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The Telegraph (UK)

Pop CD of the week

By Charles Shaar Murray

Ian Dury Mr Love Pants (Ronnie Harris)

NEVER one to fumble a good populist opportunity, Ian Dury announced his new album with a poster campaign trumpeting, "Mr Love Pants says Bring Back Gazza".

Fortunately this long-awaited return to the music-hall funk stylings of his late-Seventies masterpieces, New Boots and Panties and Do It Yourself, and their accompanying string of epic hit singles, reunites the surviving members of his original Blockheads band to rather greater purpose than that.

The oy-oy bravado has mellowed with the years, but Dury still comes on like a hyperliterate barrow-boy chronically addicted to lists and hilariously unlikely rhymes; here he celebrates New Age travellers and true love, lambasts the current state of education and, on Mash It Up Harry, chews up and spits out middle-class post-Hornby football fans.

Only Heavy Living (set, appropriately enough, to a juddering juxtaposition of heavy metal and free jazz) and The Passing Show provide any hint that this life-affirming awkward sod is currently fighting cancer.

May he validate the sleeve pronouncement that "the vest is yet to come".

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