Picture the scene: the twentieth century is in its death throes. Britpop is over. Most of the Seattle bands have stopped being headline news. Nu-metal is a thing. Eminem has proven that Beastie Boys don’t have the monopoly on saleable white rap. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have parted company with Dave Navarro, welcomed back John Frusciante and begun a slow journey into mediocrity. For the first time in a few years, the musical landscape doesn’t seem to have a dominant force.
At the end of the 1970s, as punk faded, there were various British bands keen to pay tribute to a musical past. Each paying tribute to the 1960s in their own way, the 2-Tone label gave birth to a second wave of ska music, while The Jam, Dr Feelgood and various other bands paid homage to rhythm & blues and mod scenes. Often gaining fewer accolades by comparison, Birmingham’s Dexys Midnight Runners were heavily influenced by soul – particularly of the horn-based variety, as championed by the legendary Stax label. Their first album ‘Searching for the Young Soul Rebels’ captures the original line-up of the band in fabulous form; with plenty of ego and so much to prove.