Masters of melancholy Deacon blue return with new song collection

Inspired by the wild stage presence of Lone Justice star Maria McKee, it managed to sound both euphoric – with that unforgettable “whoo-whoo” chorus – and melancholy.

Dignity, released the year before, was the first pointer to Ross’s talent. A hit on its re-release in 1994, the song tells the story of a road sweeper who dreams of escaping his day job by buying a dinghy called Dignity. A poignant metaphor for millions.

All of the Glasgow-based band’s singles are here, including Wages Day, Fergus Sings The Blues, Your Town and, of course, their cover of Bacharach & David’s I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, which peaked at number two in 1990.

This collection is available in 2xCD and 2xLP versions but a huge 14xCD set, You Can Have It All – The Complete Albums Collection, is also out today.

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Formed in 1985, with a name inspired by Steely Dan song Deacon Blues, the band fronted by Dundee-born Ross went on to sell more than two million albums in the UK.

They split in 1994 but returned in ’99. Their acclaimed 2012 album The Hipsters was a love letter to themselves.

They were never hip in the NME sense but Ross’s emotive brand of pop, his imagery and his love of sweeping melodies touched a generation.

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Their numbers have a sense of place and of yearning, and the feel of folk music without being folk songs. Ross dipped a toe in politics but generally preferred to keep his lyrics ambiguous.

Highs include the sublime Everytime You Sleep and 2020’s Hit Me Where It Hurts.

One question: why don’t they let Lorraine McIntosh sing more?

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