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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Anthology of a Classic English Band., 26 Sep 2011
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This review is from: A Guided Tour Of Madness (3CD+DVD) (Audio CD)
Seven letters in the name. Seven members. Their 7th single 'The Return of the Los Palmas 7' reached a chart high of....Number 7. Their 3rd album (titled '7') peaked in the album charts at--You guessed it--7!. They split up (first time around) after a recording career of seven years. One of the most loved and (subsequently) revered bands of all time, Madness have taken their place alongside The Kinks, Small Faces,The Jam, The Who and Pink Floyd in that pantheon of quintessentially English bands. Their sharp lyrical observations, jaunty (and dark) music and visual style--remember those videos--endeared them to many. This latest compilation combines 3 cd's of music and 1 dvd of the original Madstock weekend to present a wonderful overview to both die-hard fans and those coming to the group for the first time. Nearly all of the singles are here of course but as with previous compilations not always with the correct mix. In almost all cases when Madness singles also appeared on their albums they were re-mixed and sometimes re-edited aswell, a nice way of not charging the fans twice for the same song, if you like, but not so good when trying to put together a decent 'Best of'. If you're a die-hard fan (like me) you'll be able to tell which mix was used for which song but to me all the singles on here should be presented in their original 7" mix. To the best of my knowledge the original single mixes of 'My Girl' 'Embarrassment' and 'Night Boat To Cairo' have slipped through the net of both this and the previous re-mastering campaign of 1999, a situation that should be rectified. Anyway, now I've got that off my chest I can wholeheartedly recommend this anthology. The sound of these new re-masters has been much criticised for being too compressed and therefore too loud which isn't completely untrue but there is nothing you can do about that. The early stuff certainly is very loud but it always was-even the vinyl.The sound calmed down from the third album onwards but the songs remained wonderful. The great thing about this collection is that it scatters lots of album tracks among the more famous singles giving a better overall picture to a new listener. The magnificent 'Take It Or Leave It' for instance. Never a single but one of their greatest songs nonetheless.You even get the re-recorded 'Baggy Trousers' used in a recent lager commercial. As for the DVD of the first Madstock its typically energetic, if a bit rough around the edges but even the bum notes have a certain charm. Put simply, if you're thinking about buying this, just do it. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! Just a word of warning about the packaging. It's rather fiddly getting the CD's in and out without scratching them as this box goes for that horrible overlapping CD tray design which serves no purpose other than risking damage to the playing side of the discs. So be careful. One last thing--anyone else think 'House Of Fun' doesn't sound quite right on this. I think they used an early 'working' mix by mistake here because the song doesn't fade out like its supposed to. Check out the terrible ending--surely never intended for the listener.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Sep 2011 00:45:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Sep 2011 00:46:05 BDT
Paul Rodgers says:
Your viewpoint on the 'terrible' ending to House Of Fun may depend on whether you want the single version or the album version. It's oft forgotten by those of us who have failed to replace worn out record players that the version on the Complete Madness vinyl was not the same as the one on the 7" (or maybe I mean the 7" picture disc or both? Without getting them out I can't check).

As you rightly point out single and album mixes have been interchanged ever since the catalogue started coming out on CD and it would seem no-one has yet made a definitive list of which recordings go where. Personally I'd like to see the alternate version of One Step Beyond... (from the original 12") released digitally eventually, but I'm not holding my breath. And I'd like to see a compilation CD end with the song That's The Way To Do It as the final track, including the never ending sawing sound effect at the end that my record player used to give me as a result of the sound effect being cut on the run out groove, presumably as a joke to amuse/annoy anyone whose needle failed to lift off the vinyl at the end of the song!

Posted on 7 Oct 2011 15:55:41 BDT
A " die-hard fan " would surely notice " House of Fun " original 7" has an ending ? The " fairground " ending IS the original and not, as other reviewer Paul Rodgers mentioned, the fade out version which appears far too often in the other incomplete compilations.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2012 10:29:16 BDT
D. Juden says:
I've been looking for the original 7" version of 'House Of Fun' on CD for a long, long, time and was happy when it appeared on their remastered albums from a couple of years ago. I remember playing the 7" version countless times as an 11 year old and loving the fairground ending. It's a shame sometimes that these false fades can alter an original single release substantially. Another 7" release which comes to mind is the beginning of 'Come On Eileen' by Dexy's Midnight Runners where the violin intro is missing (as far as i'm aware) on any CD or MP3 release to date. If anyone knows any different then please let me know!
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S. Muzyka
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Location: Rugby,Warwickshire,England

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