Lord Upminster

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Lord Upminster
Studio album by Ian Dury
Released September 1981
Recorded April - May 1981, Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
Genre Rock
Length 36:04
Language English
Label Polydor
Producer Chas Jankel, Steven Stanley, Ian Dury
Ian Dury chronology
Lord Upminster
4,000 Weeks' Holiday
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars [1]

Lord Upminster is a 1981 solo album by Ian Dury. It was his first record for Polydor Records and was recorded in the Bahamas with his old writing partner Chas Jankel and the reggae duo Sly and Robbie.

Lord Upminster (Dury had been brought up in Upminster, Essex) was re-issued on CD in the UK, but it is currently out of print and arguably harder to find than the original vinyl LP itself. A recent CD re-issue was released in Japan.

CD has recently rereleased on SALVO-records.


Island Records' 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 8 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.

One of the songs, "Spasticus (Autisticus)", proved to be controversial. 1981 was the official "International Year of Disabled Persons", a notion Dury thought was ludicrous and patronising (he was disabled himself by Poliomyelitis he caught at Southend-on-Sea as a child). On his BBC Documentary On My Life Dury mentioned plans to tour the country with a band named 'Spastic & The Autistics' until a friend (Ed Spieght, who had played on Dury's seminal New Boots and Panties!! LP) suggested the name 'Spasticus' bastardising the name of the freed slave Spartacus. Despite accusations of courting controversy, "Spasticus (Austisticus)" was released as a single (August 1981) and was banned with an odd ban that only covered the period before 6pm. The single's chart success was nil but "Spasticus" was to remain in Ian Dury's set until his death, even after other raucous songs like "Plaistow Patricia" and "Blockheads" were dropped.

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.

Lord Upminster was a commercial failure and received lacklustre reviews from critics and Dury himself later admitted that the only track he would listen 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").

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are by Ian Dury and Chas Jankel unless otherwise stated.

CD remaster bonus tracks[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Additional Artist Length
9. "Spasticus (Autisticus)" (Version)   The Seven Seas Players 7:01
10. "Johnny Funk" (Master Mix)     3:45
11. "Johnny Funk" (New Lead Vox)     5:54
12. "Rock N Roll Shoes" (Mix 4) Chuck Willis   2:22
13. "Polydor Conference 1981 Interview"   N/A   20:37

Some compilations mistakenly do not put parts of the song titles 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.


Release history[edit]

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
Great Expectations PIPCD 005 UK CD December 1989
Universal UICY-93269 JP CD 25 July 2007
Salvo SALVOCD056 UK CD 3 June 2013


  • Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll: The Life Of Ian Dury by Richard Balls, first published 2000, Omnibus Press
  • Ian Dury & The Blockheads: Song By Song by Jim Drury, first published 2003, Sanctuary Publishing.
  • On My Life BBC2 Documentary first broadcast 25 September 1999


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Lord Upminster at AllMusic