Forty years on, Kevin Rowland revamps “fraudulent” Too-Rye-Ay for 2022 Dexys album and tour. York Barbican awaits

Dexys’ Kevin Rowland, second left, announces the second coming of Too-Rye-Ay, “as it could have sounded”

COME again, Eileen. Dexys, now shorn of the Midnight Runners appendage, are reworking their 1982 album, Too-Rye-Ay, for a 40th anniversary release and accompanying tour.

Led as ever by Kevin Rowland, Dexys will play York Barbican on September 30 2022 on their Too-Rye-Ay, As It Could Have Sounded Tour, in what may well be the veteran Birmingham band’s first ever York appearance, unless you know otherwise.

Released in July 1982, the one with strings, brass and dungarees attached 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 says: “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 iconic 1982 album artwork for Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners’ Too-Rye-Ay

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 says: “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.

“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 Could Have Sounded will be released in this “brand new way and sound” next year via Universal on various formats, whereupon Rowland’s band will head out on the road to perform the album in full, complemented by soulful Dexys’ gems such as their first number one, Geno.

“I’m so into doing this album, that we are doing shows to promote it next year, where we will play the whole of the album from start to finish, as well as other Dexys’ favourites,” says Rowland, who turned 68 on August 17.

“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.

“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 will be the only Yorkshire location on next year’s 11-date tour taking in The Forum, Bath, on September 17; New Theatre, Oxford, September 18; Brighton Dome, September 19; Albert Hall, Manchester, September 21; Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, September 22; Symphony Hall, Birmingham, September 26; Cambridge Corn Exchange, September 27; St David’s Hall, Cardiff, September 29; York Barbican, September 30, and London Palladium, October 2.

York tickets go on sale on Friday (10/9/2021) at 10am at Let’s make this precious all over again.