IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS Ten More Turnips From The Tip (Ronnie Harris)
Referred to in the booklet notes as Dury's last studio album, "Ten More Turnips From The Tip" is an appropriately sweet-natured epitaph. Pieced together and packaged by his family, it features recordings made between 1991 and 2002, some of which have received posthumous Blockhead enhancement. Nevertheless, it's tempting to suggest that the only difference had Ian been around to oversee the project himself would be that Robbie Williams' recruitment to perform vocal duties on "You're The Why" would be rendered unnecessary.
"Ten More Turnips From The Tip" is, as ever, yer basic Dury/guitar/bass/keys/sax/percussion tumble. He rarely deviated from this template in a quarter of a century, and as a result the music here could snuggle up neatly into virtually any point on the Blockheads chronology. In fact just about the only thing that dates the album at all is the mobile phone reference during "Dance Little Rude Boy". Even Robbie Williams' presence fails to jar, possibly because, it seems to me, he has one of the least charismatic voices in popular music. (When a Robbie Williams song strikes up on our office jukebox I invariably have to ask somebody else what it is.) Consequently, he vanishes, chameleon-like, into the performance, where a more recognisable performer might have allowed the medium to distract from the message. "Ballad Of The Sulphate Strangler" is the real find here, a rollicking, chemically-assisted tribute to a late roadie that has all the probing, pungent attack of "New Boots And Panties!!". The la-la-laing chorus of "I Could Lie" points to exactly where 99% of all known Britpop bands trawled for inspiration, whilst the "Jeepers Creepers"-style palm court pub rock of "One Love" is olde-English charming.
This album beats and burns with warmth and compassion, just like its head honcho, and, as with every other Dury album, shows up exactly what we've lost.