Q (p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[The songs] were hallmarked by Rowland's passionate wail and his intense lyrical vision."
Q (11/00, p.130) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...An inspired set of blue-eyed soul celebrationals, topped by Rowland's yodelling, hyper-passionate vocals. Fabulous stuff..."
Uncut (p.110) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "This might convince you Dexys were at their best when they were at their most impure -- at their most insecure, lustful, ambitious....A pop triumph..."
Melody Maker (4/6/96, p.38) - Bloody Essential - "...That a man so brave should have channelled such raw humanity into [one of] the greatest soul albums ever made is something for which we should all feel privileged....the kind of band that could sigificantly change your life..."
NME (Magazine) (12/30/00, p.79) - Ranked #4 in NME's "Top 5 Reissues Of The Year".
NME (Magazine) (9/16/00, p.36) - 7 out of 10 - "...An attractive raggle-taggle, dungareed take on urban soul..."
Dexy's Midnight Runners include: Kevin Rowland (vocals); Billy Adams (guitar, banjo); Paul Speare (flute, whistle, saxophone); Micky Billingham (accordion, piano, organ); Brian Maurice (saxophone); Big Jim Patterson (trombone); Giorgio Kilkenny (bass); Seb Shelton (drums).
Additional personnel includes: Helen O'Hara, Steve Brennan (fiddle); The Sisters Of Scarlett (background vocals).
Producers: Clive Langer, Alan Winstanley, Kevin Rowland.
Reissue producers: Tim Chacksfield, Bill Levenson.
Includes liner notes by Ted Kessler.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Thought of as one-hit wonders in the US for "Come on Eileen," Dexy's Midnight Runners were already stars in Europe (especially their homeland, Britain) before that 1982 single topped charts worldwide. Their influential 1980 debut, SEARCHING FOR THE YOUNG SOUL REBELS, was an uncommonly heartfelt blend of punk and soul sensibilities. However, disagreement over musical direction led to the departure of much of the band, leaving only vocalist Kevin Rowland and trombonist Big Jim Paterson. The duo carried on with new recruits, and the result was TOO-RYE-AY, an album that infuses the group's prior sound with Celtic elements, creating a working-class vibe made explicit by the ensemble's Depression-era street-urchin clothes.
Musically, the record shows an obvious maturation, with songs that demonstrate less concern with urgency and anger than romance and nostalgia. "Come on Eileen," a joyous evocation of adolescent lust, became the band's signature song, but the other riches here are plentiful. The rollicking opener, "The Celtic Soul Brothers," is essentially an explanation of their new image, while "Let's Make This Precious" could be seen as a statement of purpose. They even pump considerable fire into Van Morrison's ebullient "Jackie Wilson Said." This strong, career-defining album would remain one of the key statements in 1980s pop music.