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We have picked the brains of the fine and upstanding members of the dexys Intense Emotions Forum for their observations of dexys songs!

All in all(this one last wild waltz)

Gina writes:
Dislikes:  Nothing.  This song is a masterpiece.
Likes:  The violins.  The blending of Kevin's voice into the music.  The waltz tempo.  The whisper-to-a-thunderous crescendo of the vocals.  The passion.
Meaning:  Not generally the best at analySing the meaning of Dexys lyrics, but this seems to me to be about never being able to please an older male role model (his father, perhaps?), never being good enough no matter how much one tries, but despite all that, growing up and being able to accept oneself anyway. 

Angie writes:

Would agree with Gina's succinct assessment, although I have also wondered if it might be written about a teacher?

"Your experience will teach me no more lessons.
From lower down you just seemed so much better"

These words have resonated with me a number of times over the years in relation to my own life and certain people I have encountered! I love KR's more anecdotal-style writing, and this track falls into that category. It has quite a pure unselfconciousness about it.

Instrumentally, I love the swirling, whirling composition of the track and the way the waltz is counted out at the end. One of the few Dexys tracks I love more than my lesser-half does...


Soulrebel1(who he?) writes:

Taking the song as a whole, musically:

It's not my favourite dexys track, not by a long way, although it does remind me of long summer afternoons for some reason, Helen's playing on this, especially the solo, was fantastic, also the brass "stabs" during the "All in all things have turned out good" section, sound as strong as ever.

The meaning in my opinion:

It's like Kevin is describing his feelings of hero worship of a father figure or some sort of authority figure, from a young age until his age at the time of penning this song, and this worship had diminished as time went on, leaving him questioning the whole relationship.

So, "All in all", not my favourite, both musically or lyrically, but a "nice" album track.

dumbpatriot writes:

My strongest memory of it is buying my copy of TooRyeAye and putting it on the turntable as soon as I got home - and with the way the tracks ran in order, it was the first entirely 'new' song that we hadn't heard either on record or performed live before. I liked it at the time as it ran very much contrary to what was going on in music (and sadly I can't deny it - that was part of the appeal of Dexys to me!).

As time went by, it seemed more and more peripheral when set alongside what I would consider to be the more defining works.

Meaning? To be honest I couldn't put it better than you have in your previous post - or at least, that's the way I've always thought of it.

M912 writes:
Beautiful song and arrangement comes in perfectly just after Let's make this precious. I also enjoy listening to the live recording of this song on the Bridge DVD

Show Me

Soulrebel 1 writes:

One of my fave dexys songs, the brass is so strong on this, the tempo is relentless, the passion of Rowland is imense, it should have been a hit godammit!

My take on it:

It's looking back at being in a "gang" in a younger age, where the leaders would be looked upon as heros, then as you get older you realise they weren't heros as such, it was just companionship.

Jorrox writes:
I love Show Me, it's a very strong piece of music. A different type of talent could have placed a more 'trad soul' vocal over this track and created a song that would have had mass appeal. But then, that wouldn't be the band we love, would it?

dumbpatriot writes:

'Show Me' raises mixed feelings for me. It comes from smack in the middle of the greatest incarnation of Dexys. Preceded by 'Plan B' earlier in '81 - which was a real statement of intent that seemed so 'right' with the new line-up and image - the words to 'Show Me' felt to me like a move away from the more evangelical sort of approach that marked out Dexys from the crowd.

I know some non-fans criticised Kevin for always saying he was going to tell us something, or make something precious, or share with us what she was like, without ever telling us quite what it was, but his songs had a purity and purpose that it seems you either treasured (as I and I'm sure most on this forum do) or trashed, depending on your point of view. 'Show Me' on the other hand seemed very much rooted in the tangible world of everyday experience.

My take on the song is that it recounts the awe in which we hold the seemingly more glamorous and dangerous people when we are young, but with maturity we see through that - but perhaps not so completely that we don't still hold a smidgeon of envy of them somewhere in our minds.

Despite everything I've said, it was still head and shoulders above anything else around at the time and deserved greater success than it achieved.

Angie writes:

Lyrically I think 'Show Me' is quite clever, and I like the tangible imagery of it, which I think was a bit of a departure for Dexys. It has a simple honesty about it, and I think it does what it says on the tin... not a song which requires much lyrical analysis, and I imagine most people could relate to the content. I always really like the musical intro... classic Dexys.

Juxtaposed with 'I'll Show You', it always gave me a real 'beginning and end' kind of feeling. This feels kind of inarticulate, but hope you'll get what I mean.

Come on Eileen

Angie writes:
Okay - Come on Eileen. Remember so clearly the first time we head it, and Alan's apopleptic rant when someone described it as a 'football chant'! I adore this song on so many levels. I KNOW it has been adopted as a drunken wedding anthem by stomping uncles; I KNOW many DMR fans think it has had any meaning sucked out of it through being overplayed, but I think it encapsulates the greatest things about Dexys. I think it is joyful, exciting, moving ...just beautiful. I remember dancing to it so many times, including at our own wedding. I remember feeling too young and clever and unresigned to fate when I heard it. (Well, maybe up until a certain point in life...!) Hearing it live brought another dimension again. "I pledge tenderness". How I loved that part! I remember crying and being with Gina in chat hearing those opening notes just after the comeback was announced. The building melody, the passion in the words...I don't think there has ever been a song like it.
My own wonderful father sung Toora-Loora-loora to me, and I love it for that too.

Gina writes:

Come On Eileen...the song itself never did anything for me (I remember at the time thinking it was overplayed on the radio and so dismissed it); the video was another matter, though, and was my gateway into Dexys and, of course, later meeting all of you lovely people.  Of course, I still get excited if I hear it on the radio, but that's because it's DEXYS, not because it's COE.

Analyzing the song itself, best bits, worst, etc, will have to wait until I'm off work and can listen to it again and dissect it.  (Though must say I do prefer it with the violin intro than without.)

m912 writes:
Four weeks at number one down here back in the day. Every time I hear this on the radio now I turn it up loud. :-)

Soulrebel1 writes:

My least fave dexys song, not so much because of the song itself, which popularity wise is a stormer, but, just because I have never really liked it when I compare it to other dexys releases.

Musically there is nothing really wrong with it either, everything from the bass, drums, fiddles, brass stab, and banjo, all really good, but it just washes over me, the only version of the song I liked was the live versions in which it slowed down to an almost reggae beat with kev singing "Toora-loora-loora".

What's it about? Kev said it was a sex song, so i will take his word for it!

Jorrox writes:

I heard it in my local record shop the day it came out. It must be the only time I have ever predicted ´that is a number one´ and got it right. Remember, Dexys were at a low point (commercially) but this turned all tht around.

Simply - I love it. It still makes me smile.

The Occasional Flicker

Gina writes:

What did it mean to me?
This is one Dexys song I DIDN'T relate to; it's a very black-and-white, isolationistic song (is isolationistic a word?), very much "I am right and I refuse to consider any other points of view", I think.

What do I think it means? 
I *think* Kevin means it to convey his commitment to his own vision, not letting others sway him from his focus, despite the trouble and the pain he may encounter as a result.  "I was right the first time" may or may not be a reference to Dexys Mk I, but what do I know about that.

What stands out about this song?
The quiet intro contrasted with the opening lyrics grabs one's attention, I think, though I do enjoy the "I was right the first time" bit, followed by those horns; my favorite bit of the whole song, I think.

Angie writes:

I always struggled with some of the arrogance, and by the time DSMD came out, I felt the arrogance had been left behind. Apart that is, from this track. I lways thought that this song jarringly contrasted with songs like 'Listen to This', which demonstrated real glimpses of humility and maturity.

I can't clam to truly understand it, but there is a heavy overtone of self-righteousness about this track that leaves me quite cold. I do feel it is balanced out by the instrumentation, which at times is quite brilliant, particularly, as ever, the brass.But then, Dexys ALWAYS pulled it off with the music, didn't they? I also love the way ROwland uses his voice in this song, but like Gina, could live without all the being 'right the firt time,' somehow.

dumbpatriot writes:

I absolutely *love* this song. Probably, if I'm honest, for all the same reasons that give you reservations about it! I always relished it when Dexys songs made sort of mission statements with certainty and a dose of 'I don't care what you think, this is the truth'. Yes undeniably it's arrogant, and maybe my liking for it is rooted in an envy of Kevin having the courage and confidence to make those statements - if only I could have been like that. The fact that we now know Kevin was making those statements while possibly so insecure himself is an irony that's not lost on me, but that doesn't change my feelings about this song (and sorry Gina - I'll stop the self-analysis and get to the song!!).

The orchestration is great - simple, straightforward, but in common with much of DSMD it's a style that felt even more intimate than Dexys previous work. The vocal is prominent and that's what makes you appreciate all the more what is being said. Like Gina I think 'I was right the first time' refers to Dexys Mk I - before maybe Kevin listened to others (the devils talking?) a bit too much and ended up with the compromise that was the TooRyeAye era?

There's the cross-referencing to earlier Dexys work - 'the burning feeling I used to get' - and the theatrical, conversational style that was just part of what made Dexys so bloody unique.

And to round it all off - who else could ever make the lines 'Is it heartburn? No, it's not heartburn' completely credible within a song?

Soulrebel1 writes:

Well then, The Occasional flicker, what did it mean to me?

It was a familiar feeling you know, the same sort of feeling I got when eagily awaiting Too rye ay and hearing The celtic soul brothers(which I knew and had the single and then let's make this precious(which I didn't know but was genuinely overcome with excitement after hearing for the first time) that feeling of excitement was equal to hearing this song.

dexys, as their want, had been away for what seemed to me like an eternity, various rumours of the album had been in the music press for a while, the style of music, the look of the band, I remember rushing into HMV in Southampton and snapping up the cassette a few hours after it had been put on release, and after what seemed like the slowest bus ride home ever, rushed indoors, popped it into my old hi-fi system, and settled down to listen.

Then the song started, "yes! dexys are back again" I yelped to myself upon hearing the opening piano and guitar, it felt so what i needed to hear at the time, then typical Rowland belting out the lyrics, me reading the inlay card of the cassette, following the words as they were sung, the brass sounding so pure, the musicians so tight, this was no "written in a day" scenario, this was well thought out, planned, emotional stuff, I knew the album would be a success, maybe not commercially, but a success for Rowland and Patterson and Bevington and Adams and Edwards and everyone else involved.

It is a perfect choice of a song to start of this album, it is also a very good song in itself, Kevin was still "burning", but a more reflective burning was happening and this prooved the fire was not extinguished for Kevin and the band we loved and knew as dexys, so what there were session musicians involved in this, they all had the same vision, and you know what, I still think the burning still smoulders today.

Jorrox writes:

This is one of my least favourite Dexys tracks. For me it just doesn't cut it musically. I can't really explain it but there just isn't enough *music* in this song. It could have done with a decent melody for a start.

Also, listening to this track for the first time actually put me off DSMD for a long long time.

There you go then. Sorry, but it is not possible to like everything. I WILL go listen again with fresh ears though.

Liars A to E

Soulrebel1 writes:

Right, Liars A to E and what it means to me(I'm a poet)

I still remember the day when my brother Andy brought home the single, there had been nothing in the press about it's release, came as a bit of a shock that there were FIDDLES on a dexys song!! shock! horror! especially as I had been brought up with that "bold, brassy sound"!

It took a few plays to get used to it, dexys as a band changed after this song, it was the begining of the "Eileen effect", it marked the change of style, however that came about is "open to suggestions" of course, but on reflection, and hearing the numerous versions of it, as mentioned in the messages above, it is my second favourite version, just after the Richard Skinner sessions version.

My least favourite version of this song is the one featured on Too Rye Ay, I just don't like it's feel, very "bubblegum", plastic, no soul as such, The sisters of Scarlet(who individually are very acclaimed and fantastic vocalists) didn't bring out the best of this song.

So what did it mean to me?

I feel it brings a feeling of "If you wait long enough, good things will come", "The time and place and the mood is right and good ol' Kevin will be alright" in some ways is a premonition of what would indeed happen in the coming months and years for the band known as dexys and more importantly Kevin himself, but alas the premonition was only partly correct, although the band and it's music prospored, Kevin himself went on his downward journey. as we all know, but the premonition isn't over yet, and when we hear the new dexys album we can at last say that "good old Kevin will be alright".

Gina writes:

Right, have just heard the string-y version of the song (I had it already and didn't realiSe it; just found it.)  Interesting, to say the least, though must admit that I, too, prefer the brass.  (Do like the "now that I'm fit to show it" intro better, though.)

What it means to me, personally?  I think the only thing I got out of it was, "be an individual, don't be a follower"; indeed, perhaps that's shaped me and my life more than I realiSed it had, quien sabe?

What does the song itself mean?  I think it's a summary of the vulture sensationalist press, who are more interested in furthering their own agendas with regards to those they support and digging up dirt on those they don't, rather than in publishing what they are trying to say.  "Quick nip next door to the vendor of charisma", "here comes "His Soul", get your pen and notebooks ready"--jumping on the bandwagon to promote the flavoUr of the month.  "And good old Kevin will be all right"--"Take your best shot, you can't touch who I am inside."  (A show of false bravado, perhaps?)

dumbpatriot writes:

'Liars' means far more to me in the context of what feelings it generated for me at the time than it does as a song in it own right (hope that makes some sort of sense!).

Playing the single for the first time (the only way to hear it - no DJ was ever going to give it any airplay!) it sounded great to me - the opening group chant, then the heavy strings, and a virtually incomprehensible lyric - we were back to the inspiration of swimming against the tide again and it was probably Kevin's most extreme attempt to confound his audience, in my opinion even more so than Keep It Pt2. It felt exciting because it made me think - if this is the new Dexys, I want to hear more - where are they going to go next?

The timing of it was significant as well - I was eagerly awaiting the Old Vic show when it was released and this departure whetted my appetite all the more.

I actually prefer the 7" version and like Tim, my least favourite is the TRA version. To me on TRA it felt like a warmed-over filler track with all the lovely raw, rough edges of the single removed.

Meaning? God knows. I find it possibly the most impenetrable Dexys lyric. There's a couple of what seem fairly clear references ('here comes his soul, get your pen and notebooks ready' and even possibly 'nip next door to the vendor of charisma') but as for the rest, despite twenty-odd years of wrestling with it, I can't claim to be much the wiser about bad habits, ordering dresses, sleeping alone, smoking your own - or for that matter what there's no need to explain.

with thanks to all at the delphi Intense emotions forum