Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Limited edition MADNESS reissues on 10" vinyl!

CAPTAIN OI presents

Digitally remastered and expanded double 10" vinyl editions of the first three 




One of the greatest labels ever, CAPTAIN OI, are reissuing the MADNESS back catalog on vinyl, my friends!  But these are not your ordinary twelve inch vinyl LP repressings, NO!   Captain Oi are stepping out and reissuing these titles as limited edition double 10" vinyl sets containing the entire albums plus select bonus tracks!  Not only are these going to be extremely rare.... they are going to be absolutely beautiful works of art that you can listen to and display on your favorite shelf!

One Step Beyond was the band's 1979 debut album... and what an impact it made! Along with The Specials and The (English) Beat, Madness were one of the main players in the Ska/2-Tone movement that took the UK by storm at the tail end of the '70s.  While their debut single, "The Prince", was an homage to Jamaican Ska legend Prince Buster, One Step Beyond (the album) used Ska as a starting point and took off in several different directions. While hits like "One Step Beyond" and "Night Boat To Cairo" remain Ska classics, there are moments on the album that show that the band was already out-growing the genre. "Bed And Breakfast Man" is pure '60s influenced pop with no sign of Jamaican influences within earshot. "My Girl" is gorgeous pop that just happens to have a Ska beat. "In The Middle Of The Night" (about an underwear thief!) is a glorious throwback to British music hall wrestling with classic '60s pop.  Each and every song is a triumph as this young band tackles musical styles that artists twice their age would have difficulty attempting.  Not only is the album musically diverse, it's as fun as hell!  They don't call them Madness for nothing! Oh, and production from Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley is stunning and timeless.

Sides 1-3 feature all tracks from the original album while Side 4 contains a selection of non-album tracks!

Absolutely essential for music fans in general, but certainly more-so for Madness fans!

A year after their debut, Absolutely hit the streets in 1980.  While Ska was still part of their sound, Madness were not relying on one musical trend in order to get their musical point across.  Yes, they were still extremely fun, energetic and upbeat but the songs were even better than those on One Step Beyond! That debut album remains a classic, but Absolutely is damn near brilliant.  The band not only avoided the 'sophomore slump', they defied all expectations and became bona-fide Pop stars when all of their contemporaries were falling away, unable to break out of the Ska mould.  Absolutely is filled with great pop tunes that still sound exciting and timeless, due to top-notch songwriting and Langer & Winstanley's production.  Tracks like "Embarrassment", "E.R.N.I.E.", "Baggy Trousers" and "Disappear" are some of the band's finest cuts, but the whole album is filled with wonderful surprises.  Madness had successfully broken away from the shackles of Ska and created their own unique sound.  Madness had truly arrived.

Sides 1-3 feature all tracks from the original album while Side 4 contains a selection of non-album tracks!

Yes, absolutely essential. No pun intended.

While Madness were still the most fun you could have with your clothes on, their third album, 7, showed a side of the band that we had not seen before.  On the surface, the album contained their usual jovial and fun approach to music, yet, lyrically, it pointed in a far more somber direction. The single "Grey Day" was a dub-laden and lyrically depressing come-down after the party the band had on the first two albums... and it was brilliant. "Mrs. Hutchinson" deals with the impending death of a certain hospital patient. "Cardiac Arrest" describes a heart attack brought on by stress.  "Shut Up" is sung from the point of view of a career criminal caught in an uncompromising position.  Well, OK, so it may not be the 'woe is me' crap that Emo bands have given us in recent years, but for Madness, this was serious stuff.  That is not to say that the album isn't fun, because it is. "Benny Bullfrog" is a gem of a tune, no matter how close it gets to novelty.  More musically diverse than Absolutely, 7 is a stunning and mature album that this writer feels is one of their best albums, if not their best.  Ska fans were sorely disappointed by the lack of skanking tunes, but Madness had grown up and this albums remains a fantastic platter of Pop gems. Once again, Langer & Winstanley's production is flawless.  NOTE: While "It Must Be Love" was NOT included on the album, it was released as a single shortly after this album's release and can be found on the bonus disc.  One of their all-time finest singles, "It Must Be Love" was a brilliant re-invention of the classic Labi Sifre tune, succeeding on all levels.  In fact, many folks think it's a Madness original... and they definitely turn it into a song they can nearly claim as their own.

Sides 1-3 feature all tracks from the original album while Side 4 contains a selection of non-album tracks!

All I can say is "WOW!" This is a truly essential album. But it's Madness, so what did you expect?

You're welcome,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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