Dirk Wears White Sox

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Dirk Wears White Sox
DirkWearsWhiteSoxOriginalCover.gif
1995 recreation of original 1979 cover
Studio album by
Released30 November 1979 (1979-11-30)
Recorded24–29 August 1979
StudioSound Development Studios, London
GenrePost-punk
Length40:39
LabelDo It
ProducerAdam Ant
Adam and the Ants chronology
Dirk Wears White Sox
(1979)
Kings of the Wild Frontier
(1980)
Alternative cover
1983 US reissue cover
1983 US reissue cover

Dirk Wears White Sox is the debut studio album by English new wave band Adam and the Ants. It was released on 30 November 1979 by record label Do It. It was the first number one album on the UK Independent Albums Chart when the chart debuted in Record Week in 1980.[1]

Background[edit]

Dirk Wears White Sox was made with an early line-up of Adam and the Ants, which disbanded after the album was released. Guitarist Matthew Ashman and drummer David Barbarossa went on to form Bow Wow Wow with then-Ants bassist Leigh Gorman (who only played one gig with the Ants and was not involved in any studio recordings). Original bassist Andy Warren had departed shortly after recording the album to join former Ants guitarist Lester Square in The Monochrome Set. Many of the songs, notably "Cleopatra" and "Never Trust a Man (With Egg on his Face)", remained a part of Adam Ant's live repertoire throughout his career, both with the Ants and later as a solo artist.

The album title refers to classic British film icon Dirk Bogarde.[2]

Production[edit]

The album was recorded 12–24 August 1979 at Sound Development Studios, London and mixed 25–29 August.[3] All instrumentation and guide vocals were completed in the first three days. Of the fourteen tracks recorded, three - "Friends", "Kick" and "Physical" - did not proceed beyond this stage, although Physical was secretly released on the B-side of 2000 copies of the single "Zerox" in July 1980.[4] The remainder of the sessions were dedicated to recording finished lead and backing vocals by Ant for the eleven released tracks.

Five tracks from the album, "Day I Met God", "Cleopatra", "Catholic Day", "Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face)" and "Family of Noise" - plus all three rejected tracks - had previously been recorded in 1978 for the Ants' first label Decca Records - "Kick" at RAK Studios in Chalbert Street, London, produced by Snips, the other seven at Decca's own studio at Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, produced by Ant himself.[5] Prior to this, all songs on the released album except "Digital Tenderness", "Nine Plan Failed" and "Cleopatra" were recorded on 4-track by Ant at home in Notting Hill Gate 25–27 July 1978; "Cleopatra" and "Physical" had been similarly taped by Ant at home in Chelsea, 20 November 1977.[5]

Musical style[edit]

Ant biographer James Maw reports in his 1981 book The Official Adam Ant Story that Ant wished to make "a stylish album with all the qualities of soul and funk."[6] Ant confirmed in a 2014 interview for Classic Pop that the album was "me trying to make a Donna Summer record... I know it doesn't sound like that, but check out Dave (Barbe)'s drumming."[7]

Mojo's Danny Eccleston classifies Dirk Wears White Sox as a post-punk album.[8] Chris Woodstra of AllMusic described the album's style as a "sometimes-awkward fusion of punk, glam and minimalist post-punk with bizarre images and disturbing tales of alienation, sex and brutality."[9] Peter Parrish of Stylus Magazine wrote that "Dirk slips somewhere between The Banshee's [sic] Scream and Gang of Four's Entertainment; all stark, angular and brittle."[10]

Releases[edit]

Dirk Wears White Sox was released on 30 November 1979 by Do It Records.[11] The three out-takes were later released in 1982 as the 7 inch EP The B-Sides as well as a 12 inch EP The Antmusic EP also containing a remix of Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2).

The album was reissued in 1983, featuring a different album cover taken from a December 1979 video for the song "Zerox". "Catholic Day" and "Day I Met God" were dropped and Cartrouble pts 1 and 2 were replaced by "Cartrouble" in its single version and its B-side, a re-recording of "Kick!" which contained completely different lyrics from the rejected album version and featured Jon Moss on drums (who later went on to join Culture Club). This edition also adds two other songs from the same era not on the original LP: both sides of the "Zerox"/ "Whip in My Valise" single.

It was reissued again in 1995 by Sony, featuring the original black-and-white album art in somewhat cropped form and with the dropped songs reinstated as bonus tracks at the end. The lettering on the sleeve was recreated in the style of the original and does not feature the stroke through the letter O in the word "Sox"; it also substitutes a letter "Z" in place of the zig-zagged "S" in the word "Ants" (previously a common practice among unofficial merchandisers around the time of the album's original release). Later pressings of the 1995 edition substituted the Antmusic EP remix of Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2) in place of the Cartrouble A-side.

The album was remastered and reissued in 2004 with the original tracklisting restored and the singles/EP material included as bonus tracks.

A white vinyl edition was released by Ant's own label Blueblack Hussar Records in spring 2014. To tie in with this, on 19 April, Ant performed the full album at the Hammersmith Apollo with a band including former Ants David Barbarossa and Leigh Gorman, preceding this with several UK tour dates. A launch party gig for the white vinyl album was held at the 100 Club. Both London concerts were filmed and later released as the DVD album Dirk Live at the Apollo. Ant would subsequently perform the full album again with his regular band for four nights at the Islington Assembly Hall in November 2014 and a full UK tour in spring 2015.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[12]
Stylus MagazineB−[10]
Uncut5/5 stars[13]

In his retrospective review of the album for AllMusic, Chris Woodstra wrote that "while the somewhat pretentious, overly arty lyrics and inexperienced playing are a drawback, the album offers a fascinating look at the Ants' formative years, capturing a raw energy that would be sacrificed for more polish on subsequent releases."[9] Reviewing its 2004 reissue in Stylus Magazine, Peter Parrish called the album a "rather marvellous record of jagged jitters" and found that it "sounds a great deal more contemporary than later Ants material."[10] Uncut likewise opined that unlike the band's subsequent albums, Dirk Wears White Sox "sounds as though it was made last week".[13] Trouser Press was more critical, describing Ant's vocals as "dour" and "uncomfortable" and the band as sounding "dead" and "far too slow", though noting that the 1983 version is "far better" than the 1979 version.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Adam Ant.

Side A
No.TitleLength
1."Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2)" 
2."Digital Tenderness" 
3."Nine Plan Failed" 
4."Day I Met God" 
5."Tabletalk" 
Side B
No.TitleLength
1."Cleopatra" 
2."Catholic Day" 
3."Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face)" 
4."Animals and Men" 
5."Family of Noise" 
6."The Idea" 
1983 reissue
Side A
No.TitleLength
1."Cartrouble"3:23
2."Kick!"2:05
3."Digital Tenderness"3:03
4."Nine Plan Failed"3:10
5."Family of Noise"2:34
6."Tabletalk"5:33
Side B
No.TitleLength
1."Zerox"3:45
2."Cleopatra"3:15
3."Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face)"3:13
4."Animals and Men"3:16
5."The Idea"3:24
6."Whip in My Valise"3:58
1995 reissue
No.TitleLength
1."Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2)"6.51
2."Kick!"2:05
3."Digital Tenderness"3:03
4."Nine Plan Failed"3:10
5."Family of Noise"2:34
6."Tabletalk"5:33
7."Zerox"3:45
8."Cleopatra"3:15
9."Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face)"3:13
10."Animals and Men"3:16
11."The Idea"3:24
12."Whip in My Valise"3:58
13."Catholic Day"3.08
14."Day I Met God"2:58
2004 reissue
No.TitleLength
1."Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2)"6.51
2."Digital Tenderness"3.03
3."Nine Plan Failed"5.18
4."Day I Met God"2:58
5."Tabletalk"5.34
6."Cleopatra"3.15
7."Catholic Day"3.08
8."Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face)"3.13
9."Animals and Men"3.20
10."Family of Noise"2.36
11."The Idea"3.26
12."Zerøx"3.48
13."Whip in My Valise"4.00
14."Kick!"1.36
15."Physical"3.59
16."Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2)" (Hughes mix)6.36
17."Friends"2.40
18."Cartrouble" (single version)3.24
19."Kick!" (single version)2.06

Personnel[edit]

Adam and the Ants
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Chart (1980–81) Peak
position
UK Albums (OCC)[15] 16
UK Independent Albums (Record Business)[16] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Katagiri, Charlie. "Adam Ant". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Adam Ant: The King of Sexual Diversity". Ant Lib Ønline. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  3. ^ Antcatalogue (insert booklet with Kings of the Wild Frontier album, CBS Records 1980, p11
  4. ^ Adam and the Ants, Chris Welch, Star Books 1981
  5. ^ a b "Demos 1977-1979". Antmusic.simondaw.me.uk. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  6. ^ Maw, James (1981). The Official Adam Ant Story. Futura Publications. ISBN 0708821235.
  7. ^ "Adam Ant interview". Classic Pop. No. 9. February–March 2014.
  8. ^ Eccleston, Danny (24 March 2014). "The Strange Wonder Of Pre-Pop Adam Ant". Mojo. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Woodstra, Chris. "Dirk Wears White Sox – Adam and the Ants". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Parrish, Peter (28 July 2004). "Adam & the Ants – Dirk Wears White Sox – Review". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Dirk Wears White Sox". adam-ant.net. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  12. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Adam and the Ants". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ a b "Adam and the Ants: Dirk Wears White Sox". Uncut. No. 87. August 2004. p. 114.
  14. ^ Young, Jon; Lewis, Kate; Rompers, Terry. "Adam Ant". Trouser Press. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  16. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). "Adam & the Ants". Indie Hits 1980–1989: The Complete U.K. Independent Charts (Singles & Albums). Cherry Red Books. ISBN 978-0-9517206-9-1. Archived from the original on 25 February 2004. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  17. ^ "British album certifications – Adam Ant – Dirk Wears White Sox". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 6 November 2020. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Dirk Wears White Sox in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]