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Lovelorn Troubadour

As he releases a new collaborative album and prepares to go back into the studio, Baxter Dur y tells Jonathan Wright about beat poetry, blagging and the sudden appearance of an Omen child…

There are musicians who arrive seemingly fully formed in the public consciousness. Others worry away at what they do, trying out approaches and guises that don’t quite work until, if they’re determined enough and lucky, something clicks into place. And then, in the case of late flowerer but long-time contender Baxter Dur y, they get called a “mockney-in-chief ” in an article for their London-inflected troubles.

“I was really happy about that,” says Dury, a hint of mischief in his voice. “I’m the only person that’s really happy about being called a mockney, because that’s what I am. I don’t find it a slant or anything negative. We’re all a kind of salad of different stuff, I am that thing. It was all a bit ‘Oi-oi! B oys’ Club’ at home, yet both my parents met at the Royal College, you know? It was all very artsy-fartsy, but it was all very geezer-geezery.”

He’s talking here about his upbringing as the son of Ian Dury, of which more later. But it’s a remark that also acts as a good starting point to describe the music that Dur y has lately been making. Last year’s Prince Of Tears, his fifth album, was straight out of leftfield in terms of the textures of the songs, yet – in contrast to earlier records, where he sometimes gave the impression of hiding in plain sight – the latter-day Baxter Dury swaggers, speak-singing tall tales of monstrous masculinity, impossible situations and, in songs that deal with the aftermath of his break-up from girlfriend Margaux Ract, broken-hearted regrets.

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