FDF Volume 2 Isssue 124: Big Audio Dynamite - This is Big Audio Dynamite
Album - This is Big Audio Dynamite
Artist - Big Audio Dynamite
Key Players - Don Letts - sound effects & vocals, Dan Donovan - keyboards, Leo Williams - bass, Greg Roberts - drums & background vocals, Mick Jones - guitars & vocals
Produced By - Mick Jones
Release Date - October 1985
What caused me to blow off the dust? - It has been a long while since I reached for a Big Audio Dynamite cd. I have to admit, my favorite from them is "Tighten Up Vol 88" and that is the one I wanted to review, but I can't find the cd...I have the cassette tape, and even something to play it on, but its too hard to upload the songs that way!
Overview - Big Audio Dynamite (later Big Audio Dynamite II and then just BAD) were formed by former Clash member Mick Jones in 1984. Jones, branched out, crossing many musical styles within Big Audio Dynamite. The blending of punk, dance, reggae and funk were all part of the staples to Big Audio Dynamites sound. The band would find success in the early 1990s with hits "The Globe" and "Rush". Both would become college and alternative rock staples. The band would release a few records beyond the hit years and then slowly fizzle.
FDF Comments (aka the songs) - One of the themes in the record are very "canned" or electric drums. Opening with said effect on "Medicine Show" a single guitar comes up just as the lyrics are about to be sung. The song has a smattering of sound drops from the film "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" for good measure. "Sony" follows and Jones sort of slags off his former label saying he'd not want to 20 more years with them. There is a longer bongo section towards the end of the track. One of the bigger songs they did is "E=MC²" that follows. Jones has a laid back vocal delivery keeping it a little flat and relying on the other guys in the band for the harmonies. The drum track clicks at a brisk pace, but the song has a laid back feel all at the same time. If this record contained one single that has stood the test of time it has to be "The Bottom Line". The worst part about this version is that there is a continuation of the track that is on a 12 inch remix record that just makes it all the better. Opening with a chiming and delayed single guitar before the robotic drum line comes in. The track hits deep solid groove and Jones is in top form. This is a song (at least to me) I want to know every word to. It takes a little to get rolling with the lyrics, on this the second shortest track on the cd, not starting until about the 1:20 mark. When he "reaches the bottom line" Jones keeps his vocals restrained and allows for the backing vocalists to take the song up. "A Party" is a catchy track with sort of campy vocals and rhyming schemes used. Jones gives them quick and almost with a bubbly tone. Adding to this his his choppiness with the words, adding and additional bite. Bouncy keyboards bring up "Sudden Impact!" that follows some of the past methods of canned drums and looping keyboard lines. It has a very "New Order" feeling breakdown at one point as well. "Stone Thames" has a strong back beat, but there are many fuzzy scratches and vocals call and response moments. Jones sings the track at a quick pace and as the chorus he goes a little falsetto at times and the samples fill in the gaps. The album wraps up with "Bad". A track that has Jones expanding a little on his vocal range. The track is drenched in zinging gun shot sound effects. The band has a good vocal breakdown towards the end of the track and feeds well off one another.
Where are they now? - The band recorded a record as last as 1997 but both the band and (a) label have chosen to not release it.
Letts is busy in radio as well as film as a director. Donovan played with Sisters of Mercy for a little bit and was in the band Dreadzone. Roberts also worked with Dreadzone. Leo Williams is working with Mick Jones in his latest band Carbon/Silicon.
FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live.
FDF Overall Take - Coming off the heels of the Clash fans of Mick Jones were either impressed with his desire to do something totally different, or upset that he went the total opposite direction. For hard core fans of the Clash it may take a few listens to get used to. Casual fans would probably do just fine with the best of collection but this cd is cheap enough if the listener wants to spread their wings to more "catalog" tracks.
Unofficial site, but very up to date here.
The site of Mick Jones' latest project here.
Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
Mp3's have been removed....the tracks were...
The Bottom Line
You can buy it here.
Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.