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Big Beat Extra tracks, Original recording remastered

3.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Oct. 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Commercial Marketing
  • ASIN: B000I8NGJQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,976 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

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Most famous for its odd album cover, Big Beat, Sparks' final album for Island Records, saw a complete volte-face from their previous albums, the only continuity being the very definite shift in style that would become as much of a trademark as a hindrance for the Mael brothers. Gone were the rest of the band (replaced by a new trio including former Roxy Music bass player Sal Maida), and likewise the intricate musical arrangements were remoulded into a far more streamlined, guitar-led approach.

Whilst the album doesn't quite scale the heights set by its predecessors, there's still a whole lot to recommend on Big Beat. "Nothing To Do" is a Sparks classic, and the band's lyrical quirks are still obvious on tracks like "Throw Her Away and get a New One" or "I Like Girls" and though the faux-misogyny sails too close to the wind in their plea for "White Women", it's still faintly amusing. This edition has a welter of bonus tracks including their remake of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" which is as divisive as Marmite. For the Sparks fan, this is a worthwhile purchase. For the uninitiated, start with Kimono My House and work forward. --Thom Allott

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I bought this, hated it, sold it, then found myself singing all the songs so bought it again!

It is very different to the previous albums. The backing band is sparse and heavy, the vocals mush nore repetitive and simple, often annoyingly so. The drums are very over the top, a bit like Aynsley Dunbar on Bowies Pin Ups album. The guitar a bit like Mick Ronsons playing too. It all goes to make a very different album.

If you like Sparks dont make this a first purchase, get Kimono or Lil Beethoven first, this is not for the casual Sparks fan and is not really for the faint hearted.
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Format: Audio CD
Not as good as the albums they released before and after it, this was a return to a more guitar and drum driven Rock Sound after they moved back to the West Coast of the USA from Britain.

However it has been remastered and does contain many extra tracks including the classic B Side Gone With The Wind which is so good it's worth getting for this one song alone.

So I've docked one star for it not being quite up to their usual brilliant standard, but still very good nonetheless.

Just Buy It - it's Sparks, they're all good!
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Format: Audio CD
Sparks make a punk album, a year before punk exploded.
After the sheer brilliance of "Kimono My House", after the frenetic urgency of "Propoganda", after the change in sound and structure of "Indiscreet", Sparks proved they were still surfing way ahead of the crowd by releasing this, an album which forecasts the sound punk tried to make without ever losing sight of intelligence, wit, humour, tunes, offensiveness, sarcasm....oh, and lots of other things that make Sparks so far out left.
Thundering drum sound, scratchy guitar, bass as lead (on most tracks), almost no keyboards - what on EARTH were they trying to do?

No anger, a bit of despair, sexist racism ("White Women" does make me feel uneasy, but it really is impossible to take the track too seriously in the light of the lyrics and everything else they've ever released), the oddbod track ("I Like Girls" - all keyboards and as odd as a very odd thing), and the usual mix of sarcasm, irony, and silly cleverness. Or clever silliness, it depends how you hear this...

Personally, I love most of this album, but unusually (for me) there is an absolute, utter, stand out stunner of a track on here. "I Bought The Mississippi River" is daft, possibly pointless, but it sure sounds like it's about something important....it's made me puzzled for 33 years so far and I do hope no - one ever explains what it actually means.

And it has a TERRIBLE sleeve.

Or is that a great sleeve?..

Maybe not a great Sparks album, but against everything else still worth 5 stars.
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Format: Audio CD
Anyone old and cool enough to have followed Sparks' career in real time in the '70s likely found Big Beat disappointing but now in 2014 when they have 22 LPs, it sits somewhere in the middle of their discography. It's the antistasis of it's predeccessor Indiscreet as their sound is now, for the most part, stripped back to basic, raw rock 'n' roll. The only two tracks that hark back (musically) to the old days - I Bought The Mississippi River and I Like Girls (which unsurprisingly dates back to the Bearsville days) are amongst my favourites on the album but straight-foward rockers Nothing To Do and Throw Her Away (And Get A New One) are excellent too. However, what's not straight-forward about the record, is the lyrics. Ron Mael's words in White Woman, Everybody's Stupid and the aformentioned Throw Her Away (And Get A New One) are politically incorrect and an absolute laugh riot. This is definitely not one for those who like their music serious.
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Format: Audio CD
After the assault of a Beatles classic pop song in March of '76, Big Beat was a relief they'd changed their direction. The brothers did what they did best, in dumping band members that brought them albums that sold. Namely, drummer Dinky Diamond, guitarist Trevor White and bassist Ian Hampton. On this album we have ex-Roxy Music's Sal Maid on Bass, Drummer 'Hilly Boy' Michaels, and Jeffery Salen on guitar. The album was produced by Rupert Holmes & Jeffrey Lesser. Engineers on here included Michael Barbiero who went to work with the likes Madonna. Plus, Bob Clearmountain, who engineered Bowie's 'Let's Dance' album.

The lead single release was a double 'A' sided one, of 'Big Boy' with 'Fell-er Up.'These 2 songs were played by Sparks toward the end of the 1977 Disaster film 'Rollercoaster'

Reading the lyrics, Ron had the frustration of the punk generation but the music was basic MOR rock with a hint of blues. The only other single was 'I Like Girls'. A song that originated from Sparks early days around the time of the first LP. 'I Like Girls' was doubled 'A'd with 'England'. A track first used as B-side to their Beatles cover. 'England' was a song that Ron & Russell did with old member Earle Mankey. First time they'd worked together since 1973. Both the Beatles song and 'England' would end up on the CD version of 'Indiscreet.'

I for one enjoyed this LP. More than the album that would come the following year. I think Island Records could have made more effort publicity.
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