Is York fated never to play host to Kevin Rowland’s Dexys after motorbike accident rules out Too-Rye-Ay show at Barbican?

What could have been: The Dexys photo-shoot to promote the now-cancelled tour

TOO-Rye-Ailing, alas. Dexys’ autumn tour is off, scuppering their first ever York gig on September 30, after frontman Kevin Rowland was involved in a motorbike accident.

Rowland, who will turn 69 on August 17, was expected to have healed by then but the recovery has taken longer than expected.

York Barbican’s official statement reads: “It is with huge regret that Dexys have had to cancel their 2022 UK tour and the show on 30 September 2022 will no longer be taking place. All ticket holders will receive a refund; please contact your point of purchase if you have any questions.”

A statement from Dexys went further. “As many people familiar with Dexys will understand, a lot of work and detail was planned for these shows. Unfortunately, Kevin is recovering from a motorbike accident and some health issues that will take some time to recover from.

“We had tried to keep the tour on track, but now it is clear that that there won’t be sufficient time to do the work needed to deliver the show as we had envisaged. Dexys feel awful about cancelling and are immensely sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

Reorganising the Too-Rye-Aye As It Should Have Sounded Tour has been ruled out. “We did consider postponing the tour until next year, but we already have plans for 2023, and we promise that when we next tour, and, it won’t be long, we will do plenty of material from ‘Too Rye Ay, As It Should Have Sounded’,” said Dexys.

Last September, Dexys, now shorn of the Midnight Runners appendage, announced they would be reworking their 1982 album, Too-Rye-Ay, for a 40th anniversary release and accompanying tour.

The artwork as it Could have been, when first announced last September

At that time, it was billed as the Too-Rye-Ay, As It Could Have Sounded Tour, featuring what would have been the veteran Birmingham band’s first ever York appearance, unless you know otherwise. Subsequently, ‘Could’ became ‘Should’ on the tour and album title alike.

Released in July 1982, Too-Rye-Ay was the one with strings, brass and dungarees attached that reached number two, Dexys’ highest ever album chart position, buoyed by the top-spot success of ubiquitous wedding-party staple Come On Eileen.

The Van Morrison cover, Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile), went top five too and Let’s Get This Straight (From The Start) peaked at number 17, but the notoriously perfectionist, restless Rowland said last September: “For many years, I’ve struggled with Too-Rye-Ay.

“I was never happy with many of the mixes on the record. Tracks like ‘Eileen’ and one or two others were really good, but with most others, while I felt the performances were really good, that didn’t come over properly in the mixes.”

The strongly devoted, long hooked on such exquisite highs as The Celtic Soul Brothers, Let’s Make This Precious, All In All (This One Last Wild Waltz), Old and Until I Believe In My Soul, may raise an eyebrow at Rowland’s assertion, but nevertheless he said: “I even felt fraudulent promoting the album, because I knew it didn’t sound as good as it should have.

“And of course, the irony was, it was by far our most successful Dexys album, because of the worldwide success of Come On Eileen. I knew there were other songs on there just as good as ‘Eileen’, but they hadn’t been realised properly.

When ‘Could’ became ‘Should’: The revised title artwork for Dexys Midnight Runners’ October release

“So, I was absolutely delighted to get this opportunity to remix the album with the masterful Pete Schwier, who has worked with Dexys since 1985, and Helen O’Hara [violinist on the original album] is also helping.”

Too-Rye-Ay, As It Should Have Sounded will be released in this “brand new way and sound” via Universal on various formats on October 14, including a triple CD and vinyl, whereupon Rowland’s band had planned to head out on the road to perform the album in full, complemented by soulful Dexys’ gems such as their first number one, Geno.

“There is no way on Earth I would be doing this tour, or even promoting a normal 40th anniversary re-issue, if it wasn’t for the opportunity to remix it and present it how it could have sounded,” Rowland enthused last September.

“This is like a new album for me. It is an absolute labour of love. I want people to hear the album as it was meant to sound.”

York would have been the only Yorkshire location on the 11-date tour. Now it is not to be, in a case of Too-Rye-Ay as it won’t sound on September 30.

The original poster for the Dexys’ tour that will not be going ahead