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Bad Manners Original Released (part I),
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This review is from: Ska 'N' B (Audio CD)
I had been expecting this release since I first discovered that love for ska music was written on my blood.
Bad Manners is one of those universal bands that have earned by far their place on top of the hall of fame of jamaican flavored music (ska, rocksteady, reggae, etc.). In the 90s, when I entered the fantastic world of ska, the only thing you could get in the music shops by Bad Manners was some low-quality compilations made by second-line labels that mixed some live and studio records from different eras and with no clear direction... And any true follower of the band, would undoubtedly search for the original albums on a CD edition. At least I did search. I asked all specialized shops, all usual sources (both physical and virtual) with no results.
But finally, thanks to the people of the Cherry Red Records "Pressure Drop" Label, the first 4 Bad Manners albums were re-issued on wonderful brand new CD editions with plenty of quite good bonus tracks. Those albums are Ska N B, Loonee Tunes!, Gosh It's and Forging Ahead. (Just for the record I must thank them as well for the reedition of the Laurel Aitken records)
So far, let's focus on the reedition of the first of Bad Manners records: Ska'N'B. The album was released on 1980 and reached number 34 on the UK charts. It is one of the most notable ska records of the Two-Tone movement even though they did not consider themselves as a part of it. I tend to consider them part of the 2 Tone movement because of the era and style matches.
The first track of the album is an all time classic "Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu", a version of a 50's theme by Dicky Doo and the Don'ts. Bad Manners build a version that will always be far more popular than the original one. Highly enjoyable beat. Totally fun, skatalitic, tune that is undoubtedly a must-to in my greatest ska hits home-made compilations. It is still included in the repertory of their live performances.
The second tune of the album is "Here Comes The Major", a Bad Manners composition which is absolutely wonderful. Funny lyrics. Crazy ska rhythm. Lovely performance. One of my all-time ska favorites.
The album continues with "Fatty Fatty", covering the 60s Clancy Eccles jamaican hit. Once again Bad Manners redesigned the song to be an all-time favorite. The next song is "King Ska/Fa", an almost instrumental piece which is outstanding. Very catchy rhythm. Very catchy melody. All mixed up with Bad Manners style. The result. Another of my preferred songs in history.
"Monster Mash" is another cover in an album full of great covers. Originally popularized by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett & The Cryptkickers, it reached number 1 on Billboards in the 60s. Themes like this gives all the sense to the album title Ska'N'B, with the trivial parallelism with the Rhythm'N'Blues style. In their mixing covers and originals, the next song to come is "Caledonia", a full Bad Manners song... Correct, though not one of my preferred ones.
The western themes would prove to be a constant in Bad Manners discography. So far, "Magnificent 7" the cover of the soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein of the famous Western movie would be their first ska-western contribution, following the tradition of western-ska established by the Prince, Prince Buster.
The next cover in the album was "Wooly Bully" a 60's hit by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, which has been largely versioned. Anyway the best cover ever, I can asure you is this one by Bad Manners.
The original album ends with 4 original songs by Bad Manners, "Lip Up Fatty" a fine-tempo hommage to the fatty people; "Special Brew" the love-song any pop album must contain (even if the object of your love desires is that special brew); "Inner London Violence" another of my favorites from all-time Bad Manners discography and, at the same time, the song with the most social criticism of the band's history; finally, "Scruffy, The Huffy Chuffy Tugboat" gives the special ending that makes the album the diamond it is nowadays.
Hey, folks. But that is NOT ALL!!!!! The wonderful edition by Pressure Drop Records (2011) includes 5 Bonus Tracks:
"Holidays" - Very serious song, with a fine music and very enjoyable as well.
"Night Bus To Dalston" - Ska in pure condition. Pure Bad Manners. A lovely bonus track.
"Lip Up Fatty (Extended Edition)"
"Special Brew (Single Version)"
"Ivor The Engine" - Instrumental song. Skatalitic. Fast. Lovely.
If you have reached so far my review, then you should definitely purchase it.
If you love ska and don't know Bad Manners, this is the best starting point.
If you already know Bad Manners, you don't need to read this.