Dexys Midnight Runners
Too-Rye-Ay


4.0
excellent

Review

by Divaman USER (157 Reviews)
April 27th, 2017 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This album is a mostly-forgotten classic that blends Celtic rhythms and lyrics with tasty soul and R&B sounds.

When most people bother to think of Dexys Midnight Runners at all, it's usually as one of those one-hit-wonder '80s bands. There's more to it than that, though. The truth is that in a musical era known more for its singles than its LPs, Dexys' Too-Rye-Ay is actually one of the stronger albums of that decade, as well as one of the more atypical ones. An English band that mixed Celtic phrases and rhythms with soul and R&B influences, Dexys Midnight Runners eschewed the synth-pop style so fashionable in the '80s. In the process, they not only scored a huge international hit single with "Come on Eileen", they also created a unique and powerful LP.

Following their moderately successful debut album, 1980's Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, co-founder Kevin "Al" Archer and several other band members quit the Dexys, leaving lead singer/multi-instrumentalist Kevin Rowland and trombonist Jim Patterson (who sometimes referred to themselves as the "Celtic Soul Brothers") to remake the band. The new band ended up at 11 members strong, and included a pair of violinists (the idea of which had been one of the key bones of contention that caused some of the previous band members to bolt). Dexys then left EMI for Mercury Records, and released the first single for their new label, "The Celtic Soul Brothers", which only got as high as #45 on the British charts. However, their second Mercury single, "Come on Eileen", propelled them to stardom.

It's hard to overstate just how big a hit "Eileen" was. A playful seduction song wherein the saucy protagonist tries to convince the object of his affection to come back to his place and "take off everything", the song reached #1 in the charts in the UK, and the U.S., as well as in Ireland, Canada and a number of other countries. With its pronounced Celtic fiddling and a chorus that included the lyrics "Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye" (which hearkened back to a 1913 Irish-American song later made popular by Bing Crosby in the film Going My Way), "Eileen" was something of a novelty number that became even more popular thanks to having its video placed in constant rotation on MTV. It became a mega-hit, and deservedly so. Even now, 35 years later, it's instantly recognizable to most music fans, and in fact it's currently being featured prominently in a commercial for the new season of the American television series Preacher.

What most music fans probably don't know, though, is how substantial the rest of the album is. The original release of Too-Rye-Ay featured ten songs total (including "Eileen" and "Celtic Soul Brothers"), and although subsequent versions of the LP have included a variety of bonus tracks, those original 10 songs were more than enough to create an exceptional album. There are high-energy numbers ("Celtic Soul Brothers", "Let's Make This Precious", and "Plan B") and slower numbers ("Old" and "All and All (This One Last Wild Waltz)"). There's even a cover of the Van Morrison classic "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)". The music includes some smoking hot brass pieces and some poignant string and piano sections. Rowland's voice is a little wild and high-pitched, and it does have a somewhat whiny quality to it. He's supported by a trio of backup singers who tend to ground him a little, though, and to his credit, he's got a certain charisma -- he knows how to use what he has effectively. His vocal sound won't satisfy everyone, but it works well with this material. Also, the band is so tight and proficient that it gives him room to be a little looser.

In its own time, Too-Rye-Ay was a fairly successful album, reaching #2 and eventually going Platinum in the UK, as well as hitting #14 in the U.S. Nowadays, with the exception of "Come on Eileen", it's a mostly forgotten classic. This is lamentable. As unfashionable as its blend of blue-eyed soul and Irish phrases and melodies might be these days (much as they were in the '80s when the album was first released), there's an integrity to the music that deserves to be heard. If you listen carefully, you can even hear Kevin Rowland himself inviting you: "Won't you join me in this one last wild waltz""



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Divaman
April 27th 2017


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I kind of owed these guys after (deservedly) trashing their 2016 album "Let the Records Show". I'm not normally a big soul/R&B lover, but this one was one of my favorite albums from the '80s.

Digging: Kakkmaddafakka - Diplomacy

SandwichBubble
April 27th 2017


9549 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mmmmmm good stuff. Album's a treat

butcherboy
April 27th 2017


9464 Comments


need to listen to more of them.. pos pos pos

e210013
April 27th 2017


2257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It seems you continue in the 80's. You're really the reviewer that bring to us those troubled and also innovative musical times. And in this case with one of the best examples of those times. I always loved this album. The band could manage to create a unique and powerful album, one of the best in the 80's, indeed. It's a pity that became almost a forgotten album.

Another great informative review as usual. And I'm very glad because was you who covered this album. So, have a great pos.

Divaman
April 27th 2017


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. Sandwich, I think you and I are going to agree on my next review also.



In the meantime, one of these days, if no one else does it, I'll probably come back to Dexys and review "In Search of the Young Soul Rebels" if no one else does. I haven't heard that album in years, and I'm thinking it's time I revisit it.

e210013
April 27th 2017


2257 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice option, too.

SandwichBubble
April 27th 2017


9549 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Sandwich, I think you and I are going to agree on my next review also."



( ゚o゚) intrigue

Judio!
April 27th 2017


8444 Comments


Holy shit this finally got a review. Hard pos, you're doing gods work

Divaman
April 27th 2017


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Judio!



I'll tell you if you like, Sandwich, but it'll probably be more fun for you to wonder.

bloc
January 28th 2019


55108 Comments


This is killer

Digging: The Chemical Brothers - No Geography

SandwichBubble
January 28th 2019


9549 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah

DivergentThinking
January 28th 2019


6227 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One hell of a jam

SandwichBubble
January 28th 2019


9549 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Everyone talks about Eileen, but Plan B and I'll Show You are just as good

Divaman
January 29th 2019


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Funny, I was just listening to In Search of the Young Soul Rebels today, which is also a pretty good album.

SandwichBubble
January 29th 2019


9549 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

In Search of the Young Soul Rebels [2]

Great band (up until a certain point), deserves more love.



user ratings (42) is wack

bloc
January 29th 2019


55108 Comments


"Funny, I was just listening to In Search of the Young Soul Rebels today"

I know

SandwichBubble
January 29th 2019


9549 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Every Windows 11 pc will come with a bloc office buddy (à la clippy and rover) pre-installed.

bloc
January 29th 2019


55108 Comments


Hi there!

It looks like you're about to write a comment. Would you like some help with that?

TVC15
March 15th 2019


9933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

How tf is every song on here almost on par with Come on Eileen



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