Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 798 – Sunday 24th August to Saturday 30th August 2014
We begin this issue with some non Madness news, but news that we have no doubt will be of interest to many of you reading.
Web site classicrock.teamrock.com reported earlier this week that Edsel Records will be releasing “Ian Dury: The Vinyl Collection” on October 27th. Featuring all of Ian’s albums released between 1977 to 1997, under his own name and with The Blockheads and The Music Students, this 180g vinyl pack will be also released alongside a CD version entitled “Ian Dury: The Studio Collection”.
The albums in this pack are:
Ian Dury – New Boots and Panties (1977)
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Do it Yourself (1979)
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Laughter (1980)
Ian Dury – Lord Upminster (1981)
Ian Dury & The Music Students – 4,000 Weeks Holiday (1984)
Ian Dury – Apples (1989)
Ian Dury – The Bus Driver’s Prayer and Other Stories (1992)
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Mr. Lovepants (1997)
Bonus Disc (CD version only)
Details of the full tracklisting can be found at: http://classicrock.teamrock.com/news/2014-08-22/ian-dury-box-set-to-include-all-8-albums
We’ve been unable to find out how much the boxsets will retail for, but as soon as we find out we’ll report back.
In the meantime, sit back and enjoy this bank holiday edition of the MIS Online Bulletin.
See below for all forthcoming Madness and Madness related gigs and events. If there’s something we’ve missed off or you feel should be added then please let us know.
November 21st – 24th 2014 – Minehead – Earlybird tickets can be ordered here: http://www.bigweekends.com/splash-pages/madness2014.aspx
All for the M.A.D.H.E.A.D Tour
Thursday 4th, Capital FM Arena, Nottingham
Friday 5th, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Saturday 6th, Brighton Centre, Brighton, Matinee
Saturday 6th, Brighton Centre, Brighton * SOLD OUT *
Monday 8th, Plymouth Pavillions, Plymouth
Tuesday 9th, Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth Thursday 11th, First Direct Arena, Leeds
Friday 12th, Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Saturday 13th, LG Arena, The NEC, Birmingham
Monday 15th, Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Tuesday 16th, The O2 Dublin, Dublin
Thursday 18th, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Friday 19th, Phones 4u Arena, Manchester
Saturday 20th, The O2 Arena, London
Links to purchase tickets for the above tour can be found at: http://madness.seetickets.com/tour/madness/?pre=premad&src=madnesspre
For tickets also see links via: www.madness.co.uk
The Magic Brothers
November 1st. Blakes @ The Custard House – Birmingham
Magic Brother Friday Headline set:
November 14th. The Big One 3. Park Dean, Sandford Dorset.
The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra
August 31st, The Big Feastival, Alex James’ Farm, Cotswolds
October 2nd, The Jazz Café, Camden Town
More festival dates to follow.
Ska Orchestra web site: www.ltso.mis-online.net
The Silencerz (Featuring Lee Thompson)
November 8th – Hertford Corn Exchange. 39 Fore St. Herts. SG14 1AL With support. The Skammers.
November 16th – Confirmed in the Sunday Lineup of bands at Specialized The Big One 3. In Dorset.
Lee will be doing a photo signing session too.
Near Jazz Experience
September 21st – Support slot before Dave Formula and The Finks, Brighton, Prince Albert
10th, Rebellion Festival, Blackpool (SOLD OUT)
For details of future gigs keep an eye on http://deafschoolmusic.com for more information.
Thursday 20 – Borderline, London
Friday 21 – Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Saturday 22 – Academy, Manchester
Sunday 23 – Floral Pavilion, New Brighton
If money’s currently burning a hole in your pocket then perhaps we can help with your dilemma.
***New – Pre-order*** Madness – One Step Beyond 35th Anniversary edition CD.
You can now order the new edition of One Step Beyond 35th Anniversary, from Salvo Sound & Vision:
This Anniversary edition has been digitally remastered from the original 1⁄4 inch tapes by Tim Turan, and comes with recently unearthed rehearsal recordings from 1979, including two songs that have never appeared anywhere before. “Lost my head” and “Sunshine Voice”. It’s also very interesting to see Absolutely album track “You Said” on the rehearsal tape and Grey Day B-side “Memories” as well as hearing versions of tracks that made the album some 5 months before the debut LP was recorded.
Hear previews of these tracks, help yourself to a free download and you can even re-name the album, creating pictures you can share with people. Visit the mini site to do all this.
There is a DVD of videos and Top of the Pops/Old Grey Whistle Test appearances, that includes the Young Guns documentary, and a 24 page booklet that speaks to Clive, Alan and Chris about the album.
One Step Beyond 35th Merchandise and T-shirts.
You can celebrate the album’s return also with new T-shirts and a mug themed on one step beyond. At the store. There is an anniversary mug too.
The M.A.D.H.E.A.D Tour T-shirt – Get it now.
What does any self respecting Madhead wear? The only true fan clothing of choice right now is surely the brand new Madhead T-shirt. Available now at least five months ahead of the tour, this T-shirt is so NOW! You can look stylish in it in a range of sizes, you can promote this summer, the forthcoming tour and help your heroes and of course in this day and age by buying the bands official clothing you are putting your money into the future new album project pot etc of the band who exist these days on their own self produced record label.
Available here… Via See Tickets and Madness.co.uk
SPECIALIZED: Mad Not Cancer. 4CD covers album for Teenage Cancer Trust
Over 70 tracks. 4 CDs. Cover versions of Madness by not just Ska bands but lots of young up and coming acts of many genres including a few famous pop stars and Bedders on one track, too. All for Teenage Cancer.
http://www.specialized-project.co.uk/#!shop/c1atu (remove hyphen from URL)
LIVE AND INTENSIFIED
We went, we lost our voices singing and naturally, we wore black and white. Madness or Ibiza – difficult to say which rocked more.
Madness at Ibiza Rocks. For a moment, when I heard the news, my brain couldn’t quite cope with the sensory overload. Alternate flashes of divine beaches and the best parties ever, combined riotously with an internal soundtrack of Our House and memories of embarrassing teenage crushes.
Cursing myself for having held onto neither my vintage 1970’s boating blazer nor my magnificently (fake) fur-lined fishtail coat, I consoled myself with some dodgy black shades, a black ‘n’ white, vintage 2-tone tee-shirt and gleefully, off I went.
Ibiza Rocks Hotel, location of the weekly Ibiza Rocks party, is in the centre of San Antonio. We parked in the big, free car-park just behind Café Mambo and it was a two minute walk from there to the gig. Sweet. Arriving at about 9.30pm, we were just in time to catch Hollie Cook crooning a cool, laid-back, dub-infused remix of The Whispers classic 1970’s tune And the Beat Goes On. The volume was a little low though and the quickly expanding crowd, though appreciative, were clearly hankering after the night’s legendary headliner. Holly herself performed beautifully with her family’s musical talent shining through and her self-proclaimed ‘Tropical-pop’ style was an enjoyable and appropriate warm-up for the Madness boys. Daughter of Helen Kerry (of Culture Club fame) and Sex Pistols drummer, Paul Cook, Hollie did the family name proud.
We grabbed a drink (pretty reasonable prices for Ibiza – €6 for a beer, a soft-drink or 2 bottles of water) and made our way to the front as the Ibiza Rocks resident DJ took over, slamming out favourites such as Bad Manners’ Lip up Fatty and The Specials Ghost Town. Evidently bang on mark, the crowd, eager to get stuck into some classic Madness era tunes, were lapping it up. There was much raucous singing along and jerky, exaggerated walking-standing-still ska-style dancefloor moves. I counted 17 assorted pork-pie hats, a myriad of trilbys and generally, more dashing millinery on display than you see at the Ascot races, dear reader.
This gig had attracted not only a hugely diverse and equally excited age-group quite literally ranging from 16 to 60, but also many of Ibiza’s hardest working business owners were arriving in throngs. It’s a sure indication of how well-loved a band are when whole possies of sound-engineers, restaurant owners and empresarios of all kinds take time off, in the middle of August, to come and see a gig. On an island where the majority have just 4 short months to work and earn enough for to live on for the entire year (the peak of the frenzy being August) this does not happen often, I assure you.
As the DJ counted down the minutes to the band’s arrival, the place began to heave with people. It was truly packed out. Then with an excited announcement, a flash of light and a thunderous intro to Night Boat to Cairo our heroes finally appeared on the stage. And joy of joys. Suggs, (sporting his trademark black ‘n’ white stripy tee-shirt and black shades) had clearly coordinated his outfit with mine! Day MADE!
Suited and booted, the boys (honestly) looked barely any different to me than back in the day. Clearly in the mood to indulge their adoring fans, they proceeded to belt out a barrage of their best-loved tunes. Embarrassment came next, followed by The Prince, at which point, vocalist Suggs confided to the delighted crowd with obvious amusement that he’d “just been offered half an e.” Ooops! And before you ask my naughties, no, he didn’t take it!
After much guffawing and cheering from the crowd, the band went on to perform some of my their best-loved tunes including My Girl, Shut Up, House of Fun, It Must be Love and Our House. By this time the entire place had been swept up into a singing, jumping, grinning mayhem. Imagine the delight of a few thousand hungry, frisky puppies who’ve just been thrown their favourite bone and you’re coming close, although happily nobody (not even me) went as far as peeing uncontrollably on the floor.
The stage set was cool and very Madness. Simple, with lots of signature black and white touches, from Suggs’ aforementioned tee-shirt, to a huge black and white keyboard and the VJ projecting old, classic black and white film footage onto the backdrop. The wind/brass section, comprising baritone and tenor saxophones plus trumpet was rich and fat-sounding and the entire band were as tight as a duck’s derriére ladies and gents. A special nod of awe goes out also to the sound guys who managed to produce a
flawless, perfectly balanced audioscape. Not easy to achieve with such a large, live band. Full respect.
A couple of newer tunes like ‘NW5’ and surprise covers were thrown in too. Guitarist Chris Foreman belted out a hearty version of that loved-by-almost-the-entire-World Beastie Boys classic You’ve Got to Fight for Your Right to Paaaaarty! Their version too of classic Reggae tune Chase the Devil received an enthusiastic roar of approval from the crowd.
It was so good to see proper professionals at work. Originally forming almost 40 years ago, Madness have inspired no less than three generations of music-lovers with their down-to-earth lyrics, energetically catchy, cheery tunage, meticulous musicianship and unpretentious attitude. Hell, even their more sombre tunes make me smile and sing. Madness write about real life – cars, girlfriends, families, communities. It’s easy to relate to their subject matter. Madness are homies. That’s we love ‘em so much.
The finale, Baggy Trousers, was greeted with joyful hysteria. The entire place shook with riotous singing and the stamping of feet as the hotel arena transformed into a gleeful Ska-frenzied mosh-pit.
And of course the crowd screamed for more. Incredibly and most uncharacteristically for Ibiza and its usually uncompromisingly strict sound restrictions, they got it. KUDOS Ibiza Rocks! They let them back on and we were treated to not just one, but two magnificent encores, One Step Beyond and Madness. It was too much. Abandoning my notepad, pen and any semblance of control, I jumped around like an absolute loon.
Not envying the DJ who had to follow such a legendary performance, he chose about one of the only tunes on the planet to pretty much guarantee a happy exit from a gig that nobody wanted to end: Monty Python’s Always look on the Bright Side of Life. A stroke of genius, may I say. It’s a gig that will be forevermore on my ‘will never forget as long as I live’ list. Well played, Ibiza Rocks. Very well played.
Jane Charilaou (Ibizia spotligiht)
The Rebellion Punk Festival – Deaf School, Specialized Bands and Two Tone
The Rebellion Punk Festival is probably not what you’d expect to see in writing for a gig review in MIS however there were a number of Madness related acts who performed at this superbly organised event. Catering for up to 6000 fans, the festival also encompassed rockabilly, oi and ska aswell as a number of leftfield or unusual acts, so it’s mainly some ska bands that I’m going to give an honourable whistle stop mention here.
The Talks, who have supported Madness at the Weekender for MIS played a cracking 40 minute set. If you you like your ska sounding like the good time fun of Bad Manners combined with the drumming style of The Specials, then this lot is for you. In particular, they played their interpretation of Skinhead Moonstomp and the lead singer took time out mention the Specialized charity which the song was recorded for. Top work!
2 Tone label mates The Selecter were appearing and it was great to see both Pauline Black and Gaps Henderson working their magic to an appreciative punk crowd. I also saw John Otway who supported Madness in the early 1980s – this man is part lunatic, part legend, part genius. ‘Nuff said.
I caught the end of a set by a punk band called Addictive Philosophy. At the very end of their set the lead singer namechecked Specialized. Only then did it dawn on me that they covered Take It Or Leave It for the Mad Not Cancer cd which they may well have included in their set. This reviewer was gutted to have potentially missed out on this!! Roy Ellis aka Mister Syramip, fronting his band The Moonstompers featuring Roddy Radiation were a real treat. A superb entertainer and tune after tune including John Jones, which The Dangermen covered.
The main purpose of sending this was that I got to see Deaf School only for a 2nd time. They featured many of the songs they played when I saw them a few months back and it was good to see them up close in this environment. They definitely fit this festival under unusual acts; personally I think they’re an interesting combo and they’re tricky to nail down to any particular musical genre. Enrico looks resplendant in a suit that you might see on a ’70s cop show and Bette (Missus Suggs to you and I) is dressed for the occasion, wearing a jump suit with plenty of zips that any self respecting punk rocker would be proud of! Very Blondie-esque!
Deaf School played on the Bizarre Bazaar stage, one of 6 event venues, on the Sunday in a 1000 capacity beautifully decorated theatre. Although the crowd was relatively small – few hundred – they (we) were a very attentive crowd. Clearly some of their hardcore fans were present in their Hawaiian shirts, Deaf School were last on, therefore top of the bill on that stage. I enjoyed their theatrics being close up, literally looking up just a few feet away being able to move around freely to see all the band members. This also allowed me to pilfer the handwritten abbreviated set list for this little review; this band is definitely worth a look if you’ve not seen them before!
Hi Jo Hi
All Q’d Up
Thunder & Lightning
What A Way
Shake / Final Act
TWEETS OF A DOVE / THAT FACEBOOK
Various posts from Facebook and Twitter that have caught our eye over the past week or so.
Graham Mcpherson @suggsgmcpherson · Aug 7
“Does anyone know why Monkey Boots got their name?”
Mike Barson @Mikey108 · Aug 18 / 17
“Back in the USSR, don’t know how lucky you are boy, back in the USSR”
“Great gig in Kubana Festival tonight, but sad that people being killed just few hundred miles away in East Ukraine. F**k the chocolate king!”
Specialized @Specializeduk1 Jul 29
“What a bang up job @fordie_tltso has done on his cover of Burning The Boats for #MadNotCancer..loving the smoky jazz club vibe he’s captured”
Chrissy Boy’s Cupboard.
“With all the excitement around the 35th Anniversary of the OSB album, is there a chance you might play a few more tracks off the album during your Xmas tour this year”
“This could be possible.” CB
MIS FEATURE – CHAP HOP HANDSHAKES MADNESS
If It Ain’t Stiff Upper Lip it Ain’t Worth a Hop
What ho readers.
One delightful happening of the Specialized gramophone project is the meeting of a relatively new genre of music in the form of “chap hop” shaking hands with our favourite familiar “Nutty Sound” of Madness.
The Madness sound reborn as Chap Hop comes courtesy of The Gentleman Rhymer Mr B. Who has covered a version of the song E.R.N.I.E on the Specialized: Mad Not Cancer album.
So what is Chap Hop?
Wikipedia defines the genre as… “Chap hop is music originating from England that mixes the hip hop genre with elements from the Chappist or steampunk subcultures and stereotypical English obsessions such as cricket, tea and the weather.”
But don’t read someone’s label of the music, take the time instead to check out a couple of examples instead…. Here is Mr B himself.
The history of Chap Hop – Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer.
Just Like a Chap – Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer.
Thanks for listening. Now at first play, it might all seem like a piss take. It’s a joke? Mixing Rap, and cool black music beats originating from urban late 80’s USA hip hops roots, with a more turn of the century forgotten England, a BBC world service sounding voice and music hall style Formby ukulele strumming in a Queensbury rules manner address.
Yes I say. There is much humour to be enjoyed in this music genre. A lightness and a friendly smile. But No. Please do not dismiss this new musical direction, as just a one note gag. The more you look at this music world, created by not just this one artist but his fellow neighbouring musicians too, you’ll realise that the humour has more depth to it. There’s richer content, and there is some messages here, a good feeling, and most importantly there is a genuine affection for BOTH the worlds it brings together in it’s fusion. This is not just mock rock. It’s Real Chap and Real Hop.
Many generations of UK middle England consisted of kids who picked up on hip hop imports over the many years and loved them, the artists in this genre have a genuine love of this music, a knowledge of it that creates specific referencing in their own art, musically and lyrically. Equally the retro feel of the Chap way of living is not just worn for the joke alone, it’s a true acknowledgement that there own culture they were born into are different worlds from the one that gave birth to hip hop, and more than that it’s acknowledging elements they wish to return to their own culture from the ways of forefathers, ideas missed and desire for the style of paraphernalia from yesteryear.
The joke then has moved beyond the tounge being just in the cheek and instead it’s gently licking some delicious scone crumbs off the stiff upper lip of old England, before correctly using a napkin, politely, whilst listening to the jungle brothers or de la soul.
This new genre has more than one act. Check out another. Professor Elemental. Who has something of the vintage explorer about him.
Fighting Trousers. – Professor Elemental.
And interaction of artists with the genre takes place too. Showing how serious they take their place within this genre. Here is a Chap Off.
And if you still don’t believe me, and dismiss all that you’ve just witnessed as not a valid genre of music.
Well just wait a minute? Dressing up in clothes from before your own time? A penchant for suits and hats? Importing black artists music, loving it, and making it your own? Tunes about Tea and the weather? Having an affection for music hall traditions, singing a Noel coward like song, strumming away on a uke, or wearing an Eton boating look jacket while rocking out Run DMC or Beastie Boys tunes to the crowd?
Chap Hop, or did I just describe things you know Madness do or have done. The band we know and love. Are they really that different the in their fez wearing world their created about themselves that 35 years later we live in and know and love. With a little bit of that, and a little bit of this.
Between “fish and chip parade” and “fight for your right to party” show timing, aren’t the Nutty Boys, really the fathers or grandfathers now of Chap Hop themselves? Before their time, out of time, timeless and on the beat. What a great time for the band’s songs to be covered by a leading chap hop artists then. So MR B covers E.R.N.I.E. An outdated madness song in technical terms, describing as it does the premium bonds picking computer. That a strumming steampunk should embrace this machine that drew a thousand wins every week, is a perfect choice of song, a retro machine very much of the genre, given a little twist. Now when you hear his cover hear it in the context of this history of a new emerge music. A nutty sound, making it’s whole new world heard. If we are lucky he might just pop by the house of fun too, and drop in for tea. Hip hop itself as a genre has the term “old school” within it, it’s just now been given a bit more English old school tie. It’s real and it’s out there.
I REMEMBER WAY BACK WHEN
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, goes back in time to report on what was going on in the world of Madness 5 years, 10 and 15 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue 537 – Sunday 23rd August – Saturday 29th August 2009
This week we were pleased to bid a welcome return to the one and only Paul Rodgers, who kicked off the issue with news of Norton Folgate finally leaving the top 100 albums chart, the Sugar and Spice radio playlist status, and how Suggs’ new book was proving to be rather popular and was now ranking at number 22 in Amazon’s “History” section.
News in, courtesy of The Hackney Gazette, was that Shoreditch’s Light Bar had been saved from the bulldozers, and would now be incorporated into a new Hackney regeneration scheme.
The former Victorian railway power station stood in the way of controversial plans to build a 51-storey skyscraper including offices, homes and a hotel.
However, thanks to the efforts of campaigners such as artist Tracey Emin, and our very own Suggs, the building would now be saved.
On to fundraising news, and we reported (via a reprint of an article on the parkinsons.org web site) that Tim Andrews, from Milford in Surrey, stood on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London on Saturday 15 August 2009, as part of the Antony Gormley project ‘One & Other’.
Tim took part in the project as part of a new found determination to live life to the full since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2005, at the age of 54.
Despite being afraid of heights, Tim stood on the Fourth Plinth for the full hour.
Tim played tracks from the album, The Liberty of Norton Folgate by one of his favourite bands, Madness, who gave their permission for it to be played. Tim chose the album because the lyrics recount various stories about the city of his birth, London, which he adores.
Tim raised over £2,500 for the Parkinson’s Disease Society in donations from friends and family, many of whom watched Tim dance on the plinth on the day.
We brought this short issue to a close with the new that it’d been a couple of years in the making, but ‘it’ was almost here.
What where we on about? Jean-Pierre Boutellier’s 30th Anniversary Madness Tribute album, that’s what. Thanks to the powers of technology we’d seen a photo of the finished CD, and were hoping to review the disc very soon.
10 years ago…
Issue 276 – Sunday 22nd – Saturday 28th of August 2004
Finally, after much waiting we were now up and running on the new mailing list server, which meant we could finally stop having to email out each issue to every subscriber directly.
It’d been a quiet week in the world of Madness, which was reflected in this slim edition of the MIS. After all, if there’s nothing going on then it’s tricky to put news in!
In the previous issue of the MIS we ran an article detailing a forthcoming special edition of `Q` and `Mojo`, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of 2-Tone Records with The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter and more…
Well, it looked like this had finally made it into the shops as Craig from the Madness Trading Ring reported…
“Even though the front page has The Specials on it there is quite a lot dedicated to Madness. There’s an 8 page bit on them. There’s also a 4 page bit with a big picture of them as the Danger Men.
There’s bits and pieces throughout so it is well worth getting. Its only £5.99 so get ya skates on down to Smiths or wherever and get yourself a copy. You won’t be disappointed!”
Moving on, and thanks to the wonders of modern technology the tracks from the 22nd of May Dangermen gig were now available for fans to download. Featuring 11 tracks, and weighing in at around 50 megs, this was an essential download.
Finding his collection had a number of duplicates in it, Madness Trading Ring co-maintainer, Steve Bringe decided it was time to put a few of these items up for trade. Items up for grabs included the French promotional pack for Wonderful, the UK promotional pack for Wonderful, and the Spanish picture sleeve promotional CD for The Communicator.
15 years ago…
Issue 14 – Sunday 22nd August – Saturday 28th August 1999
After a short break we returned to find a whopping 270 emails in our inbox. Did this mean the online Madness community was alive with some fantastic item of news. Well, unfortunately not. Instead, the majorityof emails were duplicates, caused by the mail server provided by our internet service provider throwing a wobbly. Ah well!
Thankfully, not everything we’d received was a duplicate or spam, and amongst the chaff were one or two items of interest which we were able to pass on to you in this week’s issue.
Following on from Richard Huggins’ typing-up of part one of the ‘Later’ article back in issue 12 of the MIS Online Bulletin, Simon Saunders kindly took up the task of typing and continued from where Richard left off, and finished the article.
These days the majority of you probably use iTunes for your MP3 playing needs, but 10 years ago WinAmp was all the rage, so it was nice when we learned that someone had put in the time and effort to produce a Madness themed skin for the application.
Moving on, and we had news in from the Night Fever production team, announcing that the third series of the popular music quiz show would be returning to your screens in December. Not only that, but audience tickets were now available, and could be ordered free of charge from Powerhouse.
It’s always nice when a new Madness web site bounces on the net, so we were pleased when MIS subscriber, Steve Harris, announced that his new site, itsmadness.co.uk was now live and ready for you to visit.
Elsewhere in this issue we had a full lowdown of Juliet Carter’s ‘Ska Mad’ fanzine, which landed on our door mat a week or so back.
After a lengthy review we summed the issue up by saying;
“To sum it all up, the zine really is a nice nugget of information that has clearly been put together from sheer love of Madness and the ska-scene past and present.
Couple this with the smatterings of great photos and neat little items of artwork and you ‘d be daft not to check this out”.
SPECIALIZED 3 MAD NOT CANCER – PODCAST
In episode 305 of Go Feet Radio Paul Willo talks about the album and a number of tracks are aired.
This episode is all about the Mad Not Cancer project. The Specialized 3 album/compilation of bands covering songs by Madness. I interview Paul ‘Willo’ Williams, Trustee & Chairman of the Specialized Team, all about it. You’ll hear some fantastic bands covering Madness songs and really making them come alive again. The Specialized 3 project – Mad Not Cancer – is TOTALLY non-profit, all the monies raised go to Teenage Cancer Trust Charity. –
Interview starts at minute 46.
Nate Ness Monster.
SPECIALIZED REVIEWS – 17 OVER AND OUT
Graham Yates returns to the bits and bytes of the MIS to bring us the final 17 reviews from the Specialized Mad Not Cancer album.
Take it away, Graham…
Special Brew – Forever Young This cover, by Coventry’s Special Brew, was produced by Roger Lomas, famed producer of, amongst others, Bad Manners, The Selecter and The Bodysnatchers – and the quality in both the production and the track itself shines through. I’ve always thought the original had more of a reggae tinted feel than anything, and that vibe is enhanced further still here. The track opens with a delightful brass solo, backed by lilting bass and drums leading you into the vocal, which is set at just the right pitch. As mentioned in other reviews there are tracks on Mad Not Cancer that are vastly different to the original, others that follow it almost exactly, and still others that fall somewhere in between. Special Brew’s cover falls into the last category, in that it follows the original in similar vein, albeit a tad slower in pace, but adds plenty of embellishments along the way, mainly in the shape of some great brass touches. Bim Skala Bim (featuring Dave Hillyard of The Slackers) – Night Boat To Cairo So you’re looking for someone to cover a classic Madness track, one which you know fans are immediately going to compare to the original? Then who better to entrust the job to than Bim Skala Bim? One of the bands so influenced by Madness and Two Tone, that it led to them being at the forefront of the Third Wave of Ska in the USA back in the 80’s. Here they do away with the traditional foghorn intro and go straight for a horn heavy blast of the melody. There’s some great jerky organ alongside the rhythm section keeping time tightly, but, as you’d expect, it’s the brass that makes this track, especially with saxman Dave Hillyard of The Slackers drafted in for additional listening pleasure. The horns get a brief moment out of the spotlight for the one verse, before kicking in again to carry the rest of the song. Trumpet, trombone and sax all take their turn front and centre before being woven back into the great swirling wall of brass again. The false ending of the original becomes the briefest of pauses for breath before the track kicks off for another minute and a half’s onslaught of bounce, brass and bass!! Rocket Punch – Swan Lake
Another of the joys of Specialized 3 – Mad Not Cancer is the sheer global extent of the bands appearing, which not only shows how widespread the appeal of Madness is, but is also a great sign of how much Specialized has grown in a very short space of time. A good example of that is this cover, of “a song by Tchaikovsky” (which legend has it Dave Robinson asked Madness if they’d written themselves) comes to us from Rocket Punch , a group of self-confessed Anglophiles harking from The Philippines. From the opening call of “Get up and stomp your feet…this will be a Specialized beat” the track does indeed get the feet moving. Whereas Madness’ “original” is largely piano driven, Rocket Punch have used the organ to lead their version, with a simple percussion track for company. What makes this cover stand out, however, is that it’s punctuated with a vocal commentary that paints an altogether different picture from the serene ballet dancers suggested by Pyotr Ilyich when he wrote the original! Salamat magkano Rocket Punch – mahusay na trabaho!! (Fingers crossed that translates correctly and I’ve not just insulted the whole of The Philippines!!)
The Inflatables – Believe Me
Moving closer to home, The Inflatables, from Oxford, are a good time party band, something I can attest to from personal experience having seen them at the Madness House Of Fun Weekender in 2013. They take on One Step Beyond album track Believe Me with aplomb, adding a little bit of a ska bounce to the tale of teenage love woes, in place of the originals more rock and roll feel. The eagle eared amongst you will notice that they’ve added a clever twist by ending the track with the drum beat from the start of Land Of Hope & Glory, that would normally follow it on One Step Beyond.
The Values (featuring Neil Innes and Bedders) – Madness
This cover of the Prince Buster song that christened the group we all know and love, really does read like a who’s who in places, first up there’s one time member of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, The Rutles and Monty Python collaborator: Neil Innes. Then there’s graphic designer and sometime bassist in at least two beat combos close to all our hearts: Bedders. However delve a little deeper and The Values are a side project of artists Gordon Beswick and Harry Pye, and have roped in Terry Edwards (multi-talented sometime Madness collaborator) and Paul Speare (once of Dexys and Elvis Costello’s TKO Horns, as well as appearing on Free Nelson Mandela with The Special AKA). Add to this producer/guitarist Micko Westmoreland and there’s a fair array of talent worked on this. The track bounces along nicely with Bedders bass and the drums keeping things tight, while Neil Innes vocal moves along with more than a touch of deadpan – there’s brass dropping in and out throughout, taking the song to a neat conclusion with Mr Innes asking the question “Are you gonna be the one they call…..mad?”.
AUTO – Prospects
AUTO is a studio based project from Coventry musician, producer & songwriter Mark Adams, who also provided keyboards for The Specials Mk II in the 90’s. Here he takes on Keep Moving album track and firm fan favourite, Prospects. What Mark delivers is a dub heavy reggaefied version of the original with the bass turned up high, plenty of synth effects thrown in for good measure and as a whole it works really well, with some great dub touches bringing it to a close.
Chas & Jane – Madness (Is All In The Mind)
Chas Frazer (Capone & The Bullets) and Jane Chalmers (The Amphetameanies) take on the laid back and jazzy Rise & Fall track (and AA side with Tomorrow’s (Just Another Day)) and turn it into a smoking duet. It’s still got its basic jazzy vibe, and has a neat trumpet weaving in and out of the vocals, but it’s got a slightly faster tempo than the original and doesn’t suffer any for that. The interchanging vocals work really well, with Chas taking the first verse and part of the chorus, before Jane takes the second and part of the next chorus, with the third verse sung in duet. Kudos to Jane too as this marks her third appearance on Mad Not Cancer (along with appearances with her own band The Amphetameanies’ take on The Sun & The Rain, and guest vocalling on On The Town with Esperanza).
The Spritely Allstars – Misery
Back for a second Specialized outing after their cover of Two Swords with Ranking Roger for Beat Cancer, The Spritely Allstars turn their attentions to Oui Oui Si Si album track and current live favourite Misery. The band is led by artist Hunt Emerson, the designer of the original Beat girl, and who very kindly gave her a makeover for Specialized 2 – Beat Cancer. The track starts with the piano peeling out the familiar refrain from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (blimey two classical composers name checked this week – how cultured of me!!), and then the song kicks into life in grand style – to be honest I’m not sure what to describe that style as, but I like it!! It’s a very raw and basic sound, that comes across like it’s been recorded in someone’s garage or bedroom, but that may suggest I’m showing it disrespect, far from it!!! The song is simple drums, raw guitars that sound like they’re being played through a small amp, including a great almost rockabilly solo mid-song, add in a solo from a single sax and the overall effect when you put all this together is great and works really well.
The Evil Turkeys – In The City
From the opening guitar, crash of drums and deep raspy sax, followed by a round of trademark “gobble, gobble, gobble” you know this is going to be a fun track from Bridgend’s The Evil Turkeys. This is of course the b-side to Cardiac Arrest and was the song reputedly written in a matter of minutes for the Honda car adverts back in the day. The band romps through their rendition of the song, barely pausing for breath until the final turkey noise that closes the track. What goes in between is really tight and good wholesome fun, with all band members playing their part in bringing the song together. Gobble gobble gobble!!!!
The Hotknives – Razorblade Alley
The Hotknives should need no introduction, having been around nearly as long as the band they’re covering, and widely recognised as one of the top ska acts on the scene today, not only in the UK but across Europe, and recently as far as Japan. As you’d expect they deliver a great cover of Lee Thompson’s tale of visiting a prostitute – the tempo is slightly faster than the original, and the song actually sounds a little more polished, but that could well be down to the difference between 1979 recording techniques and those in 2014. The vocal leads you through the song, but each of the other instruments from the jazzy bass and guitar, the drums and keys (including, I think, a glockenspiel) combine to make the whole a top notch cover.
The Smoggers – You’re Wonderful
Now I must declare here and now to not being a fan of the original, a statement that usually draws disbelieving stares from all around me that think You’re Wonderful is simply errrrrr wonderful, and should have been a single, and don’t even get them started on its omission from the album of the same name!! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the track, just don’t think it’s anything particularly special…cue those disbelieving stares again!! The Smoggers, a garage/punk band from Spain, therefore have a chance to do what Rude Boy George did elsewhere with Driving In My Car, and create a version of the track that I like, and you know what? They’ve succeeded!! They deliver a fast paced, high energy, punky version, that’s very much guitar and drums driven but has a fantastic sax part that ducks in and out throughout. The vocal curiously reminds me of something from the Rocky Horror soundtrack, but again that’s not a criticism!! Finally I can join in the plaudits for the song, even if it is a different version from the one most would be talking about!!
Dirty Revolution – It Must Be Love
The band is from “Ska-diff” according to their Facebook page, and whilst there are certainly elements of that genre in this cover, it leans more heavily towards their other listed love of reggae. The first time it came on I wondered if there’d been a mix up and the Madness version had somehow got into my review copy of the album in error, as the band have captured the piano intro to perfection!! Then vocalist Reb Elle kicks in with the opening line and takes this into a duet with guitarist and vocalist Stu, all backed by a reggae infused melody. Where the track really takes a different direction from the Maadness version though, is the sax/guitar solo in the middle, which has been replaced by a harmonica (or what sounds like one anyway – may be a synth – apologies to the band in advance for my tone deafness if that’s wrong!!) and some great synthesized dubs with the latter joining the vocals to the end of the song. The status of Madness’ version of this as a fan favourite make this a difficult track to cover, but Dirty Revolution have done a great job – the end product shows the “original” a great deal of respect, whilst taking it in some new directions at the same time.
Onex & Trax – Never Knew Your Name (Late Disco Edit)
As the title suggests this is more remix than cover version, and a quick check of Onex & Trax Facebook page confirms their “genre” as Reverse Bass/Hardstyle, which I have to say is a genre (one step) beyond this almost 50 year old!! But that’s what Google is for isn’t it? So a few keystrokes later and my education is complete, I’m ready to wear my baseball cap backwards, even if I refuse to let the waistband of my trousers fall beneath the level of my underpants!! And yes my tongue is firmly in my cheek here!! So Wikipedia describes the genre as: “Hardstyle typically consists of a deep, hard-sounding kick drum, intense faded or reversed basslines accompanying the beat, a synth playing a melody, and detuned and distorted sounds” and that about perfectly sums up this track. Onex & Trax take the Oui Oui Si Si song and drop in a repeated drumbeat, some scratching and heavy bass, along with assorted samples and synths. I’ll be honest and say that the track was a bit of a shock the first time of listening, but actually works really well with the assorted samples of the original that are dropped in and out throughout. Can definitely see this one going down well in the right sort of club, and perhaps even opening a few new sets of ears to Madness.
The Maze – Michael Caine
So what connects a British film icon and a Sunday early evening religious programme with Specialized? Well the answer would be The Maze and their cover of Michael Caine!! Co-vocalist on the track, Gaz Peacham, once appeared on Songs Of Praise with Thora Hird, or so I’m told!! The Maze are a supergroup formed for Mad Not Cancer from members of Nottingham ska bands Jimmy The Squirrel and The Breadchasers, as well as featuring the much travelled Justin Dodsworth (Bad Manners, Selecter, The Specials) on vox organ. The track itself gets a 60’s West Coast feel, with a touch of late 70’s Mod/New Wave thrown in, or at least that’s what’s struck me most about it. The pace is faster than the original and sees the track come in at 2 mins 41 secs (the original is a full minute longer). The “My name is Michael Caine” refrain is limited to one that acts as a break mid-song, before the other co-vocalist closes with “My name is Liam O’Kane”.
Thierry Arnold (feat. Judge Fredd) – Patience
Now I must confess this is one Madness track I am not overly familiar with, so Thierry and his co-conspirator Judge Fredd (back for his second track on the album) have to take credit for picking something so obscure. The original, which can be found on The Lost collection of songs available in fan circles, is no more than a demo but Thierry and indeed Fredd have taken it and turned it into a viable track for Mad Not Cancer, which is something else they deserve credit for. The track starts with Fredd reciting a line from The Owl & The Pussycat which doesn’t exist in what can be heard of the original, but works really well to set the tone of the track all the same. It then becomes a bass heavy, dark and brooding synthesizer track with Fredd’s Gallic vocal across the top of it. Whether it’s how a full blown studio version of the original would have been done we’ll never know, but it stands up well in this imagination of how it would work.
The Los Palmas 6 – Shame & Scandal
Los Palmas 6 are a tribute band who include among their number Steve Turner who toured with Madness as one of The Violin Monkeys for eight years. Add to that that both Lee Thompson and Woody have played with them at various points, and it’s no surprise that they deliver a polished cover of The Dangermen Sessions song. They’ve slowed the pace a little, and the tongue in cheek vocal carries the song, along with, as you’d expect, some strong brass. The track comes to a close with a neat organ solo that weaves in and out of the brass accompanied by assorted shouts and chickitups, and overall works pretty well.
WMR Allstars – Chipmunks Are Go!
There’s really only one way Mad Not Cancer could have been ended really, and that’s with the chant and refrain of Chipmunks Are Go! The honour of providing that closing track rightly goes to long time Specialized supporters Wolfman Radio, who have tirelessly helped promote the cause since its inception. The team deliver a word perfect rendition of the track that’s nothing more than a bit of fun, but beloved to Madness fans for that very reason. Give them a listen!!
The Ones That Got Away…..
As with any album there are tracks that for one reason or another don’t quite make it onto the final release and Mad Not Cancer is no exception. There’s the much anticpated Two Tone Supergroup cover of Our House that Specialized Ambassador Dave Wakeling was pulling together, enlisting names from across the Two Tone spectrum to perform. Sadly other commitments meant that the track wasn’t ready in time for the album’s release but there are still plans to hopefully release it as a single later in the year. Then there’s Amelia Scalies cover of Blue Skinned Beast, which didn’t quite make it either, but may well feature on an EP or similar in future. I’ve been lucky enough to hear the track so here’s a review to whet your appetite:
Amelia Scalies – Blue Skinned Beast
Amelia Scalies, from Pennsylvania, is only 15 but here shows a maturity of performance that belies that age bracket – it’s just her vocal and an acoustic guitar taking on the Rise & Fall album track. Amelia sings it in true protest song style with a vocal that is bound to draw comparisons with some of the greats like Joni Mitchell or Alanis Morissette, but is actually fairly distinctive and unique in its own right.
So there you have it, that’s all 70 odd tracks reviewed, and I have to say it’s been both a privilege and a pleasure. In the course of reviewing them I think I must have listened to some of them forwards, backwards and upside down, I’ve even listened to them alongside the Madness version to try and pick out some of the more subtle differences. What has stood out with each and every track is the amount of work that the bands/artists concerned have put into them, in their own time and no expectations other than helping such a fantastic cause, my respect goes to all of them.
Since these reviews have been published, a few errors have been pointed out to me, usually in terms of who I’ve credited with singing or playing on various tracks, those are entirely down to mistakes on my part and my apologies go out to those concerned. It is planned to collate all of these reviews and put them on-line somewhere and any errors will be corrected before that happens. Similarly if you spot any errors that need correcting, please don’t hesitate to let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll take the appropriate action.
Now I’ve finished blathering on – it’s your turn!! These reviews are just my opinion – would be great to hear what yours are, either by way of an article for this newsletter at the Mad Not Cancer Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/specialized3madnotcancer/timeline) or indeed via @specializeduk1 on Twitter.
If you’ve not bought the album yet, there are still copies left but get in quick as they’re going fast. Order here: http://www.specializedproject.co.uk/#!shop/c1atu – every penny of the purchase price (except £2.50 p&p) goes to Teenage Cancer Trust.
I’m off to start listening to the album for pure enjoyment again without a reviewers hat on.
p.s. Anyone spotted the six “hidden” Madness songs in The Funaddicts cover of Tomorrow’s (Just Another Day) yet?
That’s just about it for this week’s issue of the MIS. Before we go, however, we do have one or two last minute bits to pass in your direction.
Currently, the All Things Madness Facebook group you can enter our Specialized raffle. Just find the pinned post on their pages: https://www.facebook.com/groups/249838181711283
Next, and if you donate at least £2 you can be in the running to a copy of the One Step Beyond 35th anniversary edition. Pop over to: http://www.justgiving.com/misthemadcharts
And finally, don’t forget that you have a chance to do your bit & promote the Madness Community at Mad Chat and at the same time win some great prizes. The prizes are as follows :
1 x Madness Artwork by Katarzyna Rolbiecka
1 x Madness Embarrassment T-Shirt (Size XL)
10 x SUGGS ‘That Close Ltd Edition Bookmarks
How to enter –
Step 2. Choose which top prize you would like to be entered for by posting below –
Baggy Trousers = Madness Artwork
Dirty Shirt = Embarrassment T-Shirt
All members that participate will automatically be entered into a random draw for the 10 x Limited Edition SUGGS ‘That Close’ bookmarks produced by book publisher Quercus.
Members can enter on a daily basis to increase your chances of winning by completing the tasks set out in Step 1 & Step 2.
All winners profiles will be verified to ensure all tasks have been fulfilled having liked & shared the image ‘MAD CHAT Wants You’.
Good Luck & Get Sharing !!
(Promo Ends Sept 1st)
Mad Chat Group Admin.
Until next week, thanks for reading,
(With thanks to Jane Charilaou, Daren West, Graham Yates, Nate Ness Monster)