Jun 11

RIGHT SAID FRED – “Deeply Dippy”

Popular120 comments • 6,299 views

#675, 18th April 1992

Right Said Fred were a rum proposition – solid light entertainment values in leather pants, with the mildest dash of sauce added. Jobbing musicians, no great shakes as singers but likeable chaps, so people gave them the benefit of the doubt and let them sweat a novelty hit into two or three years of genuine fame. The Fairbrass brothers were everywhere for a while – the NME embraced them, Smash Hits lapped them up, the red-tops loved the silliness, the public seemed to enjoy the tunes, they bagged an Ivor Novello or two. Right Said Fred enjoyed a remarkable level of goodwill, which didn’t really fade until their second album came out and people realised there actually wasn’t room in their life for Black Lace with an extra member and half the hair.

But that was winter ’93, a world away from summer ’91 – particularly if you peddled the kind of family-fun pop “the Freds” did. Their comeback coincided with Matthew Banister’s arrival at Radio 1 – the moment the station stopped chasing reach and started pursuing influence – and Right Said Fred feel like the end of something: a band built for Radio 1 Roadshows in seaside towns, the kind of group Smashie and Nicey would love.

Does that make them awful? Not inevitably – though the line between dreadfully British and Britishly dreadful is a thin one. “Deeply Dippy”‘s problem isn’t being a silly, happy pop song. It’s never hitting the kind of swing its structure needs it to – that big brassy climax ought to be a joyful communal lift-off but even the group don’t sound like they’re having much fun as they try to gee the rest of us up. Fairbrass’ “See those legs, man.” is perhaps the least excited ad lib ever recorded. Like Shakespears Sister, there’s a feeling of a band playing with dynamics, trying to do something a bit different with their three minutes – and that’s admirable, but Right Said Fred can’t pull it off. “Deeply Dippy” ends up sounding more like forced jollity than good clean fun.



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  1. 101
    punctum on 5 Sep 2011 #

    It is not “wrong” to say that “Common People” is “shallow and sneering”; it is somebody else’s opinion. The Evening Standard isn’t Scientific American; what do you expect, a twenty-page paper with an abstract and copious illustrations and footnotes?

    Saying that there being a “new surge” in “Disco 2000” as they perform it now as opposed to the original recorded version (as Aizlewood makes perfectly clear) is an observation; “it was always there” is opinion, not fact.

    The term “trolling” belongs to internet messageboards and has no place in a music writer’s vocabulary.

  2. 102
    MarkG on 5 Sep 2011 #

    “Common People” *is* “shallow and sneering”, it’s a whole bunch of other things as well. The review was a snidey piece of writing, I would say (I saw it in the paper, and as #87 says, the “right said Fred” comparison somewhat jumped out).

    I couldn’t work out whether the reviewer actually liked Pulp but the paper had decided to slag them off, or that the reviewer disliked them but was trying to toe the line and give them a positive spin. Conflicted, certainly.

  3. 103
    wichita lineman on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Re 102: Aizlewood never “got” Pulp at the time, for the record.

  4. 104
    punctum on 5 Sep 2011 #

    I think the writer was trying to be honest with himself and find good in (his) bad, as most of us writers do. Perhaps if he had more space it would have been more useful to work out why Cocker has done almost nothing worthwhile in the decade since Pulp split (please note the “almost”).

  5. 105
    Cumbrian on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Almost is noted.

    Haven’t heard Relaxed Muscle. Haven’t seen any of his forays into TV arts programming. But I do quite like both his solo albums (though I’m not convinced Steve Albini’s production suits him, I still think Further Complications is pretty good – I detect a certain self flagellation in there, perhaps due to his divorce, that I find quite affecting – turning his own caustic wit on himself, though I think This Is Hardcore is Pulp’s best record too, largely for the same reasons).

    I’d say he was doing pretty decently, in a low key sort of way, if it weren’t for the fact that reforming Pulp seems to suggest his solo career hasn’t gone that well (or at least he’s run out of cash).

  6. 106
    MarkG on 5 Sep 2011 #

    It’s the usual “people pay no notice unless the old name is involved” that has forced Echo&Bunnymen, PinkFloyd, WeddingPresent, and many others to reconvene as ‘working units’ (as opposed to ‘lets play all the hits and nowt else’ restorations)

  7. 107
    weej on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Re:101 – I know exactly what he’s referring to – the “new surge” is from the 7″ mix (and the video) but for some reason the album mix has become the famous one.

    As for Jarvis, he’s done a fair bit in the last decade, but it’s safe to say it’s been a major step down for him. The first solo album wasn’t bad, but “Further Complications” is the first thing he’s done that I just plain didn’t like. Relaxed Muscle was patchy, but with a few particularly good highlights. Constantly producing A-grade material for decades on end seems to be beyond almost anyone’s talents though, so we can surely cut him some slack.

  8. 108
    thefatgit on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Aizlewood is far from consistent. Today’s ES Red Hot Chili Peppers’ gig review, is positively glowing and not a single mention of “nostalgia circuit” (although he does mention Anthony Keidis’ age) anywhere.

  9. 109
    punctum on 5 Sep 2011 #

    JC’s work on the Charlotte Gainsbourg 5:15 album was excellent and I thought he should have gone much further down that line, as a writer and/or producer for others.

  10. 110
    MarkG on 5 Sep 2011 #

    Well, he can do that, and has done. Bring back (together) the All Seeing I, I says.

  11. 111
    Conrad on 5 Sep 2011 #

    108 – “nostalgia circuit”? they are promoting a new album, not reforming to play old hits

  12. 112
    thefatgit on 5 Sep 2011 #

    #111 I see your point. It would seem then, that Aizlewood was asking Pulp to bring something fresh to the table. Or maybe he doesn’t care for anything they bring to the table.

  13. 113
    anto on 5 Sep 2011 #

    re 104: Even as their fame peaked there was a tendency to look upon Pulp as a vehicle for Jarvis’ talents but on closer inspection you came to realise how important the rest of the band were.
    In terms of shaping their sound Russel Senior seemed to be the one who pushed their intense atmospheric side while Steve Mackey was the member who picked up on dance music. Also let’s not underestimate the contribution of Candida Doyle who was of course the first to hear the early sketch of Common People as a potential hit.
    For me at least that’s what is missing from Jarvis’ solo efforts – the Pulp sound. I would say something similar about Elvis Costello.
    Of course working with the Brodsky Quartet/Burt Bacharach/Paul McCartney are all part of his accomplishments but the Attractions music is always his ideal setting.

  14. 114
    DV on 29 Nov 2011 #

    I was going to say something about how this is a great example of a well crafted love song blah blah etc. but then realised that that would make me sound rockist.

  15. 115
    punctum on 1 Dec 2011 #

    Fuck rockism. Say what you think.

  16. 116
    Mark G on 1 Dec 2011 #

    and Rock Fuckism: Feel what you .. um..

  17. 117
    malmo58 on 14 Jan 2012 #

    While this was #1 I met a fellow student named Melissa at a party and was smitten with her. Told the others on my course, whom I hung around with most days, next morning; by the end of the day, and for weeks afterwards, they kept singing at me “Deeply dippy about Melissa, her name’s not Roger, her name’s not Clarissa”.

    And after all that, my (tentative, I admit – sheer nerves) attempts to woo her went unrewarded…

  18. 118
    daveworkman on 11 Jun 2014 #

    Not sure if anyone has seen this – they live!

  19. 119
    hectorthebat on 3 Apr 2015 #

    Critic watch:

    Face (UK) – Singles of the Year 18
    New Musical Express (UK) – Singles of the Year 22
    Select (UK) – Singles of the Year 43

  20. 120
    Tommy Mack on 11 Nov 2015 #

    Just watched an old TOTP2 on Tivo while trying to get a teething Baby Mack to take a nap…RSF on doing I’m Too Sexy: I’d never noticed that during the first instrumental break, Rob Manzoli is playing the riff from Jimi Hendrix’ Third Stone From The Sun!

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