30 Days: 30 Albums | The Dickies – Idjit Savant

I used to have three Dickies CDs that I got rid of because they weren’t “Incredible Shrinking Dickies” or “Dawn Of The Dickies. Once I go the DLC RMs of those titles in the early noughts, I figured “why clutter up the racks with irrelevant Dickies music?” But after seeing The Dickies this summer, I had a change of heart. That show was so good, I really should have it all. Especially since there’s so few albums over a 40 year period. So I have been picking up all Dickies releases I’ve come across of late. In L.A. I managed to buy one that I didn’t already have.

Triple X Records ‎| US | CD | 1994 | 51168-2

#17The Dickies: Idjit Savant US CD [1994]

  1. Welcome To The Diamond Mine
  2. Golden Boys
  3. Toxic Avenger
  4. Zeppelina
  5. I’m Stuck In A Condo (With Marlon Brando)
  6. Just Say Yes
  7. Elevator (In The Brain Hotel)
  8. Pretty Ballerina
  9. Make It So
  10. I’m On Crack
  11. Oh Boy!
  12. Roadkill
  13. House Of Raoul
  14. Song Of The Dawn

“Welcome To The Diamond Mine” is a strange little Dickies number. Not as obviously stoopid as their stock-in-trade. But Leonard Graves Phillips vocals were as bratty as ever and at 2:00 is certainly felt like The Dickies. “Golden Boys” was – gasp – a Germs cover, but not having ever really listened to The Germs, I did not recognize this. I’ve only ever seen the “What We Do Is Secret” movie, which I enjoyed. Things finally began to get goofy on “Toxic Avenger,” a tribute to the Troma Films superhero, but the music here was very Prog, with Wakemanesque keyboards, courtesy of Phillips. All very tongue-in-cheek, due to the absurd context of the song. Besides, it’s not as if “Rondo {The Midget’s Revenge]” didn’t prefigure this years ago!

It finally took the band 26 years to consider the important step of writing a sequel to “[I’m Stuck In A Pagoda With] Tricia Toyota.” This time they set their sights a bit higher than a local newscaster with “I’m Stuck In A Condo [With Marlon Brando.”] The joke was that crazy Brando was ranting at the pizza delivery boy and eating everything in sight, but I do feel that the band missed a trick by not having a verse that went…

He’s going down to Pep Boys,
He’s gonna buy some Bondo®

Since they pull the conceit of rhyming Brando with condo they could have tied the song in with their classic “Manny, Moe + Jack.” Sighs. The tune itself was built on a guitar riff very reminiscent of The Easybeats “I’ll Make You Happy” albeit with a slower [?!] tempo.

“Just Say Yes” was absolutely a classic Dickies song when it came at album’s midpoint. This one, if it were not for the mid-80s conceit of the lyric, could have very comfortably sat on “Incredible Shrinking Dickies.” Yes, it’s that great!  Then a couple of obscure covers pop up. “Elevator [In The Brain Hotel]” was from – gasp – 1968 and the Grapefruit album “Around Grapefruit.” The band had formed around Alexander Young the brother to the Easybeat’s George Young, making the lift of the “I’ll Make You Happy” riff obviously something the band were dwelling on at the time of this album. Another late 60s song was riffed on with a cover of The Left Banke’s “Pretty Ballerina,” and kudos to The Dickies for springing for the mandatory cello and harpsichord to make it all work.

“Make It So” was a Star Trek riff with suitably infantile lyrics. Phillips’ publishing company isn’t called Dorkmeister Music for nothing! Then, another absolutely classic sounding Dickies song appeared in “I’m On Crack.” Again, except for the lyric, you’d swear this was a 1978 track. Another single [that I did used to have] was “Roadkill” with the band experimenting with hardcore tempos, which seems kind of silly, since I thought that the band basically invented hardcore punk in 1978, but if The Ramones made “Warthog” then I guess it was okay. The appearance of mouth harp on a song this fast was very endearing, I have to say.

“House Of Raoul” was apparently not a song about fashion design, but I wish that it had been. Instead, it’s a goofy number whose meaning escapes me. With a shocker ending, the album finale was another cover. This time of the Tin Pan Alley obscurity “Song Of The Dawn,” thought the credits cheekily ascribe it to Phillips. The band play it in a fashion that I would guess was how the song had typically been performed throughout its history. It’s the furthest thing from punk rock.

I really enjoyed this album as it veered all over the musical map, yet it had three undeniably classic Dickies tunes that could have only been from them. The holy dumb lyrics showed the band untainted by maturity; preferring to let the covers move in that direction. It was 35 minutes of Dickies fun with 14 songs in that time. Now I need to hear the other Dickies album that I have passed on since I think it’s likely that all of them will have enough of their special sauce to work for me.

CONCLUSION: enjoy

 

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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2 Responses to 30 Days: 30 Albums | The Dickies – Idjit Savant

  1. I used to play the heck out of “Marlon Braaaahndo” (as they pronounced it) on WPRK. I remember being a bit disappointed with this when it came out since (again, dang me and my preconceived notions! Ah youth!) it wasn’t “Day of the Dickies” or indeed any sort of movie title subverted with the band’s name (why didn’t you ever use “Gone with the Dickies,” LGP, why?!), but time has shown me the error of my ways. Even one “real” Dickies song on a Dickies album makes it worth buying.

    You’ve reminded me that we got the marvelous “Toxic Avenger” at the show we saw as well … and was it “I’m on Crack” that was also played from this album. Damn dain bramage!

    Like

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