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Vinyl Tap: Don Dixon – Most of the Girls Like to Dance But Only Some of the Boys Do

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I get a new turntable and dust off some old records. Vinyl Tap #60:

Don Dixon — singer, songwriter, producer, jingle-jangle jack and master of all tunesmith trades — offered this pure pop gem for then record buyers that still appeals to now people. Even though Dixon “never thought [he’d] release it in the U.S.A.,” the recording of 1985's Most of the Girls Like to Dance but Only Some of the Boys Do allowed the American Jesus of Cool to express in the liner notes his gratitude to his new record company, Enigma – a label so diverse its roster included Christian poodle-hair band Stryper and John Trubee ("A Blind Man's Penis," The World of Lying Pigs with Trubee’s band The Ugly Janitors of America).

In a labor of must for Most of the Girls, a pop/rock dream deferred, Dixon patiently compiled choice demos cut from 1981 to 1984 to create fully realized fun, wit, and romantic evocation. All three of which came together — well, the romance in rather twisted form — in Dixon’s Lowe-like highlight, the catchy dance-floor bug-out “Praying Mantis":

I saw a girl
She reminded me of you
She did the things that a girl like you might do
Her body was green and she had two vicious jaws
She polished her mate as she kissed him with her claws

I feel like a praying mantis
I sense your antics but I can't help it
I've been too frantic too long

The bouncy ‘60s-style “Southside Girl,” just as high in hooks and infectiousness, is a punchy grab-bag of Dwight Twilley Band echoes and traces. The words and music in unison seemingly gush as the smitten narrator’s “heart did flips” as he feels “our first kiss still burning my lips.”

Indeed, he’s walking on air at such an altitude it’s a wonder he can ever come down to earth long enough to meet the gaze of his love as depicted in the breathtakingly gorgeous “Renaissance Eyes.” Though the lyrics are not written in such ethereally ineffable terms, Dixon does ultimately cut to a poetic chase that sums up all in his desire to

Dress you in a fashion
Undress you with a passion
Though the vision haunts you
I'm the one who wants you to love me with
Those eyes

While Dixon indulges in a couple of cover songs — a beefed-up version of Nick Lowe’s skinny-tie New Wave classic “Skin Deep," and a soul-shouter shot at “When a Man Loves a Woman” in which Dixon gets to fully let loose his wonderfully gravelly R&B voice — the cohesiveness of Most of the Girls is achieved with his personal pop craftsmanship. The kind that finds an outlet in “Girls L.T.D.," wherein the storyteller titularly expounds on the high school dance where there's a lesson to be learned:

Don't be afraid
You've got to get up and groove
Don't you know that the girls love it when you move

Most of the girls like to dance
But only some of the boys do

Then again, if you have a song that packs a manic pop wallop like “Wake Up,” everyone, male and female, is gonna be packing the dance floor. “Wake up / Come and join me in the spotlight…” Dixon sings. I picture everybody doin' that new dance sensation, too… the “Praying Mantis”! Go in for the kill!

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