" that year), and a version of "The Way You Look Tonight".

2002 Director's Cut

During the mastering process for the Creation release, a stereo enhancer was used, which both Rowland and original recording engineer Pete Schwier felt "ruined the dynamics." As a result, Rowland ultimately licensed the tracks to Dexys original label, EMI, to release a third and definitive version of the album in 2002, subtitled The Director's Cut. The tracks were again digitally remastered, but without the stereo enhancer, and the CD featured new artwork, further notes by Rowland, and the additional track "Kevin Rowland's 13th Time", but excluded both of the extra tracks on the Creation release. The cover photo was changed to a photo from a contemporaneous but different photo session of Rowland, Adams, and O'Hara strolling in a park wearing "preppy" clothes (which had been used as the back-cover photo on the Creation reissue). According to Rowland, the album now sounded to him "as it was intended to sound." The extra tracks added in the Creation release were excluded, but another new track was added. According to Rowland, "Kevin Rowland's 13th Time" had originally been intended to be the opening song (with the introductory lyric "My name is Kevin Rowland, I'm the leader of the band" and, in a later verse, a "joke" of sorts, to "kick off the proceedings"), but was left off the original issue of the album due to his perception at the time of a "dodgy drum beat" at one point; it was restored for The Director's Cut.

Rowland penned two pages of notes relating to the track, as well as a new "foreword to The Director's Cut", while also including his sleeve notes from the Creation "Second Edition".

A limited-edition version of The Director's Cut had a DVD disc included, featuring videos for the songs "This Is What She's Like", "My National Pride", and "I Love You (Listen to This)", directed by Jack Hazan. Rowland penned another page of notes regarding the videos. The booklet shows, in a two-page spread, a photo from the video shoot, with Dexys as an eight-piece band, with Rowland, Adams, and O'Hara in the foreground. All three videos feature footage from this set. While "This Is What She's Like" includes footage of Rowland and Adams walking the streets of New York City, and "My National Pride" shows the band in pastoral scenes evocative of Ireland, "I Love You (Listen to This)" is shot entirely on this set, dark, with a single spotlight on Rowland, no other band member visible, just various angles on Rowland singing the verses and choruses—the majority of the song—until the final instrumental ride-out, when Billy Adams, Helen O'Hara, and the rest of the musicians are finally seen for a few seconds.

Track listing

Original 1985 version

  1. "The Occasional Flicker" (Kevin Rowland) – 5:49
  2. "This Is What She's Like" (Billy Adams, Helen O'Hara, Rowland) – 12:23
  3. "Knowledge of Beauty" (O'Hara, Rowland, Steve Wynne) – 7:01
  4. "One of Those Things" (Rowland) – 6:01
  5. "Reminisce Part Two" (Rowland) – 3:31
  6. "Listen to This" (Adams, Rowland) – 3:19
  7. "The Waltz" (Rowland, Torch) – 8:21

The Director's Cut

  1. "Kevin Rowland's 13th Time" (Adams, O'Hara, Rowland) – 5:05
  2. "The Occasional Flicker" (Rowland) – 5:49
  3. "This Is What She's Like" (Adams, O'Hara, Rowland) – 12:23
  4. "My National Pride" (O'Hara, Rowland, Wynne) – 7:01
  5. "One of Those Things" (LeRoy Marinell, Rowland, Waddy Wachtel, Warren Zevon) – 6:01
  6. "Reminisce (Part Two)" (Rowland) – 3:31
  7. "I Love You (Listen to This)" (Adams, Rowland) – 3:19
  8. "The Waltz" (Rowland, Torch) – 8:21

Personnel

Technical

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "Interview With Nick Gatfield". HitQuarters. Oct 8, 2007. Retrieved Jun 30, 2010.
  2. 1 2 Paul Moody Uncut, March 2007, p.10.
  3. "Helen O'Hara on "Don't Stand Me Down" (copy)" . Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  4. 1 2 Thompson, Dave. "Don't Stand Me Down – Dexys Midnight Runners". AllMusic . Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  5. Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN   0-85712-595-8.
  6. Male, Andrew (August 1997). "Dexys Midnight Runners: Don't Stand Me Down". Select (86): 111.
  7. Irwin, Colin (1985-09-07). "Stand And Deliver". Melody Maker.
  8. Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN   0-7893-1371-5.
  9. 1 2 https://www.theguardian.com/music/2008/mar/07/popandrock1