Imagine, if you will, a small boy of 10. He is in a record shop for the first time, a very large and imposing record shop. He's a little intimidated but he holds his mother's hand tight and pulls her through the people until they find the exact record he wants. He's heard lots of the songs before on the radio but it's Baggy Trousers that he really loves. Its very happy, and you can dance to it. The video is great and its somehow about school. So they find the album - actually it was a tape - with seven gurning loons on the front and go home. And then he listens to it on his walkman again and again and again. He loves this music until it is in his pores. As a little boy there isn't really anything to compare this to - he is just discovering music (the next thing he buys is Lou Reed because he heard Walk on the Wild Side in a movie he wasn't supposed to watch) But as he grew older Madness stayed with him. The music didn't really mature as he did - it is still as wonderfully madcap and funny as it was all those years ago. The booming voices - One Step Beyonddddddddd - the parping horns - the ska (if only he'd know that word) rhythms - the silly lyrics (it took years to work out what House of Fun was all about). There is no need to feel sad - listen to these early Madness songs - some of their best - probably most of their best. They were still holding on to their ska roots - but their pure pop selves were breaking through. For me it is a wonderful record full of more memories than almost any other (I still remember getting into a fight over whether Madness were better than Adam and the Ants). Nothing more, nothing less, love is the best!
Went to see the Madness musical 'Our House' this week at my local theatre and it featured the wonderful sound of all those great Madness tracks. Came home and just had to download the original tracks of their greatest hits. Pity that the song 'Our House was not on the album but you can't have everything - Fantastic!
Still fresh and fun over 30 years on. Great lyrics and irresistible fairground sound, especially Lee Thompson's sax and Mike Barson's keyboards. Not 'complete' because this compilation was issued in 1982 when Madness were still a very active recording band, but around 12 of these 16 tracks are classics. Pop heaven.