31 May 2011

"You've been saying you're a fisherman since you were seventeen..."

Stan Deely, once a dental technician from Devon Park, managed to become a highly respected artist in the 1970s, releasing 7 acclaimed hit albums and working with some of the industry's finest session musicians. Rolling Stone called his body of work "awesome in its conceptual longitude" and Down Beat even pointed out clear similarities in Deely's ouevre to similar groundbreaking work by many giants of the jass music scene such as Mavis Diles, Thunk Melonius and of course Marley Chingus.

Wherever you were in 1972, anywhere on the globe, it was hard to go through a typical day without hearing Stan Deely's first hit, You'll Do It Again Till You Get It Right, Like blasting out of some transistor or other. Carried along on an irresistable chorus and bolstered by Zedrik Turntable's electric bouzouki solo, it sent a generation out to the shopping malls in search of comfortable footwear. The ensuing album, Ain't Got A Clue (its very title a nod to Harence 'Frogman' Clenry) made real inroads on the international music scene, though prudish elements objected to its lurid cover which featured a line of girl scouts waiting in the street for the local confectionery to open.

Its 1973 follow-up, Countdown To Mitsubishi, consolidated Deely's reputation as a world-beating songwriter and prog-jazz composer, containing as it did such highly distinctive tracks as Bobby Shafto and the lightning-fingered guitar stylings of such session luminaries as Judge "Coon" Wapner and Denzel DiAdipose. Despite a warm critical reception it failed to yield any major hits, as uncannily predicted in the album track Any Major Hits (Elude You).

All was not lost for Stan, though, as tracks like Your False Teeth and Midnite Boozer garnered respect in the industry, and Reelin' In The Trout became a sleeper hit.

Stan Deely's next offering, Tayto Logic from 1974, spawned the international hit Hang On To That Number Rikki, If Ya Know What's Good For Ya Like and featured the percussive prestidigitation of session drum virtuoso Barry Towne. The following year, Stan Deely further confounded expectations with his next album, R. D. Laing, named in tribute to the British "anti-psychiatrist". Critics and fans alike were divided on this album, mostly over apparent drug references in the track Doctor Who, which dealt with the thorny topic of getting wasted and watching cult sci-fi programs.

Deely's reputation was further solidified, though, in 1976 with his fifth album, The Royal Shimozzle, which featured the international hit Tijuana Wedding as well as the FM favourite The Caves of Ailwee. For many though, Stan Deely's magnum opus came with the next album, an ode to the mysteries of the Orient entitled Chinese Takeway. Burnt out and disillusioned with the music industry, though, Deely called it a day after 1980's classic Groucho album, which featured such hits as Ballina Cisterns as well as the playing of highly respected Brit guitarist, Marc Dumbkopf (best know for his work with 'Dire and Straight').

Nearly two dissolute decades later, Stan Deely re-emerged with a searing indictment of what he felt to be the evils inflicted upon music by a certain four-piece Dublin band, his acclaimed (by everyone except Bono) comeback album U2: Against Nature and its follow-up, Everyone Must Blow.

(Thanks to Stan Deely aficionado and sometime session sideman Domhnall Óg McFagen for some illuminating insights that greatly aided the compilation of this retrospective - not bad at 40 a quarter.)

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