When Dexy's Midnight Runners was at their peak in the early '80s, U.K. critics hailed their lead singer/songwriter Kevin Rowland as a genius, capable of fusing soul, pop, Irish folk, new wave, and rock into one seamless, unique mix. On their first album, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, the group featured scores of horns along with accomplished songwriting from Rowland. After the album's release, most of the band left, leaving Rowland to refashion Dexy's Midnight Runners. What he came up with was a departure from the debut, although they shared the same spirit. Instead of soul, the band was rooted in folk and Celtic music on their second album, Too-Rye-Ay, which produced the enormous international hit, "Come on Eileen." Rowland took Dexys to New York to work on the follow-up, Don't Stand Me Down, an iconolastic modern pop record that confounded crtics and fans at the time, though it gained much acclaim when it was reissued years late. The group disbanded after its release and Rowland mounted a checkered solo career, while also dealing with depression, bankruptcy and cocaine addiction. After getting his life back on track, Rowland returned with a new edition of Dexys Midnight Runners, sporting the stripped down name Dexys, in 2003. The new line-up began playing live shows and contributed two new songs ("Manhood" and "My Life in England") to the greatest-hits collection Let's Make This Precious. The group, which included former Runners Mick Talbot and Pete Williams along with viola player Lucy Morgan, began recording in earnest in 2005 but the painstaking processes didn't yield results until the release of One Day I'm Going to Soar in 2012. Along the way, another former member, "Big" Jim Paterson, joined back up, and Rowland added new vocalist Madeleine Hyland, as well. The album was met with a positive response from critics and signaled a triumphant comeback for the band. After a full slate of concerts over the next few years and the usual chanes in personel ( subtract Talbot, Paterson, Hyland and Williams, add co-singer Sean Read) the group's next move was to record Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul. Released by Rhino in June 2016, the record features their unique versions of classic Irish songs (like "Women of Ireland" and "Carrickfergus") and a wide range of others (like Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now"), all given that Dexy's spin. ~ Steve Huey
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