Friday, November 10, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 36: The English Beat - I Just Can't Stop It



Album - I Just Can't Stop It
Artist - The English Beat
Key Players - Dave Wakeling (guitar/vocals), Rankin Roger (vocals), Andy Cox (guitar), David Steele (bass), Everett Moreton (drums)
Produced By - Bob Sargeant


Release Date - October ??, 1980

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Just the desire to "finally" do this. It needs to be covered..that simple.

Overview -
This was the first album released by the band (called simply "The Beat" in their native UK). This record is viewed as the launching pad for the "revival" of Ska Music which began to materialize in the late 1970's with Madness the Selecter and others. The band would only release 3 official albums under this name but members would break off and continue with the bands sound with other projects. Dave Wakeling once told a reporter that every great band only has three really good albums. And true to form, The Beat decided to call it quits after their third album.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - ** The cd was re-issued in it's original form back in 1999. The cd that I own was bought well before this time so it includes a few tracks you will not see if you look this up on amazon for example.***

Opening with "Mirror in the Bathroom" the band starts up right away. The guitar work you'll swear you heard Andy Summers (Guitarist for the Police) doing. The ska wave had taken over many bands at the time. The click clack drum tempo with very punctuated guitar parts are just the top layer to the horn section and the rolling bass line. Although not a huge barn burner of a song its one of the bands trademark songs, one of the many found on this record. "Hands Off...She's Mine" has the reggae feel that a more mainstream audience may identify with. This sound was very new to audiences at the time. The horns are great and there is even a section where vibes are brought up in the mix. "Two Swords" and "Twist and Crawl" are both driving songs delivered with much urgency. "Two Swords" seems to be a little more uptempo than the darker "Twist and Crawl". "Tears Of A Clown" is a beyond fun version of the "Miracles" song. The saxophone parts tossed in as well as the swooping bassline make this song such a great cover tune..perhaps one of the finest covers versions of any song (there I said it). "Rough Rider", the longest track on the record has all the trade mark English Beat moments. The clicky guitar, the sax doing brief fills, the spoken lyrics all trademark English Beat."Click Click" is the shortest song on the record. The machine gun guitar intro sets off the furious pace."Ranking Full Stop" the tempo of the song is infectious and the band has fully gelled by this point of the record. It was mixed correctly to give you the one two punch at the right time. "Big Shot" a dig at the wealthy. The songs have been political in nature but "Click Click" and "Big Shot" tell you right in the song titles and each express discontent on some levels. "Whine and Grine/Stand Down Margaret" a politically charged song directed to then Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher. The drawl of the accents about "Stand down Margaret stand down please stand down Margaret" harkens back to the Cold War era and gives almost a compassionate sound that is thankfully behind us. "Noise in This World" the lyrics are delivered with machine gunlike speed. The band holds down the tempo but Wakeling had one to many cups of coffee you'd think before laying down the vocals. Given with urgency there is no breakdown. "Can't Get Used to Losing You" has a very "lounge-like" feel. Even the chorus has "ooh wahh ooohs". "Best Friend" to this day one of the best songs ever written. You'll find a jump in your step when this song is played. If an attempt was made for a new fan to the band this would be the first song I'd play. Its catchy, a good tempo and has everything the band can offer. Gold. "Jackpot" wraps up the record in fine form. Organ is brought up and the ska guitar lines are great. The saxophone is used just perfectly. A great way to close off a groundbreaking record.

Where are they now? Dave and Roger formed "General Public" and did a few records. Now days Dave continues to tour and write music, Andy and David Steele went on to form Fine Young Cannibals. Andy is now focusing on art while David has been working on a solo record and doing producing work. Everett and Roger are touring in various capacities most notably as "The New Beat".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The original band broke up before I even knew who they were. The "reformed" version(s) doesn't/don't have me rushing out. Get em all together and I'll be there.

FDF Overall Take - Inside 40 minutes you'd swear you are listening to a best of collection. The band knocked this one out of the park on their first record. I'll be first to admit that reggae/ska can be overly repetitive at times. This record runs the gamunt from easy laid back sun soaked tunes to political rockers. Well worth your time..and attention.

3 Comments:

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Trish said...

This was one of my all time favorite bands in the early '80's. And you are right this was their best work...catchy tunes and odd lyrics. I loved it.

I went to see them in concert in Minneapolis in June 1983. Great memories.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

man I'd love to see them in "original form". wow..I am jealous.

 
At 7:03 PM, Blogger Trish said...

Hey March- I sent a link to the friend I went to the concert with.

 

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