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The Liberty Of Norton Folgate
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The Liberty Of Norton Folgate is Madness's tenth studio album. Its release, in 2009, ushered in a new golden period for a group who first enjoyed immense success in the 1980s as the UK's biggest selling singles band. They remain the 18th best-selling band in the UK and have become even more of a national treasure with appearances at two of the most important events of last year: The Queen's Golden Jubilee Concert (where they played on top of Buckingham Palace and stole the show) and the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. Not bad for seven nutty boys from Camden Town. Norton Folgate is a powerhouse of a record, not to mention an incredible return to form for a band whose last album, Wonderful, had been released back in 1999. A veritable loveletter to London, The Liberty Of Norton Folgate (named after a peculiar, formerly autonomous, part of East London, near Spitalfields) features its subject city heavily, capturing it in all its seedy, triumphant glory. This is the album Madness were born to make and it has been hailed as their masterpiece.
Top Customer Reviews
When reading the media reviews for TLONF, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well received this album has been. Now that I've heard it myself I'm absolutely delighted to see how contemporary and fresh Madness sound.
I give it a 5-star as there are only a couple of slightly weaker tracks, whilst the high points are incredible. Madness sound crisp and optimistic throughout. Lyrics and stories are sharper than ever. Highlights for me are We are London, a glorious appreciation of the ecclectic mix of cultures that make up the Capital. Fabulous harmony on this one. Forever Young has the most catchy ska brass section, reminiscent of the Two-Tone bands. Dust Devil is a ska rooted track that might not capture you first time and then gets a bit infectious after you've heard it a few times. Written by Lee Thompson and Dan Woodgate, it reminds me a lot of the best work Lee did with Chris Foreman with spin off group Crunch. That Close is very much like the style Madness had with The Sun & The Rain in tempo, with tones of Embarrassment and the chromatic scales from Shut Up. MKII provides a break with a more laid back and slower tempo. On the Town has the most delightful chorus and is the only example I know of where Madness are supported by a female vocalist. The album version's vocals are performed by Rhoda Dakar, a favourite artist admired by many during the Two-Tone era.Read more ›
The album is repackaged here with a DVD of the same title directed by legendary film maker Julien Temple. For the filming the theatre was turned into one complete film set. Character performers mingled with audience members, as did the camera crew. Madness were joined by a live string section (in the pit as is fitting for such a venue) and had a stage set enhanced by evocative back projection of images, landscapes, animations and films which illustrated the spirit of the songs.
Between songs we have a character narrative followed by Suggs and Chas Smash, out and about in shady London, taking us back to some of the periods in the history of the title track and masterpiece that is The Liberty Of Norton Folgate.
Add to that an assured performance of songs, many of which were getting their public début and you have yourself over two hours of fantastic entertainment.
If you have the music, you will enjoy the concert DVD. If you don't have the album yet, but have heard some of the glowing praise for it, buy this and put the DVD in first.Read more ›
Listening to this album, you can almost pick out the 30 years of infuences. Ian Dury, The Kinks, The Specials, but it would be unfair to listen to this and attribute the sound to other bands. This is Madness, pure and simple and their greatest influence is themselves.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a kid I had the compilation Complete Madness and although I liked the band, I thought that was enough. All the good bits without unnecessary extras. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Sarah
I love this album. The way madness take you on a history tour of London is superb.
Shame more people didn't buy it at the time