The Celtic Soul Brothers

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"The Celtic Soul Brothers"
Single by Dexys Midnight Runners
from the album Too-Rye-Ay
B-side "Love (Part 2)" (1982 release)
"Reminisce Part One" (1983 release)
Released March 1982
Recorded 1981-1982
Genre New wave, pop rock
Length 3:08
Label Mercury
Writer(s) Kevin Rowland, Jim "Big Jim" Paterson, Mickey Billingham
Producer(s) Clive Langer, Alan Winstanley
Dexys Midnight Runners singles chronology
"Liars A to E"
"The Celtic Soul Brothers"
"Come On Eileen"

"The Celtic Soul Brothers" is a song written by Mickey Billingham, Jimmy Paterson and Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners that was first released by the band in March 1982 as a single and was also the first song on the band's 1982 album Too-Rye-Ay.[1] It reached #45 in the UK on its initial release,[1][2] and #20 in the UK and #86 in the US when re-released in March 1983.[1][2][3] The song also reached #13 on the Irish charts.[4]

"The Celtic Soul Brothers" was the first song recorded and released by the revamped Dexys Midnight Runners' lineup, which added fiddle players Helen O'Hara, Steve Brennan and Roger MacDuff and bassist Giorgio Kilkenny.[1][3][5] Reflecting the revised lineup, the song's instruments feature mandolins and violins rather than the horn fanfares featured in the group's earlier work.[5] The song was inspired by 1960s soul music, and coauthor Billingham has stated that The Whispers' song "Needle in a Haystack" was a particular influence, accounting for "The Celtic Soul Brothers'" unusual melody.[3] Coauthor and Dexys Midnight Runners' lead singer Rowland has stated that the song was about him and Dexys' trombone player Paterson; Rowland being Irish and Paterson being Scottish.[3] Rowland also stated the song expresses his devotion to the band.[3] Author Richard White calls the song "a stand aside, effervescent statement."[3] Critic Ned Raggett of Allmusic referred to the song as a highlight of Too-Rye-Ay.[6] Ira Robbins of Trouser Press refers to the song as "jolly, rollicking jug band fare."[7] Author Simon Reynolds called the song "a manifesto of a single."[5] Julie Burchill of New Musical Express remarked that although the song is intended to sound ethnically Celtic, it sounds more like a "Redcoat romp."[8] Author Maury Dean claims that this song was an inspiration for Roddy Doyle's 1987 novel The Commitments, which was later made into a 1991 film by the same title.[9]

"The Celtic Soul Brothers" was included on the soundtrack of the 1983 movie Breathless starring Richard Gere.[10] It has also been included on a number of Dexys Midnight Runners' compilation albums, including The Very Best of Dexys Midnight Runners, Because of You, Let's Make This Precious: The Best of Dexy's Midnight Runners and 20th Century Masters: The Best of Dexy's Midnight Runners.[11][12][13][14] A live version of the song, recorded shortly after the single release, is included on BBC Radio One Live in Concert.[3][15]


  1. ^ a b c d Strong, M.C. (2006). The essential rock discography. Canongate. p. 302. ISBN 978-1-84195-860-6. 
  2. ^ a b "Dexys Midnight Runners singles". Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g White, R. (2006). Dexys Midnight Runners: Young Soul Rebels. Omnibus Press. pp. 117–120, 129, 132, 143. ISBN 978-1-84609-342-5. 
  4. ^ "The Irish Charts: Dexy's Midnight Runners". Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  5. ^ a b c Reynolds, S. (2006). Rip it up and start again: postpunk 1978-1984. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-303672-2. 
  6. ^ Raggett, N. "Too-Rye-Ay". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  7. ^ Robbins, I. (1987). The New Music Record Guide. Omnibus Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-7119-1115-4. 
  8. ^ Gimarc, G. (2005). Punk diary: the ultimate trainspotter's guide to underground rock, 1970-1982. Hal Leonard. p. 583. ISBN 978-0-87930-848-3. 
  9. ^ Dean, M. (2003). Rock 'n' roll: Gold rush : a singles un-encyclopedia. Algora Publishing. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-87586-207-1. 
  10. ^ Stone, D. "Breathless". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  11. ^ Woodstra, C. "The Very Best of Dexys Midnight Runners". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  12. ^ Schnee, S. "Because of You". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  13. ^ "The Best of Dexy's Midnight Runners". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  14. ^ "20th Century Masters: The Best of Dexy's Midnight Runners". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  15. ^ Badgley, A. "BBC Radio 1 in Concert". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 

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