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Lord Upminster is the second solo studio album by the English rock and roll singer-songwriter Ian Dury.

Lord Upminster
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1981
RecordedApril - May 1981
StudioCompass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
GenreNew wave, funk[1]
LabelPolydor, PGP-RTB
Ian Dury chronology
Lord Upminster
4,000 Weeks' Holiday

It was released by Polydor Records and PGP-RTB in September 1981. It was recorded over a period of one month at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas with his old writing partner Chas Jankel and the reggae duo Sly and Robbie. It is also the first Dury album distributed by Polydor. It was his first solo album in four years, since New Boots and Panties!! (1977). Alike the aforementioned album, this album covers a diverse range of musical styles reflecting Dury's influences and background in pub rock, taking in funk, disco, British music hall and early rock and roll, courtesy of Dury's musical hero Gene Vincent.

But unlike New Boots... the album was received negatively by the majority of music critics, while other reviewers noted good points to the album. It was a commercial disappointment failing to make the Top 40, and the album's only single, "Spasticus Autisticus", failed to chart.


Composition and recordingEdit


Island Records' founder Chris Blackwell suggested that Dury and Chas Jankel (who had returned from America and temporarily buried the hatchet with Dury) fly to Nassau and record with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, the duo who were renowned as both reggae musicians and producers, and were also on Island Records.

However, Dury and Jankel were greatly unprepared and without enough material for a new album, so they wrote much of the album either on the plane or at their destination. The final album was eight tracks long, and both of them were ultimately disappointed with it.

While recording the album Dury and Jankel were mobbed by Jamaican band Smokey, who mistook a line from his hit "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3" to be about them. The reference to "sing-alonga Smokey" was actually about Smokey Robinson. Dury politely agreed to listen to their new album while his co-writer sneaked away.

Beside Spasticus, another noteworthy track appears on the album; "Girls (Watching)" is the only officially released cover version Ian Dury recorded; it was written by Sly Dunbar. However, MP3s of Dury, performing The Stranglers single "Peaches" and "Bear Cage" live, along with Hazel O'Connor and members of The Stranglers can be found on some download services. As well as being found on two Stranglers live albums And Then There was Three and The Stranglers and Friends – Live in Concert both CDs are of the same gig, when Hugh Cornwell was in prison, various artists including Dury took turns to sing.

Dury himself later admitted that the only track he would have listened to again was "Spasticus". Chas Jankel was a little kinder and continues to praise "Lonely (Town)" as an underrated gem on the album. "The (Body Song)" and "Funky Disco (Pops)" are the tracks most currently selected for greatest hits compilations (along with "Spasticus").

Release historyEdit

Label Cat. No. Format Date
Polydor 2383 617/POLD 5042 EU Vinyl, Cassette September 1981
Polydor PD-1-6337/2383 617 US Vinyl, Cassette November 1981
PGP RTB 2220946 SFRY Vinyl, Cassette 1982
Great Expectations PIPCD 005 UK CD December 1989
Universal UICY-93269 JP CD 25 July 2007
Salvo SALVOCD056 UK CD 3 June 2013

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [1]
Robert ChristgauB-[2]
Daily Express     [3]

Lord Upminster received negative reviews from contemporary music critics.

In a contemporary review music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a "B-" and panned that "Spasticus Autisticus is every bit as startling as Dury must have hoped after Laughter got lost in the hustle" but added that "I suppose the idea is to let the riddims of Steve Stanley, Chaz Jankel, and Sly & Robbie turn jingles into rallying cries"[2]

Retrospective reviewsEdit

In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic gave the album two and a half out of five stars and wrote that "Lord Upminster turned out to be a set of uninspired funk that lacks the joyful energy of his three previous records."[1] And Emma Greatrex of the Daily Express gave the album two stars writing that the album was "largely overlooked", but also noted that "many of the songs are repetitive and indistinguishable from each other".[3]

Track listingEdit

All songs written and composed by Ian Dury and Chas Jankel, except where noted.

Additional tracks
  • Some compilations mistakenly do not use parts of the song titles that are in brackets (especially "Spasticus"), it is a 'theme' of the titles on the album and all of them do have words in brackets as shown above.


  • Produced by Chas Jankel, Ian Dury and Steven Stanley
  • Recorded by Steven Stanley, and Harold Dorsett
  • Mixed by Steven Stanley
  • Assistant Mixing by Harold Dorsett
  • Paul Kaye - cover photography


Peak positionsEdit