Artist: Dexys Midnight Runners
Title: Too Rye Ay
Label: Mercury Records
Catalog# MERS 5
Too-Rye-Ay is the second album by Dexys Midnight Runners, released in July 1982. The album is best known for the hit single “Come On Eileen“, which included the lyrics “too-rye-ay” that inspired the album’s title.
Shortly before recording this album, Dexys’ bandleader Kevin Rowland had decided to add a violin section to the band’s existing horn section, which had contributed strings (viola and cello) to the band’s latest single, “Liars A to E”. However, after violinists Helen O’Hara and Steve Brennan joined the band, the three members of the horn section, including Dexys’ co-leader and album co-composer “Big” Jim Paterson, decided to leave Dexys and become an independent horn band (ultimately known as The TKO Horns). Rowland was able to convince them to stay with the band long enough to record the album and to do a kick-off concert debuting the album on BBC Radio One in June 1982.
All the songs on the album were rearranged to add strings, which caused Dexys to re-record the 1981 singles “Plan B”, “Liars A to E”, and “Soon”. During the rearrangement process, “Soon” was revised into the opening section of “Plan B”; since both songs were written by Rowland and Paterson, the merged songs are just credited on the album as “Plan B”.
For one brief moment, Dexy‘s exploded into America’s consciousness — and what a song to do it with! “Come on Eileen” combines ramalama rock & roll, soul delivery, and Celtic/country flavor into a perfect musical fusion and an irresistible U.K. and U.S. number one hit. The rest of the album is nearly as successful, with quite a few numbers that should have matched “Come on Eileen”‘s fame. Given that song’s obvious debt to Van Morrison‘s similar fusions, it’s no surprise that Dexy‘s tipped their hat with a great cover of Morrison‘s “Jackie Wilson Said,” another big British single. Throughout the album, Rowland‘s distinct, unique voice takes the fore, but the revamped Dexy‘s lineup proves it was the original version’s equal, if not better. Given that only trombonist Big Jimmy Patterson remained, and even then only for two tracks, recruiting a new band able to create the “Celtic soul” Rowland dreamed about turned out to be exactly the right move. Excellently produced by Rowland and the legendary Clive Langer/Alan Winstanley production team, Too-Rye-Ay sounds like an old soul revue recorded on-stage, no doubt an intentional goal. Other highlights include the opening jaunt “The Celtic Soul Brothers,” which just about says it all both in title and delivery; the slow swirl of “All in All,” and the vicious ballad “Liars A to E.”
1. The Celtic Soul Brothers (3:07)
2. Let’s Make This Precious (4:03)
3. All In All (This One Last Wild Waltz) (4:08)
4. Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) (3:06)
5. Old (5:00)
1. Plan B (5:04)
2. I’ll Show You (2:41)
3. Liars A To E (4:10)
4. Until I Believe In My Soul (7:00)
5. Come On Eileen (4:07)