It is my distinct pleasure to announce to the world that ska music
is not dead. The marauding purveyors of ska for decades are back with
a brand new record full of cover songs that have been given the treatment
and now have that distinctive vibe that only Madness could
impart. The songs are chock full of the same brilliant musicality
and cheery grooves that the world has come to expect from Madness
over the years, and even though this is not a batch of new original
songs, it is still a batch of songs that will have the ska fan moving
their feet and doing a bit of skanking.
From the most obvious tracks like the Supreme's "You
Keep Me Hanging On" and the ever-popular Kinks' "Lola"
to more lesser-known reggae tracks like Desmond Dekker's "Israelites".
Which, by the way, is an amazing song in its own right, but the boys
from Madness give the song a new face, lightening it up and making
it catchier than ever before. Highlights of the album include a very
downtempo and beautiful version of Barbara Lynn's "You'll
Lose A Good Thing", a faithful and jumping version of Rudy
Mills' "John Jones", and the witty and hilarious "Shame
And Scandal", who I cannot remember who originally recorded
but it's still funny after all these decades, and even more upbeat
and just plain fun in the mouths of Madness. More traditional reggae
is represented by the inclusion of a throttling version of Max
Romeo & The Upsetters' classic "I Chase The Devil"
as well as a fine cover of Bob Leaper & His Orchestra's
"Dangermen a.k.a. High Wire", from which I assume the band
took the name for the record. But don't forget that Madness knows
how to pay tribute in the best of all possible ways to one of the
greatest of reggae superstars - included is a tender and heartfelt
rendering of Bob Marley's "So Much Trouble In The World"
which has all the political drive of the original, never missing a
The glory of listening to any new record by Madness is that I feel
like a very young teenager again. Good music makes for good memories,
and I'm swimming in them! I truly hope that this little studio experiment
is labeled as volume 1 for a reason, and that we might see volume
2 arriving on shelves in the not too distant future.
1. This Is Where
2. Girl Why Don't You?
3. Shame And Scandal
4. I Chase The Devil A.K.A. Ironshirt
5. Taler Than You Are
6. You Keep Me Hanging On
7. Dangermen A.K.A. High Wire
9. John Jones
11. You'll Lose A Good Thing
13. So Much Trouble In The World
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