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Kevin Rowland's 1999 album 'My Beauty' demonstrated his gift for re-interpreting other people's songs and making them his own. Cover versions had always been a big part of the Dexys repertoire also - from Northern Soul classics to songs by Slade and Status Quo...

 
  • Big Time Operator (Colton/Smith) Zoot Money & The Big Roll Band * (1966); Tommy James & The Shondells (1967) (Performed live by Dexys, 1979/80)
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  • Breakin' Down The Walls of Heartache (Linzer/Randell) Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon * (1968) (B-Side of "Geno", 1980, also featured on "V.B.O. Dexys")
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: Although song-writers, Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell were at the height of their success during the Sixties, May 1980 saw three of their compositions in the UK charts courtesy of cover versions! While "Breakin' Down The Walls Of Heartache" provided the B-side of Number One single "Geno", The Detroit Spinners' version of "Working My Way Back To You" and Darts' cover of "Let's Hang On" also occupied positions in the Top 40.

     
  • Can't Help Falling In Love (Peretti/Creatore/Weiss) Elvis Presley * (1961) (Performed live by Dexys in 1985)
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  • Concrete And Clay (Parker/Moeller) Unit Four Plus Two * (1965) (Kevin Rowland single and "My Beauty" Track, 1999)
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: Prior to providing his come-back single in 1999, "Concrete and Clay" had already proved to be a source of creative inspiration for Kevin Rowland. The song's distinctive "bom-ba-bom" rhythm has also been credited with inspiring the bass intro to Dexys Midnight Runners' most famous recording, "Come On Eileen". Even earlier than that, Rowland had experimented with the same rhythm on the unreleased Killjoys' demo, "Is That What She Said" in 1978.

     
  • Daydream Believer (Stewart) The Monkees * (1967) ("My Beauty" track, 1999)


  •  Everything I Own (Gates) Bread * (1972); Ken Boothe (1974); Boy George (1987) (Performed live by Kevin Rowland in 2006 at Stockholm's Debaser club, backed by Club Killers and dedicated to the memory of his late brother, Pete Rowland.) 
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  • The Greatest Love Of All (Masser/Creed) George Benson * (1977); Whitney Houston (1986) ("My Beauty" track, 1999)
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: Considered by many at the time to be a rather unlikely choice of material for Kevin Rowland to cover on his album, "My Beauty", the lyrics took on a new level of meaning when sung from the perspective of a former drug addict attempting to find the path to recovery and redemption. Rowland's version of the song went down in musical folk-lore when it was interrupted by a rowdy crowd of bottle-hurling revellers at 1999's Reading Festival. Breaking from the song to address the audience directly: "Some people here clearly don't love themselves very much", Rowland then launched into an impassioned rendition of the final chorus before leaving the stage to loud applause.   

     
  • Heartaches By The Number (Howard) Ray Price * (1959); Guy Mitchell (1959) ("The Wanderer" track, 1988)
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  • Hold On, I'm Coming (Porter/Hayes) Sam & Dave * (1966); Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers (1966) (Performed live by Dexys, 1979/80, also featured on 30th Anniversary Edition of "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels")

  • The Horse (James) Cliff Nobles & Co. * (1968); Booker T & The MGs (1969) (B-Side of "There There My Dear", 1980, also featured on "It Was Like This")
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: Although credited to "Cliff Nobles & Co.", vocalist Cliff Nobles, did not feature on this recording which was, in reality, the instrumental track from his 'Philly Soul' single "Love Is Alright". The backing band which performed on this record represented some of Philadelphia's finest session musicians who later performed as M.F.S.B., recording the track. "T.S.O.P" which Dexys covered in 1982 (see below). "Love Is Alright" was originally recorded by the song's composer, Jesse James and was also covered by British Soul outfit, The Foundations.

     
  • I Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top (Fletcher/Flett) The Hollies * 1969 ("My Beauty" track, 1999, also featured as an instrumental version on the "Concrete And Clay" CD single)

  • I Gotta Hold On To My Love (Washington/Gage) Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band * (1967) (Incorporated into live performances of "Geno" as an instrumental introduction, 1979-83, also featured on Radio One Session version of "Geno" on 30th Anniversary Edition of "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels")
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note:  The influence which British-based American soul singer Geno Washington had on Dexys Midnight Runners was widely-publicised at the time, as was the fact that Dexys sax-man, Geoff Blythe had previously performed with Geno's legendary 'Ram Jam Band'. It is therefore no surprise that one of Washington's recordings made its way into Dexys' live shows, albeit as a section of their own tribute to the Sixties soul singer. While the funky bass guitar intro which featured on live - and Radio Session - versions of the song didn't make it onto the single recording of "Geno" the stocatto horn riff which accompanies the cries of "Geno, Geno" was clearly inspired by this track.

     
  •  I'll Say Forever My Love (Dean/Weatherspoon/Bowden) Jimmy Ruffin * (1968) (Incorporated into "Reminisce Part Two" on "Don't Stand Me Down", 1985)

     


  •  It's Been Hurting All The Way With You, Joanna (Moneybrother) Moneybrother (2003) (Performed live by Kevin Rowland in 2006 at Stockholm's Debaser club, backed by Club Killers)
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  • It's Getting Better (Mann/Weil) Mama Cass * (1969) ("My Beauty" track, 1999)
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  • Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile) (Morrison) Van Morrison * (1972) ("Too-Rye-Ay" track, single,1982) 
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note:  When Dexys Midnight Runners emerged with their own "Celtic Soul" sound in 1982, Van Morrison was inevitably cited as a major influence, emphasised by Kevin Rowland's decision to cover this classic. Van was even invited to perform on the cover version of his own song but did not end up contributing to the released recording. When asked in interviews what Van Morrison thought of  Dexys' version of "Jackie Wilson Said", Rowland stated that he "quite rightly" thought it was better than his own version!
     

     

  • Kathleen Mavourneen (Traditional) John McCormack (1927) (Performed live by Dexys,1985, studio version featured as B-Side of "Because of You", 1986)

  • Labelled With Love (Difford/Tilbrook) Squeeze * (1981) ("My Beauty" track, 1999, subtitled "I'll Stay With My Dreams")

  • The Long And Winding Road (Lennon/McCartney) The Beatles * (1970); Diana Ross (1970) ("My Beauty" track, 1999)
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  • Marguerita Time (Rossi/Frost) Status Quo * (1983) (B-side of "This Is What She's Like", 1985, also featured on 1996 re-issue of "Too-Rye-Ay
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: The decision of former "Young Soul Rebels" Dexys Midnight Runners to cover a song by Status Quo raised a few eye-brows in 1985 but Kevin Rowland was quick to confirm that he had been a long-time admirer of Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi's rock outfit. Regularly performed as an encore on Dexys' "Coming To Town" tour, the song was often introduced by Rowland with the comment "Here's one of your old favourites, I'm sure". Ironically, this song was recorded by Dexys shortly after the departure of bass player Johnny "Rhino" Edwards who went on to enjoy a long and successful career with Status Quo!

     
  • Merry Christmas, Everybody (Lea, Holder) Slade * (1973) (Performed by Dexys on ITV Christmas special, "Pop Goes Christmas",1982)
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  • The More I See You (Hatch) Chris Montez * (1966) (Perfomed live by Kevin Rowland on Jonathan Ross TV show, "The Last Resort" 1988)

  • Nightshift (Golde/Orange/Lambert) The Commodores * (1985) (Performed live by Dexys, 2003)

  • One Way Love (Russell/Meade) The Drifters * (1964); Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers (1964) (B-Side of "Keep It Part Two", 1980, also featured on "V.B.O. Dexys" and "It Was Like This")
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    OF PREVIOUS VERSION:

    Historical Note: Although the original version of this song was recorded by The Drifters, featuring the kind of Latin American arrangements which typified many of their Sixties recordings, it is fairly obvious that Dexys Midnight Runners' version of "One Way Love" was inspired by this Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers recording which had been a U.K. Top-Ten hit in 1964. The British Soul singer was name-checked in the liner notes to "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels" and this would appear to be the band's tribute to the influence his music had on their own horn-heavy sound.

     
  • Rag Doll (Crewe/Gaudio) The Four Seasons * (1964) ("My Beauty" track, 1999)
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  • Reflections Of My Life (Campbell) Marmalade * (1969) ("My Beauty" track, 1999)
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: This emotionally-charged ballad, originally recorded by Scottish band Marmalade, was one of five selections covered on Kevin Rowland's solo album "My Beauty" which stemmed from the years 1966-70. Given that no less than fifteen of the songs featured on this page originated during the same five-year period, it is clear that this era was pivotal in establishing the musical tastes of the teenage Kevin Rowland. It's worth noting that Rowland's experiences of seeing Geno Washington for the first time "back in '68 in a sweaty club" - and the events recalled in "Reminisce Part Two" - also date from this period.

     
  • Respect (Redding) Otis Redding * (1965); Aretha Franklin (1967) (Performed live by Dexys, 1979-85. Live version released as B-Side of "Let's Get This Straight" - 12" version, 1982, later featured on the 1996 re-issue of "Too-Rye-Ay" . Also recorded for a radio session, featured on "It Was Like This")
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  • Seven Days Too Long (Harrell/Bailey) Chuck Wood * (1966) ("Searching For The Young Soul Rebels" track, 1980, also released as a single in Canada)
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: Kevin Rowland explained in the liner notes to "It Was Like This": "I was introduced to the original Chuck Wood version of this song in 1968 by a kid named Robinson who I often travelled to school with in Harrow. Sometimes, instead of going to school, Robinson, my good self and one or two other scholars would instead repair to London's West End for the day. Once there, most of us would be content with the delights of Soho, except Robinson who insisted we went into every record shop we passed and pester the staff into playing "Seven Days Too Long". 

     
  • Something Old, Something New (Cook/Greenaway/Macaulay) The Fantastics * (1971) (Performed live by Dexys, 1985)
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  • Soul Finger (King/Jones/Alexander/Caldwell/Cunningham/Cauley) The Bar-Kays * (1967) (B-Side of "Plan B", 1981, also featured on "V.B.O. Dexys" and "It Was Like This")
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: The influence of the Memphis soul label, 'Stax' on the early Dexys sound has been well-documented and was even mentioned in the liner notes to "Searching For The Young Soul Rebels": "...Soon after a young bass driver by the name of Pete Williams walked into the hide-out with his tool under one arm and the complete Stax collection under the other. Disillusioned with new musak, he put his soul records on the table and shouted "I want to do something as good as these only better." The classic Stax instrumental "Soul Finger" was originally performed by The Bar-Kays, most of whom perished in the same plane crash which took the life of label-mate, Otis Redding.

     

  • The Sound Of Silence (Simon) Simon & Garfunkel (1964) (Performed live by Kevin Rowland in 2006 at Stockholm's Debaser club, backed by Club Killers)

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  • This Guy's In Love With You (Bacharach/David) Herb Alpert * (1968); Booker T & The MGs (1969) ("My Beauty" track, 1999)
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  • Thunder Road (Springsteen) Bruce Springsteen * (1975) ("My Beauty" out-take, 1999, featured on promo copies of the album)
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  • T.S.O.P. (Gamble/Huff) M.F.S.B. featuring The Tree Degrees * (1974) (B-side of "Jackie Wilson Said" 12", 1982, also featured on the 1996 re-issue of "Too-Rye-Ay")
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    OF ORIGINAL VERSION:

    Historical Note: "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)" - initially recorded by 'Philly Soul' group M.F.S.B. - was listed in 1981's "Projected Passion Revue" tour guide as one of the songs which had helped inspire Dexys while putting together their live shows and was covered the following year utilising the strings of The Emerald Express. The continuing influence on Dexys of  the Philadelphia sound can clearly be heard in the 2012 recording "I'm Always Going To Love You", featured on the album "One Day I'm Going To Soar".

     
  • The Way You Look Tonight (Kern) "Swing Time" * (1927) ("Don't Stand Me Down" out-take, 1984, released as B-Side of "Walk Away", 1988. Also featured on Creation re-issue of "Don't Stand Me Down")
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  • You'll Never Walk Alone (Rodgers/Hammerstein) "Carousel" * (1945); Gerry & The Pacemakers (1963) ("My Beauty" track, 1999)


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    * denotes original version

     

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