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Sunday, May 28, 2006


ModMusic: Fergus Sings The Blues

I've been invited to write a piece for another site about "bands that should've been enormous, but somehow missed their moment and drifted off into irrelevancy." Hmmm. I don't know if I'll write the piece or not, but it did get me to pull down off the shelf my old Deacon Blue CDs. Widely successful in Europe during the early 90's, the group (which took their name from the Steely Dan song and was built around the talents of singer-songwriter Ricky Ross) never made much of an impression in America. Perhaps it was because they were hard to pin down: indisputably a rock band, they combined country AND soul influences with a clear understanding of pop hooks and a heavy dose of Glasgow working-class politics. The result wasn't for everyone, but I was a devoted fan; I still rank their 1989 album, When The World Knows Your Name, as one of the best albums of all time.

I probably should have chosen one of their big singles to showcase here -- the eloquent "Dignity", the raucous "Queen of the New Year" or the tormented "Real Gone Kid" -- but instead I've chosen "Fergus Sings The Blues", a character song that never fails to make me deliriously happy. (A real horn section! Shout-outs to James Brown!) The song is about our ability to accomplish things beyond our wildest dreams...and the self-doubt we must defeat in order to be extraordinary. Like Fergus, we ask the question, and hope it comes back a resounding yes.

Download: "Fergus Sings The Blues"
Then Get: When The World Knows Your Name, Deacon Blue
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