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Music / Deacon Blue

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Left to right - James Prime (keyboards), Lewis Gordon (bass), Ricky Ross (lead vocals), Dougie Vipond (drums), Gregor Philp (guitar), Lorraine McIntosh (backing and lead vocals)

Cause I look, in the mirror,
And it throws, back the question,
And I whisper, in words,
That beg, an answer,
Tell me can, this white man sing the blues?
— "Fergus Sings the Blues"

Deacon Blue are a long-running Scottish rock band formed in Glasgow in 1985. The group is characterised by the dual lead vocals of Ricky Ross & Lorraine McIntosh in addition to down-to-earth lyrics. Though they had their most success in the late 80s and early 90s, they still continue to tour and achieve critical success.


  • Raintown (1987)
  • When the World Knows Your Name (1989)
  • Fellow Hoodlums (1991)
  • Whatever You Say, Say Nothing (1993)
  • Walking Back Home (1999)
  • Homesick (2001)
  • The Hipsters (2012)
  • A New House (2014)
  • Believers (2016)


Deacon Blue provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Bleached Underpants: The first demo of Dignity has "He takes no crap off nobody, and dogshit off the gutter", but the final has "He takes no lip off nobody, and litter from the gutter".
  • B-Side Album: The group had two well-regarded ones early on "Riches" and "Oooh Las Vegas". These two were superseded by the 2012 deluxe editions of their albums, but a new compilation "The Rest" was created to cover the tracks that didn't belong to a particular album.
  • Commonplace Rare: The vinyl album of previously released b-sides, "Riches", is much more rare and expensive than collecting the singles on their own. It only received one print run as part of a special edition of "Raintown", and demand was much greater than supply even at the time. Even Ricky Ross says in the booklet to 'Oooh Las Vegas' that he did not anticipate "Riches" would sell out.
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  • Cover Version: The group has a fair few, notably the "Four Bacharach And David Songs" EP.
  • Crapsack World: Several tracks on "Raintown" chronicle the problems with finding work in Scotland at the time, whether it is the subject of homelessness in "Ragman", envy of the rich in "Loaded", and working a dead end job "Dignity". "Town To Be Blamed" has the narrator outright blaming Glasgow.
  • Darker and Edgier: "This Changing Light" has metal guitar stabs, which are unusual in the group's oeuvre.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: "When Will You Make My Telephone Ring" and "Church" do not feature Lorraine McIntosh as they were recorded prior to her joining the group (although released afterwards). In the former case the backing vocals are performed by the soul group Londonbeat, and in the latter case, by the session vocalist Carole Moore.
  • Epic Rocking: The 12" version of "Love And Regret" is an alternate recording (as opposed to a remix) which is exactly 10 minutes long.
    • That Brilliant Feeling #3 (the unedited version of the song) is over 7 minutes long.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Four Bacharach And David Songs EP.
  • Fading into the Next Song: Used with "Born In A Storm" into "Raintown", as well as several tracks on "Ooh Las Vegas" (for example "That Country (Beneath Your Skin)" into "Is It Cold Beneath The Hill?" via clock ticking).
  • Greatest Hits Album: Several with the most popular being 1994's Our Town – The Greatest Hits.
  • Harsh Vocals: Ricky has a rare non-metal variant in that he sings parts of "Town To Be Blamed" and "Fall So Freely Down" in a rough, throaty voice.
  • Lighter and Softer: For whatever reason, "Fellow Hoodlums" is composed mostly of slow songs in comparison to the albums surrounding it.
  • Name's the Same: Invoked on purpose with "Twist And Shout", not the Isley Brothers song famously covered by The Beatles.
    • In reverse, they did a song called "Beautiful Stranger" 5 years before Madonna, and one called "Loaded" several years prior to Primal Scream.
  • New Sound Album: "When The World Knows Your Name" is notably more pop-rock than Raintown was, and "Whatever You Say, Say Nothing" goes into full-on alt-rock.
  • Not Christian Rock: Ricky's early lyrics often featured Christian imagery for example "Take The Saints Away", "Church" and "Suffering". Prior to the group's formation he had been involved with organising music events at a local church. He has said in recent years that growing older has caused him to revisit his religion, thus the album "Believers".
  • Obvious Beta: "Ronnie Spector", "Just Like Boys", "SHARON", "Take The Saints Away" and "Down In The Flood" are all 1986 demos and feature drum machines, synths and upfront bass that the group quickly eschewed later. In fact, they even remade "Down In The Flood" as "Minimal Mix" removing most of these parts - whilst using the original as a 7" b-side.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Ricky occasionally uses this such as on the likes of "He Looks Like Spencer Tracy Now" and "I've Been Making Such A Fool".
  • Rearrange the Song: Most of their 12" mixes. "Wages Day" and "Queen Of The New Year" are particularly noticeable as they have harmonica added and sound more like American country music.
    • "Disneyworld" was overdubbed and slightly extended for "Oooh Las Vegas", which gives the song a fuller feeling to it.
    • "When Will You Make My Telephone Ring"'s second release had three different versions of its b-side "That Brilliant Feeling", one per format. #1 is the 7" edit, #2 appears on the CD and is the full track (used on CD release), and #3 is an extended 12" mix featuring additional sections. #2 and #3 are also the only tracks from the Raintown period to not appear on the album's deluxe edition, resulting in Keep Circulating the Tapes.
  • Shout-Out: They're named after the Steely Dan song "Deacon Blues".
    • The song "Ronnie Spector" is about the singer in The Ronettes.
    • "Fergus Sings The Blues" refers to several American musicians who influenced the group.
    • "Last Night I Dreamed Of Henry Thomas" also deals with one.
  • Soprano and Gravel: The contrast between Ricky's gruff voice and Lorraine's high voice is a trademark of the group.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Though usually backing vocalist, Lorraine performs some lead vocals, for example on "Are You There (With Another Girl)".
  • The '80s
  • Updated Re-release: The second single release of Dignity featured a new recording of the song by Bob Clearmountain which the group hoped would help them achieve success in the US.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Alluded to in Dignity, where the man described is subject to abuse, but "takes no lip off nobody" thus is left alone.